|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Secret Level||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SEGA||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 14, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Given that we haven't seen a Golden Axe game since Golden Axe: The Duel (for the SEGA Saturn), there's been plenty of time for the graphical wheel to move forward and the developer, Secret Level, has painted a respectable base coat the character models are detailed and weather effects, like rainfall and sweeping sand, lend to a sense of immersion.
The problem comes when you stare too long: there are constant screen tearing and randomly dropped frames. The soundtrack is heavily comprised of jungle beats that one would think match the on-screen action, but are really more of a sonic thud coming off as uninspired. In a surprise twist, the voice acting which is kept to a minimum is decent and the in-game cutscenes move the negligible story along at a fine pace.
The main single-player component will take most gamers a few hours to beat, which is actually a problem. Since the gameplay is so repetitive, you want it to be over sooner so you at least have the accomplishment of beating the game not to sink hours into an experience only to never see it evolve.
Secret Level included two modes to try and rope players back into play: Challenge Mode and Trials of Tyris. The first has you replaying all the single-player levels, trying to get more gold and a better grade. Trials of Tyris presents a series of battle arenas, fills them with enemies, and sees how long you can last. These two modes are really unwanted, as they rehash bits of the redundant single-player.
Golden Axe is best remembered as what it was a 16-bit sidescrolling hack-and-slash meant for two players to plow through in under an hour not a multi-hour gore fest with an Amazonian woman riding around on asinine creatures. If you must get a Golden Axe fix ,don't pay the premium price tag for Beast Rider get the original from Xbox LIVE Arcade or the Wii's Virtual Console.
CCC Freelance Writer