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Golden Axe (SMS)

‪Console: Sega Master System‬

‪Game: Golden Axe‬

‪Genre: Beat ‘em up‬

‪(Sega, 1989)‬

"Conan, is that you?"

Dreamcast Wood Grain Controller
Forging an 8-bit classic!

Can you help Tarik defeat Death Adder, retrieve the Golden Axe, and bring peace back to Yuria?


Although there are a few noticeable concessions in this 8-bit port of Golden Axe, such as only having Tarik / Ax=Battler as the only playable character, backgrounds disappearing when using magic, and a somewhat choppy frame-rate, this 1989 SMS cart still holds an incredibly impressive port of the classic Sega Arcade game (and even has a few special features of its own).

Golden Axe on the SMS boasts unique title, character selection, and ending screens for the series, large and detailed sprites, and triumphantly effective 8-bit variations of classic Golden Axe tunes. It's an impressive feat, that really showcases what the Master System was capable of.


While lacking the other playable characters from the arcade original (Tyris=Flare and Gillius=Thunderhead), this port sees Tarik having all of the original magic abilities at his disposal (you choose which magic you'd like to use; Earth, Fire, or Thunder before starting your adventure).


Additionally, all your favorite moments and set-pieces make appearances in this version as well. From the classic map between stages, to riding cockatrice or fire breathing dragons, encountering the dastardly potion gnomes (re)stealing magic in the fireside bonus stages, epic fights with skeletons atop the back of a giant Eagle, Tarik battles Death Adder's minions on some fantastic and familiar ground. As your adventure unfolds, (and stilted frame-rate aside) the classic Golden Axe gameplay remains intact. It feels like Golden Axe.


If you can help Tarik reach the final boss battle, the ending to the game is also worth experiencing for its unique style compared to the Arcade and Genesis / Mega Drive versions. This SMS version has a very Conan inspired conclusion complete with digitized graphics (Arnie?!).


If unable to obtain an original cartridge for Golden Axe, there are some excellent long-play videos on YouTube that are worth a watch to see what this version has to offer.


At the time of this writing, physical copies of Golden Axe for the Master System are currently going for anywhere between $25-35 on eBay (with and without instruction booklet).




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Jordan Itkowitz
Jordan Itkowitz
14 de fev. de 2021

Wonder why they limited only to Tarik. Memory? Development schedule? I can understand cutting 2P co-op ,(it happened to Double Dragon on the NES) but cutting Tyris & Gilius seems like an odd choice.

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