The great SEGA classic arrives on Xbox Live Arcade
ESRB Rating: (Teen)Blood, Fantasy and Violence
Genre: Action / Xbox Live Arcade
Developer: Secret Level
Video: HDTV 720p
Audio: 5.1 Dolby Digital
Players: 1-2 Offline, Online Co-op 1-2
Release Date: 11th July 2007
Golden Axe at Xbox.com
XBLA Price: 400points (£3.40) ($5.00) (€4.65)
Cast your mind back to the glory days of gaming, back in 1989. I was in high school back then, and most high school lads at the time would hop off to the local newsagents and play on arcade machines. Consoles were rather poor graphically, and the most common advanced gaming machines at the time were your local arcade. My local arcade hangout was just around the corner from my home, and despite it having just a single cabinet; it was updated with a new game every two months – that was until Golden Axe from SEGA arrived.
This game attracted kids from THREE nearby high-schools when it arrived, because it was such an enjoyable co-op experience. When we’d get bored of killing enemies we would have two player battles against each other! Great! I spent almost most of my weekly pocket money on Golden Axe, and the chap in charge of the shop in which Golden Axe resided in had no choice but to keep the game for a further five months. He only ended up changing it after that because it had been played so much that we’d broken the buttons on the cabinet itself. I truly miss those days.
Now let’s move to present days on the PC. For years gamers have been able to play all those old school arcade games they truly love, thanks to the wonders of MAME. MAME (Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator) is an arcade emulator designed with a single goal in mind – to preserve our gaming history and to stop it being forgotten. It does this by allowing the user to use the actual ROM image sets that the arcades use, so you are playing the proper thing but on a modern PC via MAME. In my eyes the project more than succeeded and my memories of my childhood and gaming have been well preserved. I haven’t forgotten a single aspect of every game I loved back in the days.
So, onto the story then. Ax Battler, Gilius Thunderhead and Tyris Flare may not mean much to the kids born from 1995 onwards, but for those who grew up playing arcades they were well known to gamers and had cameo roles in other SEGA titles.
Golden Axe tells the story of Death Adder, an evil tyrant in the once peaceful lands of Yuria. No one really knows where he came from, but he commands a force of evil so large that it sweeps through all the ramshackle towns and villages, and eventually to the royal throne as the king and his daughter have been captured and held hostage in the now fiercely guarded royal castle. To make things worse the castle holds the Golden Axe – a powerful symbol of freedom in Yuria. Death Adder wants it destroyed to corrupt the lands, but first he wants the royal family completely wiped out…unless the inhabitants of Yuria bow to him as their new ruler.
No one can stop his force, so who ya gonna call? No not them, but three mighty warriors from the corners of the world. Gilius Thunderhead, a mighty axe wielding dwarf arrives from the mines of Wolud. His brother was killed by the foot soldiers of Death Adder and he wants payback. Tyris Flare arrives from the Amazon in search of revenge after her parents were murdered by Death Adder. Finally Ax Battler arrives from parts unknown seeking revenge for his mother’s death from the vicious Hell Knights. Each of these characters has their own unique weapons, Gilius has his famous golden battle axe, Tyrus has a long sword and Ax Battler has a broadsword.
Yuria and indeed the entire world are doomed to fall under evil’s spell unless these three succeed.