Golden Axe (XBLA)

Golden Axe

Golden Axe

Just in case you missed the last 38 re-issues of it.

Say what you like about SEGA, but it certainly knows how to milk its back catalogue harder than pretty much anyone else. Released on every gaming system from the ZX Spectrum and C64 to the Wonderswan and GBA over the past 16 or so years, Golden Axe is not a game that's exactly been given a chance to build up dewy-eyed nostalgia for. Seemingly every few months, this tired old hackandslash is ported to yet another format, and we're given the task of re-running through this 1989 arcade 'classic'. Makoto Uchida must have laughed until milk ran out of his nostrils when he found out about its arrival on Xbox Live Arcade. Coming soon to digital watches...

Peeping through the vines of this overgrown jungle of retro exploitation, you can just about make out what was once considered an impressive and important title. Back in 1989, the game's impact was huge for many reasons. For starters, it looked brilliant, with three big, bold, diverse characters in Gilius Thunderhead, Ax Battler and Tyris Flare to choose from, each with their own strengths and weakness and spectacularly destructive magic attacks. Unleashing these for the first time was thrilling.

In game, you'd have even bigger foes to dispatch, with relentless but simple clobbering violence, comedy finishing moves and the appearance of gigantic tail-swishing, fire-breathing creatures on the way to defeating Death Adder. The icing on the cake was, of course, co-operative two player mode. For a few quick sessions, this, along with Capcom's Final Fight, represented the primary wave of arcade entertainment back in the day and made you all fuzzy inside. It was brash, exciting, juvenile and uncomplicated. No wonder it did well.

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