Recently, SEGA has been reviving the old classics for re-release on Xbox Live Arcade, and Golden Axe is among them. For those of you who don’t know, Golden Axe is a side-scrolling beat-em-up in a fantasy setting where you are to “vanquish the darkness” and “reclaim the king and princess.” This collection, SEGA Vintage Collection: Golden Axe, contains Golden Axe 1-3. In the stories of the second and third games the evil from the first game comes back, and you must vanquish it once again. Then in the third game, an evil has put a curse on some of your friends, and you must vanquish it to rid the world of the evil. Overall, the premises are pretty basic, and you are not here for the story.
You are here for the gameplay, and this one has the old school feel in spades. The hack and slashing comes from choosing one of three characters, each with their own style, and then using magic sparingly (once you collect it) as well as slamming the A button to take down a variety of enemies. That’s about all the game has to offer in terms of gameplay. It is pretty responsive in the two sequels, with the first game being pretty rough in the control department. Overall, the gameplay isn’t bad, it’s just old; it’s a vintage collection.
Golden Axe was a serious arcade game back in the day, and even the menu shows the game on an arcade machine. The other games in the collection were featured on the SEGA Genesis. The two sequels naturally seem to be a little more in-tune with the home console feel. I enjoyed them much more than I did the original, which was slower paced, and much less responsive.
It is hard to really say anything about these games that haven’t already been said. Coming out originally that long ago, as well as coming out already on other platforms and in other collections, there is not much else to really describe. They show their age, as I have said in the controls, and the graphics have been updated to HD, which makes them a little easier on the eyes, however, they are not widescreen, so they have static images on the sides to fill in the screen.
They do add a few things to make them more of a complete package for the ten dollars, such as time trial modes (where you can complete a certain task in a certain part of the game), save states where you are able to save where you are at (which is now the standard), sharable replays, and two-player online co-operative gameplay over Xbox Live.
I honestly cannot recommend these to anyone other than people who want to reminisce. They have already been released in other collections and the first one is available separately on Xbox Live Arcade. If you just want to own these specific games, they have been revamped pretty whole-heartedly in this collection, but at the same time, it’s not worth it unless you want to blow through a few games in a few hours. I played through the first, second and most of the third in about three hours, which is not a lot of bang for your buck. Granted, this is the base game for all three and, as I have said, they have devised other modes from the original. On that note as well, I do feel that you cannot expect lengthy experience for games that came out in the late eighties and early nineties.
Overall, this collection is not bad; I just feel if you have wanted to play these games, you have already done so. If you haven’t, and you want to play some old school hack and slash with a friend, or you are the leaderboard chasing kind of person, there is a decent amount of content here for the ten dollar price of admission. They could have botched this re-release, but this time SEGA has released a more standout update that it has done in the past, and we can certainly thank them for that.
Review copy of game provided by publisher.