Following in the footsteps of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Double Dragon is another great arcade brawler for Xbox Live Arcade. Golden Axe was one of the earliest weapons-based beat-em-ups in arcades, and remains one of the best out there.
Golden Axe on Live Arcade is actually based on the original arcade version, rather than the more likely Genesis port from back in the day. You'll notice little things that give it away, such as the bodies of minions you slay lying on the ground rather than disappearing… that sort of thing.
This classic has received the regular Live Arcade updates: "smoothed" graphics and a slightly remixed musical score. Truth be told, neither really bring anything to the table. The graphic enhancements give the whole thing that "Vaseline smeared across the camera" look - like Cybill Shepherd in Moonlighting (anyone remember that?). And the sound update is more like a massive reverb over the original music.
Gameplay is simplicity itself. You move through each area as either a warrior, a dwarf or an Amazon woman, hacking and slashing anything that comes at you. While you have a few different combos at your disposal, everything is done through multiple taps of the single attack button. On top of that you can collect magic vials which can be used to unleash a special attack. The attacks are more powerful based on how much magic you have.