Golden Axe 3 – Review

SEGA brings the 3rd installment of the classic franchise to our iPhone’s and iPod touches…

I have actually never played a Golden Axe game in the past, so this was not a leap into the old days for me, but actually a completely new experience. Of course, I have played plenty of old school side scrolling games, but for some reason, the Golden Axe hype from back in the day escaped me.

Golden Axe 3 (GA3) gives you 4 different characters to choose from. Some are more powerful and slower, while others are weak and fast. Some have longer range weapons that can attack enemies, while other characters can’t. This is a nice feature because it allows you to choose a character that best suits your play style. I personally choose Kain because he had a long sword that seemed like it would be easiest to use (no innuendo intended). It was hard to resist the urge to play as Cronos because he is half man half cat, and who doesn’t want to be half man, and half cat? (In the game of course, in real life I’m ALL man!)

mzl_bbarmbrl_320x480-75As you would expect, GA3 uses an on screen representation of the Sega Genesis/Megadrive controller to control the game. For those unfamiliar with the layout of this controller, there are 3 buttons and a joystick. GA3 lets you have the buttons placed over the screen or along the outside of the screen. Obviously, if you choose this second option the play area becomes much smaller. I preferred to have the buttons overlaid on top of the play screen. It did not hinder my view in the slightest, and I preferred to see the game space as big as possible. The “A” button allows you to use a super attack that devastated everything on screen, as long as you have a potion of course. The more potions you build up the more powerful this attack becomes. The “B” button is your basic attack, which is what you will be using the most. Lastly, the “C” button is used for jumping, which is used to launch in air attacks as well get over cliffs. You can also use “A” and “C” at the same time to launch an attack that hits the enemies in front of you, as well as behind. This is kind of cumbersome because of the button placement, but it’s a great move because the enemies love to get you in between 2 of them at once. For movement, there is an on screen d-pad.

The game plays like any side scrolling hack and slash. Guys come at you; you kill them and then move to the right towards the end of the level. It’s obviously not the deepest type of game, but it is always a fun distraction. If you are a younger gamer who is used to deeper game experiences that require use of multiple buttons and combos, then you might find a game like this to be a little boring, but for the old school who want a trip down memory lane, this type of game play will be perfect for you. That said, GA3 is not the greatest example of a hack and slash game. It is by no means terrible, but the hit detection can be a little messed up at times. There were some occasions where it appeared as though my sword was passing right through the enemies with no effect. Other times I was swinging my sword aimlessly only to have it hit an enemy who appeared to be completely out of range. From what I understand, this was also the case in the original release, so it seems as though SEGA either left it in there for nostalgia’s sake, or just didn’t feel like putting in the effort to fix it.

gaGA3 features multi-player, which is done over Bluetooth. I would liked to have seen Wi-Fi support so I don’t have to be standing right in front of the person I am playing with, but it is still a cool feature. While playing multi-player you are able to team up and perform special combos that would otherwise not be possible without the help of a friend. Even without Wi-Fi multi-player, it’s always a nice feature to have and helps extend the life of the game.

The game looks and sounds like a game from the SEGA Genesis/Megadrive, which is obviously not up to the standards of today’s games. That said, I can’t really knock it for that because it is a port of a classic game, and therefore looks the part. As long as you go into the game expecting old school looking graphics and sound, then you won’t be disappointed.

Overall, Gold Axe 3 isn’t great, but it’s not terrible either. I wish there was some word in the English language to describe something that isn’t great, but isn’t bad… Oh right it’s decent. There are better side scrolling hack and slash games out there, and some are even made by SEGA. (Streets of Rage being one example.) If you are a huge Golden Axe fan then this game is worth a look, otherwise there are better choices out there.


Golden Axe 3 is out now for $2.99. Get it on the Golden Axe 3 - SEGA

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