Yeah, Golden Axe was all that and a big bucket of vodka too.
These days it looks somewhat simplistic, but the game was a monster back in the day. Huge sprites, epic-sized levels and amazing looking special attacks really pushed the boundaries of horizontally scrolling beat ’em ups. I mean one level was on the back of a giant flying turtle, that was awesome.
I bought the MegaDrive version shortly after it came out, having seen a plethora of screenshots that convinced me that this was a game that would truly demonstrate what a beast the MegaDrive was. What is it about buying games that are basically glorified tech demos that is so alluring? I’d like to thank the Australian government for giving me the money to buy it with, having foolishly decided to hand over cash to students to go to school every fortnight. Instead of going to school I stayed home and played video games, take that education system.
Oh, special mention should go to the Master System version, which dropped the two player mode and two of the player characters but kept everything else which was a fantastic technical feat. The special attacks looked amazing. The C64 version was pretty good as well, but the machine was horribly outclassed for it. It was a version of Golden Axe where instead of fighting five enemies at once you fought one, so it wasn’t ever really exciting or hard.
My sister to this day likes to constantly remind me that she finished this game before I did, as if finishing a MegaDrive game was something to boast about, but bless her for having a go anyway.