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Golden Axe - Xbox Live Arcade review

Solid
AT A GLANCE
  • Near-flawless port
  • Excellent online play
  • Easy-to-learn
  • Shallow gameplay
  • No replayability
  • Brief

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.

The beauty of the beat-em-up - and therefore the beauty of Golden Axe - is the multiplayer aspect. Golden Axe can be played by up to two players, either online or on a single system. And unlike a lot of the previous brawlers on the service (here's looking at you, TMNT), Golden Axe runs almost flawlessly online.

Much like a lot of the arcade games back then, Golden Axe is fairly short and doesn't have a lot of replayability, as every enemy will appear in the exact same spot every time you play, and there are no branching paths. But for 400 MS points, a classic brawler with functional online play is something that belongs in your Live Arcade library.

More Info

Release date: Jul 11 2007 - Xbox 360 (US)
Jul 11 2007 - Xbox 360 (UK)
Available Platforms: Xbox 360
Genre: Action
Published by: Sega
Developed by: Backbone Entertainment
ESRB Rating:
Teen: Blood, Fantasy Violence

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