Golden Axe

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a game by Sega, and Team Shinobi
Genres: Action, Arcade Classics, Platformer
Platforms: Sega GenesisGenesis, Sega Master SystemSega Master System
Editor Rating: 8/10, based on 12 reviews
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 8 votes
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See also: Retro Games, Monsters Games, Golden Axe Games
Golden Axe
Golden Axe
Golden Axe

The mighty Golden Axe has been stolen by the Titan, Death Adder. As long as he holds it, Death Adder will rule Yuria mercilessly. You, Tarik, are the only warrior with the swordsmanship skill and the courage to try to get it back. Will you dare to take on Death Adder?

The Quest for the Axe

Golden Axe takes you through five rounds of action and adventure. When you begin your quest, you have a razor sharp barbarian's sword, and you choose one of three types of magic. During the course of the game, you'll be able to increase your magic powers as well as capture strange creatures you can ride into battle! From the start, Golden Axe features nonstop hacking and slashing as you fight Death Adder's forces of evil. Begin in the Forest of Yuria and slice your way to Turtle Island. Defeat the Hammer Giants and earn a night's rest and a chance to increase your magic power! Survive the battle of Turtle Island Village and ride across the sea on the back of a giant turtle!

Next, you fight your way to Eagle Island. On the way, you must cross the dreaded Fiend's Path, where a horde of Yuria's meanest creatures, living and dead, wait to cross swords with you! If you make it, you'll fly on the back of a giant eagle to the balcony of Death Adder's palace. Then it's on to the final confrontation-after some of Death Adder's loyal creatures try to soften you up.

Battle Evil Enemies

Though the enemies in Golden Axe are few in variety, they are many in number and keep even the sharpest gamers on their toes, the first ruffians you meet are the club- and mace-carrying bandits. The Club Bandits are the weakest. If you get close enough to throw them, one toss is usually enough to do them in. The Mace Bandits are tougher but still no match for a couple of solid sword cuts. Be bold!

ProTip: Never let the enemy box you in. If you're surrounded, the enemy can strike you from both sides at once. You can't defend against an attack like this without using up your magic. Move! Jump out of the way and come down fighting!

The Amazons are brutal foes. They cut swiftly with their long battle axes so you better watch out, especially if two of them try to box you in. Amazons also ride three different types of creatures: chicken stingers with sharp beaks and whip-like tails and two dragons, one that shoots blue flame and a more powerful one that spits fireballs. If you knock the Amazons off the creatures, you can ride them and use their powers in battle.

If you capture a chicken stinger or a dragon from an Amazon, do everything possible to stay on it as long as you can. You'll defeat your foes much more easily. For example, it just takes two or three swipes of a chicken stinger's tail to do in a Hummer Giant!

Skeletal Soldiers follow closely behind the Amazons. These undead warriors are fast with a cutlass and hard to defeat. When you knock them down, their bones scatter. In seconds, they reform and come right back at you-spooky! It may take 12 to 16 normal sword cuts to take one out of the game-and they usually attack in pairs! A blast of magic helps to weaken these creatures.

Hammer Giants and Mailed Giants are servants of the Titans. Both move quickly and can cause you maximum damage! Hammer Giants attack by swinging sledge hammers or by charging and ramming you with a shoulder, which sends you flying! Mailed Giants appear to move slowly, but their pointed sword spears are long and can get you before you're within striking range of them! When you begin fighting Mailed Giants, you know you're getting close to the end of the game. But you still have to defeat Death Adder to win the Golden Axe. ..and that's the toughest battle of all!

Magic and Mights

At the very beginning of Golden Axe, you select from three types of magic: Earth, Fire, and Thunder. Magic is essential to beating the game. It gets you out of spots where sword play does no good! Earth Magic calls down the power of the Earth Titan to start an earthquake that shakes the life out of your enemies. Fire Magic calls on the power of the Fire Titan, and, at its most powerful, brings a mighty dragon from the sky to roast your foes. Thunder Magic calls upon the Thunder Titan to rain lighting on the evil ones. Each magic gains different and more powerful effects with every potion you collect. But to collect potions, you must battle the Elves.

The Elves don't really fight back, but they do move fast. Each time you connect with your sword, the Elf throws out a blue potion. Touch it, and it shows up on the magic meter in the upper left corner of the screen. Some Elves even carry Magic Meat. Munch on this and your life meter increases one bar for every bone you grab. Magic Meat Elves move very fast, so hit them quickly!

Crushing Your Foes

Beating Golden Axe takes more than just hacking at your enemies. However, you can combine different fighting forms into some very powerful attacks. Pressing Button 2 to jump and then pressing Button 1 moves Tarik in an overhead sword strike. If you're close to the enemy and you press Button 1 rapidly, Tarik kicks the bum. Get closer still and he tosses the enemy to his doom] Pressing the D-Button twice rapidly makes Tarik run in the direction pressed. If you press Button 1 while running at an enemy, you'll ram him with your shoulder -- a powerful fighting technique developed by samurai warriors! If you run, press Button 2 to jump and then press Button 1. Tarik will leap and fall on his enemies, sword first, in the most powerful and spectacular attack form! Add magic to your bag of tricks and you have a formidable arsenal of skills equal to the challenge of Golden Axe!For graphics, playability, and challenge this game is hard to beat. It's one of the best games yet. Come on -- get into the swing of things with Golden Axe!

Download Golden Axe


System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP
  • Game modes: Single game mode

Player controls:

  • Up, Down, Left, Right - Arrow keys
  • Start - Enter (Pause, Menu select, Skip intro, Inventory)
  • "A" Gamepad button - Ctrl (usually Jump or Change weapon)
  • "B" button - Space (Jump, Fire, Menu select)
  • "C" button - Left Shift (Item select)

Use the F12 key to toggle mouse capture / release when using the mouse as a controller.

Sega Master System

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

The 8-Bit version of the Sega arcade action extravaganza brings most of the coinop thrills to the Master System. Some corners have been cut to bring Golden Axe home for 8-Bit owners. You can now select only one character (the Warrior), instead of the three found in the arcades. In addition to performing a number of attacking moves, you can also store up "Magic Potions" along the way to increase the effectiveness of your magic attacks.

People say:


8-Bit Golden Axe may not have the terrific graphics of its 16-Bit cousin, but it does have more than enough action and excitement. This is not an easy game, but the high level of challenge is welcome in a world of similar Sega offerings that are beaten the same day. A very good arcade copy!


Sega has saved their best for last. Games like this could keep the SMS going for another year! The graphics are outstanding and the game play is very challenging. Very few comprimises were made to this version in translations from the arcade.


I've always thought that most of the Sega arcade translations fell short in one important area of game play or the other. But Golden Axe is a very good reproduction of the coinop that's loaded with challenge, good looks, and nifty tunes. This is an 8-Bit winner!


This is definitely one of the best Sega 8-Bit titles to ever appear. The game play, although unfair at times by not giving you a chance to defend certain attacks, is ported from the arcades with little loss in the attraction of the theme. One of the best arcade titles to ever appear on the SMS

Would you rather go through life as a muscular barbarian, a vengeful dwarf, or a voluptuous blonde? That's one of the first decisions to make when you play Golden Axe. It's a strong adaptation of Sega's hit arcade game, with comparable graphics, the same background story, and identical characters. You can play the role of Axe Battler, an overdeveloped barbarian; Gilius Thunderhead, a noxious dwarf; or Tyris Flare, a ravishing but lethal Amazon. In the two-player mode, you and a friend can each play a different character and take part in the action simultaneously.

All the characters have two things in common. First, they've lost loved ones at the hands of the evil Death Adder, so they're bent on revenge. And second, they are relentless warriors who don't know the meaning of the word fear.

Before you can face Death Adder in a final showdown at his castle, however, you must fight your way through droves of lesser enemies. Your foes include armored knights, skeleton swordsmen, fire-breathing dragons, sumo wrestlers, brutal Vikings, and hostile women. Your weapons include axes, swords, parts of your own body, and magic.

One odd feature of Golden Axe — particularly in a game that places so much emphasis on hand-to-hand combat — is that the control buttons don't necessarily control specific character movements. For example, one button controls magic, another controls attack, and a third controls jumps. But when you press the attack button during a fight, your character might respond by swinging a sword or axe, kicking the opponent in the midsection, or flinging the opponent across the screen. You have no specific control over these individual actions — when you press the attack button, the game decides which response is appropriate. However, there are special combinations of buttons you can press to unleash particularly lethal blows.

Golden Axe's arcade heritage is obvious. It's a straightforward kill-or-be-killed slugfest that's designed to drain your pockets of quarters. If you like games with more subtlety and strategy, look elsewhere. But if you like the arcade version of Golden Axe, you're almost certain to like this version. It's a faithful translation that successfully captures the spirit of a dynamite arcade game.

The 16-Bit version of Golden Axe incorporates even more of the subtle features found in the arcade original that were omitted from the 8-Bit translation. You now have the ability to select from three different warriors, exchange dialogue with other game characters, and enjoy the super-charged 16-Bit graphics. Everything in the original game is here, from the magic power-ups to fire-breathing Dragons.

People say:


Golden Axe for the Genesis has few flaws. The screen graphics are perfect, with exceptional detail in both the characters and backgrounds. The game is almost exactly like the arcade, with endless fighting filling each round. Axe moves slow, but has all the hack and slash action you could ask for.


Even though it looks better than its 8-Bit cousin, it just doesn't handle as well. Jumping is eradic, and flipping from right to left doesn't always happen exactly when you want it to. This is further complicated because the enemy plays more aggresively and moves faster, requiring precise control.


A near-perfect translation of the infamous Sega arcade hit of the same name. All of the brilliant graphics are here, along with detailed animation of axes slashing and bodies flying. Look for new levels not found in the arcade plus much more! A top-notch cart!


Like the 8-Bit version of Golden Axe, this translation even more fully captures the essence of the game. All of the elements that made the game a success in the arcades are here, with 16-Bit graphics highly visible. The game is a bit one-sided in some areas as well as repetitive, but well executed.

  • Manufacturer: Sega

You fight through the forest and Turtle Village facing fire breathing dragons and fearsome knights, across the Bridge of Fear and on the back of a turtle, past the eye of the eagle to Death Adders castle where you rescue the princess.

Only Sega brings you today's hottest blockbuster arcade hits. As well as real arcade classics like Space Harrier II, Super Thunder Blade and Altered Beast.

On Genesis, you get to play two new levels of Golden Axe that aren't even in the arcade version. And Revenge of Shinobi even goes beyond the arcade hit in this new exciting sequel. Truxton and Super Hang-On bring you the same action and gameplay you've come to count on in the arcade hits. And Super Monaco GP continues to deliver on the arcade promise in months to come. But, that's what you'd expect from Sega. The masters of arcade entertainment.

Straight from the arcades and into your living room comes all of the action of one of this year's biggest action/adventure hits! Golden Axe looks fantastic on the Genesis, with all of the detailed animation and high-res backgrounds of the original. The game play on the version we played, however, was not quite up to par, with haphazard controls that didn't quite respond the way we wanted them to.

  • Levels: 8
  • Theme: Action
  • Players: 2
  • Difficulty: Average

One of the best of the classic coin-ops is also one of the first Genesis games available. Guide your character though level after level of grueling hordes of monsters picking up food and magic.

It's a new adventure/quest game on the same lines as Zelda. Explore the multiscreen countryside searching for treasures while battling with the enemy forces. Gain experience from your fights but don't let your life energy get too low.

  • Number of Levels: 7
  • Theme: Action
  • Difficulty: Hard
  • Number of Players: 1
  • Available: March '90


Hot on the heels of a fantastic run in the arcades, Sega delivers unto us the long-awaited 8-Bit version of Golden Axe!

In the 8-Bit translation of Golden Axe, you assume the role of a brave warrior who boasts extraordinary fighting skills, as well as a keen ability to perform any one of three kinds of magic!(In the arcades you could choose different characters who each had their own magic skills, but this version features only the warrior.)

You must set out to rescue the King and Princess before Death Adder and the forces of evil are allowed to take over! Stop them at all costs!


You begin play with limited magic, full health, and three lives in reserve. You're allowed to continue up to three times (unless you know the secret!) to return to battle at the same location that you previously occupied. As you move through each level, you'll face off against several opponents at once, and upon defeating them you must proceed to the right where further dangers await. Each round takes place in a different location with surroundings and environments that change upon completion. Your hero will fight with Death Adder's henchmen through forests, castles, and even in towns riding atop turtles and birds!


At the conclusion of every level, as well as during the course of your adventures, you will often run into small elves who carry magic and health enhancements. To retrieve these valuable items, you must strike the munchkins to get them to "cough up" the objects. Blue elves give pots that increase your magic meter, while green elves deposit meat for added health. Work fast, however, the elves don't stay long.


As you thrust, chop, and wrestle your way past Death Adder's guardians, you will quickly learn that these nasties mean business!

When a crowd of bad guys appears, it is best to work quickly and take out one opponent at a time. Having two thugs on either side of your hero is the worst position to be in, so it may be necessary to quickly alternate attacks between several enemies. Also remember to never get too far away from the Golden Axe creature cast or you may just find a footprint on your face!

  • Longmoan - Strikes with a spiked club, very common.
  • Skeleton - Dangerous! Uses sabre and is very tough.
  • Armored Knight - Has long sword and thick armor.
  • Henniger - Uses mace, another common enemy.
  • Lemanaya - Woman with axe. Very aggressive.
  • Anvil Warrior - Heavy club is main weapon. A Boss!


Another character you will encounter sometime during most of the levels are the Dragons. Riding a dragon gives you extra protection from attack and increases your firepower dramatically!

  • Chicken Tail - This strange creature has a whip tail.
  • Fireblast Dragon - This dragon sprays fire breath.
  • Fireball Dragon - This one shoots fireballs at enemies.


One of the most valuable weapons you have to aid you in your battles is the powerful magic. After selecting which of the three different types of magic you would like to use, you can then increase your magic abilities by collecting the pots that are dropped by blue elves. Depending on how powerful your magic is, you can inflict tremendous damage!

Adapted from the arcades, the 8-Bit version of this hack-n-slash epic is actually pretty good, even when compared next to the 16-Bit version.

While the graphics are no where near as crisp as those on the Genesis, the game play is truly outstanding, with action that is much more difficult than what was found in the arcades or the Genesis. Boosted by four meg of power, Golden Axe looks very promising.

Golden Axe is a side-scrolling beat ‘em up video game released back in 1989 by Sega. The game was published for the System-16-B arcade and is the first game of the series. Golden Axe was later followed by various sequels and remakes. The game was developed by Makoto Uchida, mostly known for his creation of Altered Beast, and it was ported for Sega Mega Drive/Genesis and Master System in the following years after the original release date.

The story happens in a fictional high-fantasy medieval world called Yuria. The King of Yuria was captured by Death Adder, an evil entity, and holds the majesty captive in his castle. Death Adder finds the Golden Axe as well, which is a magical emblem of the planet, and threatens everybody to destroy it unless he will be accepted by the population as the new King ofYuria.

Three warriors start on their quest to rescue the land and to avenge their losses provoked by Death Adder. One of them, Gilius Thunderhead, had his twin brother killed by Adder’s soldiers and another one, Ax Battler, got his mother murdered by the same antagonist. The third one, Tyris Flare, had both her parents killed by Death Adder.

The player can progress to another level by fighting and defeating Death Adder’s soldiers, including men with clubs and maces, skeleton warriors and knights. The playable character can jump, cast spells and use their personal weapons. The magic spells are an important part of the game, being very effective on the enemies. The damage they can produce depends on how many “bars” of magic power the player has available. The bars can be filled by collecting magic potions during the game. Each character can cast different spells. Ax Battler can cast earth spells, Gilius Thunderhead casts lightning spells and Tyris casts fire magic.

The player will find during the game several steeds. One of the weakest is Cockatrice, who was also featured in Altered Beast, which can be used to knock down enemies using its tale. Dragon, which is a bit more powerful, can shoot fireballs or breathe fire.

The game was released for lots of other platforms. Xbox Live Arcade, Nintendo Wii Virtual Console, Mega CD, PC, Amiga, Atari ST and Commodore 64 are among several other platforms the game was available on.


The game was fairly popular when released and was followed by few other sequels later on. Users on GameSpot rated this version with 8.2 out of 10, while press and critics considered the game good enough to earn a total average of 8.6 out of 10. Users on GameRankings rated the game with the same 8.6, while GameFAQs readers rated the version with 7.6.

Golden Axe is a side-scrolling arcade fighting game released by Sega. Makoto Uchida was the primary developer of the game and also was responsible for the creation of Altered Beast. The game places the player in control of one of three warriors each bent on revenge against the vile dictator Death Adder. Death Adder has taken over the once peaceful land of Yuria and murdered their friend and partner, Alex.

The game focuses on three heroes. One of them is an axe wielding dwarf, Gilius Thunderhead, from the mines of Wolud whose twin brother was killed by the soldiers of Death Adder. Another is a male barbarian, Ax Battler, wielding a two handed broadsword looking for revenge for the murder of his mother. The last is a long-sword wielding Tyris Flare, a female amazon, whose parents were killed by Death Adder.

Snapshots and Media

Sega Genesis/Mega Drive Screenshots

Sega Master System Screenshots

See Also

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    Justin Garcia CoolDuelist said on Forum:

    Have any of you ever played S.O.R. (Streets of Rage)? If you have, this game is partly similar. If you have never played S.O.R. then I can tell you that this is an action/Adventure that involves magic and fighting. It's really cool, you should play all three of these and all three of S.O.R. This Game is highly Recommended by me, JGCD!