When Golden Axe arrived back in 1989, gaming was an altogether different experience.
There were no realistic 3D graphics, open world gaming environments or online multiplayer capabilities. Games were about more basic button bashing and simplistic, rough and ready gameplay.
Golden Axe was a side-scrolling beat’em up that started life as an arcade machine before moving onto several different consoles, Golden Axe invited players into a Game of Thrones-like fantasy world where magic and ass-kicking were commonplace.
It’s a title that has stood the test of time too, having just been released on Sega Mobile for the first time. How well do you really know the game though? Here are nine awesome facts that might surprise you.
Golden Axe shares its DNA with Altered Beast
Golden Axe actually has something in common with another arcade/Sega Mega Drive classic: Altered Beast. Both games were created by Makoto Uchida, who was also the brains behind the popular title Dynamite Cop.
It was inspired by Conan The Barbarian
Makoto Uchida got the idea for Golden Axe from Conan The Barbarian, with the game’s central protagonist, Ax-Battler, clearly based on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s titular hero. The female character, Tyris Flare is also thought to have been based on another Conan character, Red Sonja.
The main characters all had horrific back stories
The Mega Drive version of Golden Axe included an instruction booklet that detailed the grim back stories of the three main characters and why they wanted revenge on the game’s main villain, Death Adder.
Gilius Thunderhead, the dwarf, worked as a miner alongside his twin until his sibling was killed by Adder’s forces. Ax Battler’s mother was killed when those same soldiers raided his village. The Amazonian Tyris Flare saw both her parents murdered by Death Adder. It’s more poetic in the manual.
The Sega Mega Drive artwork was pretty steamy
Aside from the incredible muscles on show (that dwarf is in shape!) the cover artwork for the Mega Drive version of Golden Axe prompted many questions but few answers.
Firstly, why is Ax Battler blonde when he has visibly dark hair in the game? How does he get his muscles so shiny? And what is that in the front of his pants? And as for Tyris’ outfit, well, wow.
Tyris Flare was the best character to pick
Golden Axe fans have long disputed who is the best character on the game but it’s quite clearly Tyris and here is why. In the past, fans have argued at while Tyris boasts the best magic, capable of inflicting the most damage on enemies, Gilius Thunderhead had the best weaponry, with Ax Battler providing the average in both departments.
However, it’s since been revealed that all the weapons had the same effect in the game – they were just rendered differently – meaning Gilus has no advantage over the others.
The game sampled Rambo for its sound effects
The noises made by enemies when they die was one of the most memorable aspects of Golden Axe and were actually directly sampled from movies like the first Rambo movie, First Blood, and Conan.
That “Oh Gawd!” noise you hear when some smaller enemies are killed? That’s a sample of David Caruso from First Blood.
There’s a Golden Axe Easter Egg in Alien Storm
After Golden Axe, Uchida essentially repeated the trick again with Alien Storm – a game which is basically Golden Axe set during an alien invasio nof Earth. An enjoyable enough title, Alien Storm does feature a cameo from the Golden Axe trio, who appear on one of the arcade screens during the game.
The UK TV advert for Golden Axe made no sense
Fruit machines dispensing fruit, flying ninjas and a kid playing Golden Axe on a screen built into his chair. Can someone tells us what the hell is going on.
A GTA-style sequel killed the franchise
If you ever wondered why Golden Axe never truly made the leap to the next generation of consoles, look no further than Golden Axe Beast Rider. Released back in 2008 on the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3, it was the first 3D title in the series and was notable also for featuring excessive violence and nudity. The result of a troubled
The result of a troubled three year development, the game was lambasted by critics and flopped with fans. Golden Axe has yet to return. Thankfully there will always be Golden Axe II and III.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.