Golden Axe III (1993)

Before I get into Breath Of The Wild again, I decided to finish up a bit of Mage work by completing my trilogy of reviews on the Mega Drive Golden Axe games.

I like Golden Axe and think it’s better than given credit for. Hopefully, my review can change some minds….

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“After all, even the wool of a black sheep is just as warm”
-Ernest Lehman

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

Title screen

The tale of Golden Axe III was told as a tragedy for many years; this game was seen as the final nail in the coffin of a once great franchise. Golden Axe III was the black sheep of the Golden Axe family – you had the much loved original,the lazy sequel, the mysterious arcade sibling… then the oddity. The game that no one knew a great deal about, apart from it’s inaccessibility. How did the Golden Axe series get from widespread acclaim to quiet banishment in the space of five years?

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By 1993, the side-scrolling beat ’em up genre had seen better days. Despite the excellent Streets Of Rage 2 coming out at the start of 1993, the genre was…

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#20 – Galaxy Force II

I don’t think the force is with me on this one….

Guilty Party – Retro Redress

Crime – Never playing Galaxy Force II

Redress – Spend an hour playing Galaxy Force II.

I’ve owned various Sega systems and compilations over the years and they all have one thing in common – I don’t play Galaxy Force on them. I’ve owned Galaxy Force II a few times, but I’ve never played it for more than five minutes.

Well, you know what that means? Like Columns and Space Harrier II, we need to dedicate an hour to Galaxy Force II. Let;s do this…

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#17 – Super Thunder Blade

Thunder (Blade) in paradise?

Guilty Party – Retro Redress

Crime – not completing the Sega Ultimate Genesis Collection’s challenge for Super Thunder Blade

Redress – Go back and complete the challenge

As with Flicky a few days ago, today’s redress is for a game that I had on the Sega Ultimate Genesis Collection and couldn’t beat the challenge for. The challenge for Super Thunder Blade was called ‘Get To The Chopper’ and the aim was to get over 1,000,000 points on Stage 1. I remember trying the challenge repeatedly and failing…not sure why I was trying to complete it to be honest, the reward was the arcade version of Space Harrier. Having played Space Harrier II for an hour, I can’t say I’d be too thrilled with that ‘reward’. Still, I failed a challenge and feel like I should try it again, for my own peace of mind at least…

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#16 – Space Harrier II

In space (harrier), no one can hear you scream…

Guilty Party – Retro Redress

Crime – being unable to play Space Harrier II for more than five minutes

Redress – dedicate an hour to playing Space Harrier II

After my attempt to defend one of my favourite retro games , the next stop on my Sega holiday is to play a game that I’ve only ever really dabbled with, despite owning various versions of it over the years.

Space Harrier is a game that I…just don’t get. I first encountered the original Space Harrier on the Atari ST nearly thirty years ago. At the age of five, Space Harrier was little more than a novelty to me – running into the screen and shooting strange creatures was a new experience for me, but after the game over screen, I just moved on to a different game. That’s never changed either – my attempts to play Space Harrier usually end after a few minutes and I move on to the next game.

A few months ago, I addressed another game I had this problem with.. I decided to dedicate an hour to playing Columns so I could say I had given it a fair chance. I enjoyed my hour with Columns and thought maybe Space Harrier II would benefit from the same treatment. So…am I ready to go to the Fantasy Zone…for an hour?

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#15 – Altered Beast

Entering Beast Mode…

Guilty Party – everyone bar Retro Redress

Crime – not appreciating the greatness that is Altered Beast

Redress – Retro Redress will defend Altered Beast the best he can

I’m fairly new to blogging on the internet and have only really been reading up on gaming opinions and analysis for the past few years. Generally, I’ve really enjoyed myself – there are some great people to discuss games with and some brilliant writers and bloggers out there. However, there is one thing that bothers me…It’s the general consensus on Altered Beast.

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#14 – Golden Axe II

Guilty Party – Golden Axe 2

Crime – being one of the most disappointing sequels of all time

Redress – Golden Axe II is to be given a second chance to see if it really is a disappointment

The next game on my Sega Holiday list is Golden Axe II, which in my opinion is a big disappointment and a pale shadow of the original Golden Axe. From what I’ve seen online, people seem to really like Golden Axe II and see it as the best of the series…but I completely disagree. I’m not saying Golden Axe II is an awful game (it’s not) or that the original Golden Axe is perfect (it’s not), but in my eyes, Golden Axe II is no improvement on the original. I will go further than that bold statement – I actually prefer Golden Axe III, the black sheep of the family, to Golden Axe II. However, let’s give Golden Axe II a second chance – it’s my holidays and I’m feeling charitable…

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#13 – Flicky

A bird in the hand…is worth less points than six in the hand

Guilty Party – Retro Redress

Crime – not completing the SEGA Ultimate Genesis Collection challenge of obtaining 80,000 points on Flicky.

Redress – get 80,000 points and complete the challenge.

One of the benefits of modern gaming is the selection of excellent retro compilations. Over the last ten years or so, there have been a lot of fantastic collections. SNK Collection (Wii U and PS2), Capcom Remixed and Reloaded (PSP and PS2), Taito Treasures (PSP and PS2) and Rare Replay (Xbox One) come to mind. My favourite though is Sega (Sonic’s in the US) Ultimate Genesis Collection on Xbox 360 and PS3. It was lovingly curated by Sega, who not only included 49 Mega Drive games (two versions of Altered Beast…so you know the compilation is quality) but lots of artwork, interviews, screen size modifications and a pretty menu system.

Nine of the games on Sega Ultimate Genesis Collection were unlockables. To unlock the locked games, you had to complete a challenge on another game. For example, you could unlock Phantasy Star on the Master System by beating the first boss on Sonic 2 with two players. Being the RPG ignoramus I am, that didn’t interest me. No, I wanted Fantasy Zone. It’s one of my favourite Master System games and the idea of playing it on a big screen in my living room fascinated me. I made unlocking Fantasy Zone a priority and set about doing it. ‘”All I have to do”, I said to myself, “is get 80,000 points on Flicky”. How hard could getting 80,000 points be? I told myself that, a quick go of Flicky later, and I’d soon be off to the ’42 inch version of the Fantasy Zone.

I never got to the 42′ inch version of Fantasy Zone. I could not beat that challenge on Flicky despite my efforts…and, as I always do, I gave up. Sega Ultimate Mega Drive Collection got traded in and I forgot about Flicky…until now.

It’s time to face Flicky again and beat the challenge. Sure, I won’t get Fantasy Zone on a big telly…but I’ll get a measure of revenge, the satisfaction of going back and beating something that beat me. If you can’t take satisfaction from beating a challenge on a twenty six year old Mega Drive game, what can you take satisfaction from?

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