Game Review

Golden Axe (1989)


“If we must have a tyrant, let him at least be a gentleman who has been bred to the business, and let us fall by the axe and not by the butcher’s cleaver.”
-Lord Byron



HandheldMage1 “The following is a guest post by the Hopeful Handheld Mage.”

As I sneak away from my handheld post, hoping that the Well-Red Mage doesn’t notice my absence, I’m debating what game to play. The game I’m craving is Golden Axe. Maybe it’s my recent trip to Cornwall, full of beaches, castles, fields, rocks and sea. Maybe it’s because I recently played its (disappointing) sequel. Maybe it’s because I’m a Sega kid who misses the arcades. Maybe because Golden Axe is such a much loved game, to us Europeans anyway.

Those of us who grew up with Sega in the 90’s adored Golden Axe – any conversation I have about the Mega Drive usually features the question “Do you remember Golden Axe?” I’d argue that Golden Axe is one of the most fondly remembered Mega Drive games, after Sonic 2 and Streets of Rage 2.

Title screen

The question I find myself asking now is “Does Golden Axe deserve that love?” Is it just nostalgia playing tricks with us or does Golden Axe still have something to offer?

“I had a feeling that arcade games should be competitive against the great hit console title Dragon Quest (created by Enix) and therefore studied the world of magic and swords, combined this with the gameplay of Double Dragon, and finally came up with the concept of Golden Axe.”
-Makota Uchida, interview with Retro Gamer, 2014

Death Bringer

You can’t tell the story of Golden Axe without first mentioning Double Dragon. Technos Japan’s 1987 arcade brawler was a revelation at the time. Double Dragon took the concept of Technos’ earlier game Renegade further, adding a simultaneous two player mode plus different weapons and moves to the action. So when Makota Uchida’s AM1 team were asked to begin work on a new game towards the end of Altered Beast’s development, the new game in question was to be Sega’s answer to Double Dragon. Uchida knew he had to develop a different game than Double Dragon, feeling he couldn’t compete with the more experienced Technos team (Altered Beast was Uchida’s first project). Wisely, Uchida looked at Double Dragon and kept the assets that made Billy and Jimmy Lee’s game a hit – the 2.5D perspective, two player mode and the variety of attacks – and decided to add a unique feel to his new game.

“During the development of Golden Axe, I rented a video of Conan and watched until the tape was worn… Of course I was also inspired by Lord Of The Rings. I bought many illustration works based on Middle-Earth and used them as reference materials.”
-Makota Uchida, interview with Retro Gamer, 2014

Lv1 boss

Golden Axe swaps the gritty streets of Double Dragon for the mythical fantasy world of Yuria. Instead of streets, parks and gang hideouts, we get medieval villages, castles and even the back of a flying giant eagle. The gang members and ninjas of other games are replaced by knights, soldiers, skeletons and thiefs. Uchida really let his influences run wild on Golden Axe and the result is a game that reflects well on it’s source material. You’re drawn into the world of Yuria because of hacking and slashing action, but also because the game world feels authentic; you can tell that someone with a passion for medieval fantasy created this world. The characters involved in Golden Axe’s story are enduring, even the enemies – they stand out whereas in another designer’s hands, they’d be forgettable.

Character bio screen

The story of Golden Axe is a simple, but effective one. The tyrant Death Adder, has stolen the mythical Golden Axe and taken over the kingdom by force. Our heroes, Ax Battler (the barbarian), Tyris Flare (the amazon) and Gilius Thunderhead (the dwarf) seek to end Death Adder’s reign of terror and avenge the death of their loved ones. The Mega Drive port actually goes further, adding an extra story element – Death Adder is just working for the real bad guy, Death Bringer! This adds another two levels to the original arcade’s stages, which was a good gesture by Sega and a bonus for those who purchased the home version of Golden Axe.


So, why does a generation have such fond memories of Golden Axe? I think the setting helped – we’d not seen a Dungeons & Dragons style fighter before, not of this quality anyway. There were also the little gameplay factors that Uchida added to Golden Axe to build upon the basic Double Dragon mold.

Firstly, the ability to control beasts was a new and exciting touch. If you can knock the rider off, you can control a Chickenleg (last seen serving as an enemy in Altered Beast) or a dragon and use them to fight their masters! The Chickenleg swipes foes with it’s leg-like tail, while dragons can breath fire at hapless enemies. Secondly, Golden Axe featured magical attacks. By collecting potions from thiefs, you could build up to a special magical attack, from Gilius’s weak Lighting magic to Tyris’ awesome full power magic special (a huge fire breathing dragon!). Having magic attacks added to the strategy of Golden Axe – do you store all the magic for a boss, or do you use it if in dire straits?

I’ve enjoyed describing the development, mechanics and story of Golden Axe – I’ve always felt it’s an interesting game for Sega, a big step in their growing to be an arcade and home powerhouse. However, does Golden Axe hold up after nearly thirty years?

Player Select screen



The 8-Bit Review
visual Visuals:


Whist a step down from the arcade, Golden Axe’s graphics are a good representation of the original. Truthfully, it would take a purist to remember the differences between the arcade and Mega Drive (apart from the inevitable cuts in animation frames, there is no dripping blood and enemies disappear once defeated). Golden Axe’s selling point upon it’s release in 1989 was being able to play a reasonable port of the arcade game at home and it certainly succeeds on that front, graphically. Today, the graphics still hold up, although the sprites do feel a little washed out. There is no slowdown or flicker either, which is impressive for an arcade port from the late eighties!


 Audio: 8/10
Golden Axe’s driving, melodic music serves the game perfectly. The music makes you feel like you are in a medieval adventure. There is good variety too, from the ominous title screen tune, to the whimsical campfire interlude, then to stomping main tunes like “Path of Friend” and “Wilderness”.

I have to also praise the sound FX. The digitized screams are perfect and genuinely feel like you are causing anguish. That’s probably because they are real screams sampled from action films – the ‘OH GAWD’ scream is apparently from David Caruso in First Blood. The impact from strikes and kicks are great too – dull thuds, metal clanging. It might sound trivial to mention the sound effects, but they really add to the atmosphere… and if you’ve ever played Golden Axe 2, you’ll know how easy it is to be taken out of the game by bad sound FX…

Lvl3 boss

 Gameplay: 8/10
Though Golden Axe is fairly basic, it can’t be denied that it’s lots of fun. Hacking enemies, throwing them off cliffs, destroying them with magic… none of these things get old and I’d suggest this is why Golden Axe retains its appeal today. As a game, Golden Axe is well executed – the controls are great (though I do find charging a problem sometimes) and you are thrown into the action straight away. As a ‘pick up and play’ title, Golden Axe is superb, especially if you can get another player involved.


story Narrative: 5/10
While the plot isn’t anything groundbreaking, it’s very well executed. It would have been easy just to have a plot of “Barbarian rescues King, fighting through a castle stage, a forest, demon underworld, etc.” However Golden Axe fleshes out these rudimentary elements fully. The three main characters have defined motivation to rescue the King, other than simply doing the right thing. I like how Ax Battler, Tyris and Gilus’ motivation isn’t to rescue a girlfriend/boyfriend as I feel this would have trivialized the story. Instead, by avenging parents (Ax and Tyris) and siblings (Gilus), the need for revenge feels serious – as a kid watching the attract scene of the arcade machine, this fact stuck with me and I’m glad the Mega Drive port keeps those screens. The enemies have names, personality and are memorable. The journey to save the kingdom is brilliantly explained by story cut scenes after each level. Though simple, these cut scenes give the levels a feeling of adventure and highlight the struggle of battling towards the end goal of defeating Death Adder.

 Accessibility: 8/10
There is certainly no issue with getting to grips with Golden Axe, it’s a pretty immediate experience. I reckon one of the reasons Golden Axe is so fondly remembered is because anyone can pick up the controls and bash Death Adder’s minions. I always think the best games are simple to play, but tough to master and Golden Axe does have a bit of that. As you play the game more, you can figure out the enemy attack patterns, when to use magic and which character suits you best.

The Mega Drive port of Golden Axe is widely available – you can purchase it on Steam or as part of various Sega compilations on PS3, Xbox360, PS2 and PSP. It’s fairly cheap too and I would argue that outside of the Sonic games, it’s one of the most commonly ported Sega games.

Death Adder

replay Replayability: 4/10
Golden Axe’s main weakness is its lack of depth – it’s a simple, short game that isn’t particularly challenging. There are seven short levels and the enemy AI isn’t the best. It’s possible to make some grunts simply walk off cliffs if you know how. To their credit, Sega did try adding more features to the Mega Drive port of Golden Axe, in order to prolong its lifespan. Firstly, Sega added the ‘Duel’ mode, which allows you to fight the enemies from the game in a series of challenges. It’s a nice touch, but at best, it’s a distraction. The extra levels Sega added are a cool touch too, but they are fairly short and probably only add an extra five minutes or so to the game.

The scoring system Sega implemented is a nice footnote to your adventure and I can see that, as well as the chance to play with three different characters might provide some replay value. However, Golden Axe isn’t a long term investment – I’ve always found it to be a good game to pull out every year or so for a blast of arcade gaming.


unique Uniqueness: 4/10
There is nothing unique about arcade brawlers from the late 80’s/90’s – after Double Dragon, this was a very crowded genre. Golden Axe does stand out due to it’s setting and presentation, but all the tropes are there – plot based on revenge, selectable characters, two player mode…there are certainly games that are worse examples than Golden Axe of being generic brawlers, but Golden Axe isn’t that original itself. After all, it was inspired by Double Dragon and certainly takes a lot of inspiration from it.

pgrade My Personal Grade: 7/10
Golden Axe isn’t just fond memories from my youth, it’s a good arcade game – its atmosphere and gameplay have stood the test of time and are certainly worth re-visiting. While it’s never a long visit, due to the lack of challenge, it’s a visit that I enjoy every year or so. Sadly, Golden Axe is the peak of the Golden Axe series – its sequels and spin offs never lived up to the original. For medieval brawling, Golden Axe is probably still my go to game and a fine beat em up if you want a change from the games that surpassed it, like Streets of Rage


Aggregated Score: 6.3


The Hopeful Handheld Mage is a man working through gaming regrets and complaints. You can find him mumbling on Twitter, writing at Retro Redress and at Altered Beast conventions…


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49 replies »

  1. This.. Was.. Wonderful!
    Both the piece & the subsequent discussion between WellRed & HopefulHandheld!
    Important notes:
    1, sega comin back: it’s possible, but realistically in today’s economy, can they Really afford the risk? Especially with so many doubters?
    2, new games based on underused IPS? Yes Please!!!
    3, more SNES classics or classic Snes bein rereleased? Aw Hells Yeah? (At this point I’d even happily trade my N64 & games, Ocarina, Mario64, Yoshi’s Island, GoldenEye, etc, etc for 1!!!)
    4, Isn’t being able to discuss games, consoles, game industry, indies, gamin culture, etc, in a mature & genuinely insightful & pleasant manner a bloody joy!?
    Hooray for this says Lord C!!! 😀 😀 😀


    • Thank you! Sensible video game discussion is one of the reasons I started hanging around this site, there’s a great atmosphere.

      I’d say 1) is feasible personally. Unlikely, a romantic notion maybe…the Switch has shown that gameplay can win out over graphics and you don’t need 4K/AAA games etc to sell consoles. Maybe a stripped down Sega machine, on par with the Switch but with proper controllers 😀 could work? Fill it with old IPs and it could work, in my humble opinion!


  2. I have a confession to make: I’ve never played Golden Axe! After reading this review, I think i’ll check it out. I think they have a mobile port available as well as part of the Sega Forever collection, so there’s an additional way to play.

    Great work! Loved the review!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the kind words!

      Glad to hear you’re thinking of checking Golden Axe out – it’s a fun evening or so! I’m not sure how good the emulation on the Sega Forever port is, but you can’t argue with free Golden Axe….


  3. I have played this game, but not on the Mega Drive. I found this game quite enjoyable. I agree that the game was a very simple fantasy adventure, a plot consisting of heroes travelling to defeat a powerful enemy, fantasy enemies and familiar settings (such as villages and woods). I liked the designs and muted colours. I also found it interesting that the special moves performed by the characters changed depending on the amount of potion collected. I did find this game was less sharp than the sequels, with less detailed character designs, slow movements and some difficulty doing the charge attack (I also remember manipulating the enemies to make them fall off cliffs). I was surprised that the Death Adder was not the main villain and the extra levels were much harder than the rest of the game. The Death Adder reminds me of Black Adder. I also enjoyed the description of the development of the game, it seems strange to transplant the modern day setting of Double Dragon into a medieval setting and the basing the designs on illustrations from Lord of the Rings.
    Why do you prefer this game to the sequels? How were the enemies personalities reflected in the game?

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’ve always thought the enemy personalities were well reflected by the fact they were unique. The enemies all have their own names (even the variations) and there is a roll call at the end of the game that gives stats for them. They all have their own attack pattern too (i.e Skeletons are a nightmare if you get cornered so flying attacks are best) which adds to the strategy of the game.

      I’m going to go in-depth on my thoughts on the sequels in the next couple of months, but to dip into it quickly…Golden Axe 2 is more like Golden Axe 1.1, there is little improvement on Golden Axe 1. Golden Axe 3 is a bit of a black sheep, even Sega were ashamed of it and kept it’s initial release confined to Japan. I prefer it to Golden Axe 2, but I can’t say it’s a good game…it’s different to Golden Axe 1, but not an improvement.

      Thanks for the comment – love discussing old Sega games with people!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I thought Golden Axe 3 was different to the other two. I remember the player had to choose their own path, but only one would allow the player to complete the game fully. I did not realise Sega was ashamed of it, it seems strange for a company to release a game and then limit it’s availability.

        Liked by 2 people

        • That’s right, GA3 had different paths. I think any path will let you beat the game, but to get the good ending, you need to beat the boss’s first form with a continue left (I think?)

          Sega did not like Golden Axe 3 at all. It does seem strange that they didn’t release it elsewhere – name value would have sold it. Maybe they thought it was just that bad…

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved playing this game at the local arcade on my way home from school (in the main building of a mini-golf). Between this, Street Fighter 2 and the upcoming Neo-Geo system I quickly burned through what little money I had, one quarter at a time! Great stuff!

    Liked by 2 people

    • We had the arcade cabinet in our local swimming baths (next to SNK’s P.O.W.) and I used to happily watch it after swimming. Never had the money to play it often, but it’ always stood out. Wish the baths would have had Street Fighter II too!

      Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks for the write up, RR! I like this genre of games, as you’ll recall from one of our original galactic conversations. I played a bit of GA as a kid and a little more as an adult after picking up the Genesis Collection for PS3. I thought there were a lot of interesting ideas in the game, like the mounts, but man it felt slow. Do you feel like the game is sluggish? Is that something you’ve heard from others? Do you know if the arcade version ran a little faster?

    And also… is everything from Sega derivative?

    Liked by 1 person

    • No worries – I enjoy playing Golden Axe so thanks for letting me write about it! I warn you, I might have to write about the sequels now to complete the set!

      Golden Axe is a slow game, but you are controlling a beefy warrior fighting huge enemies – the lack of pace suits, I feel. I agree though, compared to, say, Streets of Rage, Golden Axe does feel slow. I think the arcade did run faster to be fair, as well as having more graphical effects. Maybe the lack of speed is down to the port? If you want sluggish Golden Axe though, try the Master System version…it”s like watching time stand still…

      Is everything Sega did derivative? I’m feeling defensive about that comment! 😀 No, all companies take ideas from another and Sega were no different. Double Dragon made the scrolling 2D fighter a big thing – practically every company had their own version out, trying to capitalise. Thinking about it more, Sega were great at taking the ideas of others and moulding them to create their own memorable games. Sonic, Golden Axe, Eternal Champions, Alex Kidd,….to name a few, these games were inspired by others, but were different enough to stand out and stick in people’s minds all these years later.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey you’re welcome to complete the set! These were some of the games I wanted to play most on that Collection, but you have the angle of researching their history that I think is important. For me, I’d have an uphill battle on that field to wage and in addition I’d have to build up familiarity with the trilogy to do it as much justice as you have.

        I’ve noticed a few times where arcade versions tend to run faster, so it was just a spur of the moment hunch. I’ll pass on extra sluggish Golden Axe! I think that that’s a testament of its time period, though, and it makes me miss arcades even more. I have taken to heart the niche that early Sega found in adapting arcade games and I think that’s an important facet to illuminate about their history.

        Hahahaha that question is part tongue-in-cheek, my friend! It’s hyperbole of course but I couldn’t help but think about it when you mentioned GA being a response to DD. I thought of what I wrote about Sonic coming into being as a response to Mario. A fascinating article would be a point-counter-point on Sega and Nintendo, and their relationships and borrowing, but that’ll have to stand for some day down the road! I will forever give them the credit of having beaten Nintendo to 16-bit.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks Red – I’m going to have to complete the set, just to compare the three games. I reckon you’d do a better job than me, but I am pretty familiar with the three games. Might as well get some use out of that knowledge!

          Yeah, you don’t think about how much faster arcade games run until you see them. I recently (well, this year anyway) played the arcade version of Golden Axe and the speed and graphical enhancements surprised me. One of the benefits of having an arcade on my doorstep! Sega were definitely built in the arcades…part of the appeal of owning a Sega console was getting to play their games at home…

          …unless you own a Master System. The Master System version of Golden Axe is a travesty. Like most Master System arcade ports, Sega were too ambitious with the graphics and neglected the rest of the game…one character, no two player mode, painfully slow and choppy…avoid it like the plague!

          I’ve calmed down now 🙂 No, you make a good point about Sega and their inspiration. Sega, as a arcade developer, were always looking for that game that was going to bring in the ‘punters’ in and often followed the trends in the market. It would be a fascinating article to read and one I’d be happy to help with!

          Did Sega win the 16-Bit era? I always thought the SNES won worldwide, eventually after Sega had gone add on crazy.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Nonsense, I think your familiarity with them makes you the ideal candidate to review the trilogy compared to me, and avenues of research (whatever you use) for Sega games are already open to you whereas I’d have to discover them for myself, if I could. I think that a lot of early, 1st and 2nd generation console games were very much clonish and that began to fade slightly once we got the 16-bit era. As far as who won that era, I think the consensus is Nintendo when you look at sales compared to Sega and the SNES’s capabilities and library, but then again I personally think that the SNES was Nintendo’s highest point, until the Wii of course (but only in terms of sales), so Sega was up against the big N’s strongest console. Sega had a very strong start, though, and getting to 16-bit before Nintendo is a historical fact.

            Liked by 1 person

            • It’s the first time I’ve been described as an ideal candidate. 🙂 Still, I’m looking forward to looking at GAII and GAIII in depth.

              I’d say Nintendo were winners of the 16 Bit generation, as Sega lost the plot. The adds on were a disaster and Sega gave up on the Mega Drive too early. Sega gave Nintendo a good run for their money though – as you say the SNES is seen as Nintendo’s peak by many, so it was an impressive showing.

              Liked by 1 person

              • Right and this isn’t to say anything about the individual games both put out. Hardware wise it was amazing and the beginning of true console wars. Sega’s biggest actual blow against Nintendo was not outselling but rephrasing the discussion in gaming toward “maturity” and away from games just being for kids. That, coupled with Nintendo’s own failings to work with Sony, led to the rise of the PS1 which created the dominant body of hardware in gaming today, effectively shelving Nintendo’s appeal to niche status. Sega’s legacy is the most important thing about them to my mind rather than the few games they put out in short lived franchises. Sonic is back though so that’s cool.

                Liked by 1 person

                • Agreed – the 90’s console wars were a great time for games. I think competition forces publishers to be more creative and I miss that today.

                  Credit to EA too (not something I’ll say too often…) whose licensed sports games were a big factor in Sega taking a foothold. Of course, this came about because EA reverse engineered the Mega Drive and threatened to release their games independently of Sega….Sega wisely got EA onside quickly.

                  Indeed, Sega’s legacy is a great one. Hopefully, Sonic Mania is the start of Sega living up to that legacy…

                  Liked by 1 person

                • I am doubtful of Sonic Forces and there’s talk of Sega coming back to hardware which I think would be a mistake. They’re a good third party developer and that’s where they should remain. Same thing with Atari, minus being a good developer.

                  Liked by 1 person

                • I have no faith in Sonic Forces either – two good Sonic games in succession? Mind you, I doubted Sonic Mania and everyone seems to love it. I might actually have to buy it…

                  My head knows Sega returning to hardware is a bad idea. My heart thinks it could be amazing. The tactic would be to try and be every one’s second console. The PS4 has won the war this generation, but a cheap Sega machine, focused on games, could work.

                  in my head, you use Sega’s existing properties (Sonic/Sumo Digital racing games/Football Manager, which is huge in the UK/Total War/all Sega games from Master System to Dreamcast) to offer a different experience than the existing console. Go back to the edgy feel of the 90’s. Hell, add a Mega Drive cart slot…judging by the success Nintendo have had with the NES and SNES classic (which, let’s face it, is just a fancy emulator) people are hungry for old games and there is a market there.

                  Sorry to ramble, but it’s a day dream I often have, If Sega get back into hardware, I’m going to have to get saving…

                  Liked by 1 person

                • As a niche console with an emphasis on gaming, I think they’d butt right up against Nintendo all over again. Consider that the Switch is a dedicated gaming device with zero web browsing or streaming capabilities built on the innovation of its hybrid nature, relying on some of the most successful franchises in gaming history. Sega would still have to compete against that where the Switch has become in a lot of places a “second console” for folks who won’t bridge the gap between Microsoft and Sony. Switch sales keep rising too, and will rise so long as Nintendo can meet demand. The success of the NES and SNES Classic as far as demand (not meeting it of course) is interesting in juxtaposition with the Sega classic console that was essentially the same thing but with 80 games, only the wireless controllers didn’t work and some of the 80 games were homebrews. That thing came from China.

                  If Sega wants to do this, they need to have a good reason to do it because the last time they were in hardware they were burning their way into debt. I’m not going to claim I know a way out of their predicament back into hardware but I think they’re doing great in software, so I’m happy where they’re at.

                  Sony on the other hand won 3 out of the past 4 generations with the PS1, PS2, and PS4 consoles, though the PS3 “lost” to the Wii. Who knows what another generation could bring but a lot of the edginess and “games are for adults” flavor has moved to PlayStation and Xbox consoles. Again, I think they’d need a reason for being, and on top of that you have the fact that numerous Sega titles are already appearing on the platforms of the Big Three.

                  THAT could be an interesting article right here!

                  Liked by 1 person

                • I agree on the Switch; however I feel some people find it too ‘niche.’ A Sega console with a standard joypad might appeal.

                  I don’t really get the appeal of the NES/SNES Classic – it’s a fancy emulator – but it’s miles ahead of those cheap Sega Genesis remakes in terms of quality. Plus, the games on the Sega machine have been widely available for years on various platforms – no Starfox 2 there!

                  Sony has won the lots of console wars, but the last one they lost (PS3) was due to them becoming complacent during the PS2. I’d be concerned that the same could happen again, as Sony are coasting at the moment. I think if Sega could offer something unique, they could sneak into the market, especially with Microsoft faltering.

                  I’m not sure if Sega can pull it off and I’m not sure it’s worth the risk. As you say they are an established third party developer/publisher now – why chance it? I’d rather have software developer Sega than no Sega…

                  Liked by 1 person

                • You put your finger on it: the Switch needs to come bundled with a regular controller. As cool as the joy-cons are on the fly, they’re only comfortable in single player mode, and “comfortable” may be somewhat of a stretch. I mean I played well over 100 hours of BotW with them, no problem, but they’re far from standard. A Sega console with a functioning controller would be at least something over the Switch. Also, Sega would need to compete with the Switch’s emphasis on indies (Nindies) which help the Switch as a dedicated gaming machine, even as niche, since Nindies are cheap and plentiful.

                  The appeal of the NES/SNES Classics are because Nintendo knows marketing. Their brand name commands attention and even though they’ve shifted away from leading the pack, their announcements and innovations consistently get plenty of eyes, if not always praise. They’ve built an empire on nostalgia and the proof of their success in that arena is how wildly everyone on Earth wants a Classic. I mean, I haven’t seen anything like it where people in their 40s and 50s were scrambling to get them for themselves. I’m in my early 30s and I tried my darndest because the NES was my first console and the SNES is my ultimate favorite. It’s capitalizing on that sepia-toned memory of past devices and the promise of pure, innocent, wonderful magic that keeps people coming back for the next Pokémon, Mario, Zelda, and Metroid games. Again and again and again, so long as they can keep successfully reinventing them and highlighting their history.

                  I totally agree: Sony has won every console war out of their four generations except for with the PS3. It was too expensive, among other reasons, and it lost out to the Wii (the Wii of all things!!). With the Wii again Nintendo understood marketing and innovation, and the accessibility for families and motion controls (before we got sick of ’em) was enough to cause the Wii to outsell everybody else that generation. Sony bounded back for the PS4, though.

                  Interesting observation, Microsoft faltering! I’m thinking the same thing. Watching Microsoft’s E3 showing this year, they really tried to hype up the power of their latest hardware but unless they can impress with the games, then I don’t see any reason to pick up the system if you already own an Xbox One or PS4. Sega could possibly dethrone Microsoft but the issue is funds and momentum. Sega would have to enter the game with a competitive system that could at least match the capabilities of the Switch, if not the power of the PS4 and Xbox One, hitting the ground running. That seems hard to do unless you’ve got a team dedicated to designing such a console for some time. So that’s a big “IF”, if they could offer something unique. I personally don’t think it’s worth the risk or it’s a risk they’re willing to take after how much money they lost out on before they dropped out of hardware. I’d rather have a software Sega than no Sega, as well. At this point, Nintendo should just buy them out.


                • Great points! I’m gonna go against the curve here – I don’t think indie games are a big deal to the casual gamer. On the other hand, I think if Sega exhumed their IPs, then this could sell to the gamer who drifted away from games after the Dreamcast and the Sega fanboys who begrudgingly moved to Sony and Microsoft. Get Sumo Digital to make Outrun 3, get the brilliant M2 to make a Sega Classics compilation and add a Sonic game like Sonic Mania at launch and I think Sega would start ok.

                  Fair point on the NES/SNES Classic. I just think it’s a shame you’re limited to the included games. The supply issues are a disgrace too – I saw a second hand NES Classic for £145 last weekend….nearly as much as a second hand Xbox!

                  Nintendo played a masterstroke with the Wii…shame there weren’t the games to support it! That Sony and Microsoft copied the motion controls is a sign of how much they wanted on that bandwagon.The PS3 was far too expensive…but that PS1 and PS2 backwards compatibility seems pretty sweet, in retrospect.

                  Microsoft need games, pure and simple. I can’t think of any exclusives I want to play on their system so why purchase it? Sega could make a weaker console if it has the games to support it – I think graphics have gone as far as they can go for the moment.

                  I don’t want Nintendo to purchase Sega – all we would get is more Mario and Sonic sports games….surely the worse use of IP ever? A Mario 64 game with Mario and Sonic would have sold millions!

                  Liked by 1 person

                • Whew alright I got a chance to respond finally! 😀

                  So with indies I’m referring not just to the arthouse hipster titles but also to the more accessible arcade style games, party games, and what not. I think the accessibility and price of those indie games (a fraction of AAA titles cost) does in fact may them very appealing to the average gamer, as was seen with the amount of buzz that went up when Nintendo did their Nindies showcase. Indies come in a huge variety of styles and sometimes heavily rely on nostalgia, so they cover a wide range and have massive appeal in terms of cost and diversity for the casual gamer who doesn’t follow gaming news and know about or can afford every big name release.

                  How many diehard Sega fans do you think are left? It’s been over 13 years since Sonic had a critically acceptable game, minus the recent Sonic Mania, and it’s been many years since the Dreamcast went out with a whisper.

                  I will fully join hands with you on the NES/SNES Classic supply issue being a disgrace! High five there! Yeah Nintendo is botching that hardcore and it’s hilarious that everyone who was so embittered by missing out on the NES are still willing to go to great lengths to attempt to get a SNES. You just can’t boycott Nintendo. As far as the limited games, for the original retail price that’s all fine and dandy, but when we start talking scalped prices it’s pretty ridiculous. I’m very much anti-emulation so that’s not necessarily an alternative that I hold. For me it was a collector’s item I had to get, and since I have both an original NES and SNES, I’m not worried about the limitation of the included games. Those old carts are very expensive anyway, so I wouldn’t want to have to buy the mini console and then on top of that shell out hundreds for those games, many of which may not even work anymore.

                  The Wii really was an innovative and accessible system but with only a few games to really sink your teeth into. No wonder it petered off toward the end of its run. Virtual Console was also huge on the Wii, and backwards compatibility with the GameCube meant I didn’t have to keep my own Cube around anymore. But aside from a few gems, there’s just too much party game crap on the Wii. No wonder it’s got a terrible reputation these days!

                  M$ needs the games. Completely agree! I’d play Cupheads and the Last Night… but not by buying an entirely new system for them! With Sega’s proposed new console, they could definitely rely on their own IPs, but as we’ve seen in the past, consoles built exclusively on 1st party titles tend to begin to fail if they can’t attract 3rd party support: everyone’s worry with the Switch and it happened to the N64, too. I’m happy with weaker consoles, though. I think that you’ve got more of a responsibility to have picture perfection with realistic graphics and they’re not always pretty (case in point: Marvel vs Capcom Infinite).

                  It seems to me it would depend on what mode Nintendo is in if they purchased Sega… sometimes they take a lot of risks, sometimes they play it safe. They could really repurpose the character, or they could just shove him into everything else. They have an excellent track record of properly and successfully updating their characters, but who knows?


                • Good point on the indies; I guess more retro and party games would add more accessibility to the Switch. I like the idea of the indies, but I can’t say I’ve really got into indie games. I love old retro games (I sometimes look at all the Neo Geo games I can get on PS4 – one day!) so more of them will definitely interest me in a Switch, but I think Nintendo might depend on them too much as opposed to making games on their own IPs. I think that’s my frustration with Nintendo – the consistency. Nothing for two years, then Bang! Breath of The Wild – 10/10 game! How they don’t use their IPs more is beyond me – I’d have their teams working on them all the time personally. More F-Zero, Pilotwings, Mario, Mario Kart, Advance Wars, Fire Emblem, Zelda, Metroid etc.

                  How many diehard Sega fans do I think are left? I think there are a lot of Sega diehard fans left. Some are the true hardcores, who celebrated Sonic Mania being good like the revolution was here. Others, like me, who are realistic but passionate about the company and it’s history. Then there are those that drifted out of gaming. For example, one of my best friends was into Sega, but ended up drifting into PC gaming after the Mega Drive faded away. He bought an Xbox 360 cheap to mess around on a few years ago – but would he have bought a Sega Orion had it been available? In the PAL regions, I think there are a lot of people who were into Sega who would be interested in a return…..

                  *returns high five* I feel for all the Nintendo fans that are getting their fingers burned with the NES/SNES classic. My thinking with the cart slot is so you could play any SNES game you come across in the wild. It’s great Nintendo are giving you the classics, but what if you wanted to go beyond that? If you wanted more SNES games, you could start collecting old ones – you have a shiny new, fully functioning SNES to play them on! Maybe it’s me – I think it would be ace if you could buy, say…Road Rash for £1 on SNES unboxed and try the game out on the SNES Classic, rather than not taking a chance as you would have to buy a old, expensive orignal SNES that may not work fully. Also, lots of games are lost to time – having a new, working console would mean they would be worth tracking down – I’m thinking Batman on NES for example. It would give a new lease of life to the retro market too. Maybe prices would go up? Crazy idea…instead of people making faux retro games, they could make new retro games for the SNES Classic? I’m rambling like a mad scientist now, I know…I just think it’s sad that an (I imagine) excellent remake of one of the best consoles ever is a closed shop….why should it just be a nostalgia piece? If people aren’t willing to drop $500 for a Switch, they may drop $100 for a SNES Classic. Why end the potential revenue there? You could sell them more games digitally, either old or new. People would probably even buy new games on cartridges too.

                  Yeah, the Wii is shovelware central…a shame as it’s ability to play Gamecube games on modern TV’s is underrated. You’re right, there were few games to sink your teeth into…

                  Microsoft is struggling for games, original games do make a console. Sega could rely on their own IP (they have quite a range) but would definitely need third party support. My thing though is…which third party support? Why not give new teams/developers a chance? The likes of EA, Activison and UbiSoft generally churn out the same games. To allude back to your point at the start, indie developers are now releasing cheaper, quality games…so why do we need to depend on Call of Duty: Please Buy COD4 Again Edition? I want a revolution 🙂

                  Seriously though, imagine if Sega released a smaller, weaker but still solid console that only had an online shop function. Launch games could range from big new titles (say Outrun 3) to mid range games (Sonic Mania) to remasters (get M2 to remake Phantasy Star games) to indie developers working with Sega IPs (i.e. ask the Forbidden Planet guys to make a Knuckles game for example,) I reckon it could beat the Switch if done right. That may be the craziest thing I’ve ever typed…..

                  Nintendo are the wild card of developers. As you say, some times risks (DS, Wii), some times safety (Mario vs Sonic games). When they are great though, they are brilliant, but they need more consistency and to abandon some of their old fashioned practices (i.e shortages, distrust of third party support)

                  I’ll stop ranting about Sega now and calm down 🙂

                  Liked by 1 person

                • Pssh! Nothing absolutely to be sorry about! You deserve a thoughtful answer so I’ll make sure to give you one. I’m just busy about a few other things right now but this convo deserves some real attention. I greatly enjoy discussing these things with you too! The beauty of civil discourse is we can both disagree with each other but have a blast doing it without name-calling!

                  Liked by 1 person

  6. Honestly, I still enjoy the Golden Axe series. I think the key for me ahs been that I don’t play them often and just end up dipping into them when I want some quick fun, so it never really hits a point of becoming tedious.

    Liked by 2 people

    • That’s the best way to play Golden Axe in my opinion – just dip in and out, maybe once a year. I think truthfully, that’s why the series died out in the 16 Bit era – it simply didn’t have the depth to evolve. Skyrim is probably the closest you’ll get to modern day Golden Axe.

      Liked by 2 people

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