Hello and a happy Monday to you all. Today I am reviewing the last in a series of iconic games from Sega….The future is Golden….the future is…
Golden Axe III on the Arcade
So it seems that some bad guys just don’t know when to quit, and non more so than Death Adder from the Golden Axe series of games by Sega. Yes the big bad is back and ready to rumble with a band of new adventurers. Gone is Tyris Flare and Ax Battler, replaced with a few new faces. Gillius Thunderhead is the only surviving member of the cast but you don’t control him directly, he sits on the shoulders of a huge barbarian looking man wielding a huge axe. The “Ax Battler” barbarian stand in does a good job of impersonating his predecessor but has picked up some new techniques along the way. Also new to the team this time round is a centaur type lady character brandishing a pole that looks more at home on Gladiators than in a game, and lastly we have an Elf type character that carries a pitch fork. Each character again has his or her own magic types, which have been beefed up a bit, with only the elf magic being a little on the “meh” side of things. The game I am pleased to say returns to form after the slightly disappointing Golden Axe II, I had a lot of fun running as the barbarian which Sega have given a bit of an overhaul. You have your standard attack, run, run attack, magic, but it’s so meaty now. Something amusing about cracking the bad guys square over the head with your sword and watching them fall backwards stiff as a board onto the floor. Magic is again gained by attacking the little goblins that have sacks of the stuff on their backs, magic does’nt get used as little or as much as you like as you could in Golden Axe II, it’s one big attack now. A neat feature is on some magic you get a mini cut scene that shows your enemies turning to stone, melting in the fire and others that I won’t spoil, but it really adds to the game experience. Each character you play has strengths and weaknesses, the Barbarian for example can dish out the punishment but can’t take much in return, the elf is quick with attacks but his magic is weak ( summons a small tree bearing fruit ). The mobs have had an overhaul as well, from familiar faces to new characters including Dwarfs, Juju men, and more. Boss fights are spectacular as always, huge sprites to do battle with, not always easy to figure out how to actually hit them, but it’s better than a straight forward fight each time. New creatures are included to ride around on as well, ranging from a Praying mantis which actually eats the bad guys when it attacks, fire breathing skeletal dragons, and giant scorpions that blast electricity from it’s tail make up just a few of the new features in the game. Level design is very well thought out, including new in-between level sequences, level 1 to 2 for example changes from side ways scrolling to making your way up the screen into level 2, so it’s not the camp fire scene every time now. This is bigger bolder and better than the predecessor games, but you come to expect that of sequels. Definitely a sequel that puts the series on a high to finish off with.
Graphics:- This game has been overhauled to heaven, the sprites are big, nicely detailed and well coloured, the backgrounds are great with new animations of non interactive NPCs. The animations of the mobs and new characters are spot on with each connection of a weapon or fist actually looking painful, so great job by Sega’s Dev team here.
Sound:- The sound is meaty, with crunches, punches, kicks, sword stabs and more sounding like they connect. Also some nice touches are some sound bytes from the original Golden Axe when a bad guy dies, you’ll know which one when you have a play!
Overall:- An utter joy to play and a worthy finale to the classic series. The game does tease a 4th installment at the end, but alas non was made. I highly recommend you grab a copy of this on the Megadrive or in the arcades if you are lucky to find one. Did I mention that it’s multi-player? no? oh, sorry…it’s MULTI-PLAYER!!! So grab a friend, head into battle together and put a stop to Death Adder once and for all.