Review by MeLikePie

Reviewed: 07/08/04

There's a reason games don't always get released

This game was never released in the U.S., and for good reason. Golden Axe III is the worst third installment of a series since Kick Boxer III starring Sasha Mitchell. I bought my copy of Golden Axe III in the Philippines; a place where you can buy pickled chicken embryos. In hindsight, I should have spent my money on more chicken embryos.

The plot is derivative, and the dialogue is poorly written. An Evil Prince has taken the Golden Axe and now threatens to take over the world. It’s never explained how someone can take over the world with just an axe, but the Evil Prince did, so I guess it’s possible. The one unique plot twist is that you must battle against your friends at the end of some levels. This has never been done before on account that it is so stupid. But stupid or not, it’s original. Overall, the story has such a cookie cutter plot that you’d think it was a satire of itself, but it’s not. The creators of Golden Axe III were serious when they made the villain the “Evil Prince”. The writers in this game don’t even pretend to try.

Golden Axe III is a beat ‘em up side-scroller. You have a selection of 4 warriors to choose from. There’s a barbarian, a girl, a panther-man, and some big guy with no weapon. The creators of Golden Axe III decided not to include the dwarf into the mix because they tried to make this game as bad as possible.
The button layout is. Simple enough. B performs an attack, C performs a jump, and A casts a spell. One redeeming factor in Golden Axe III is that the creators attempted to evolve the fighting engine. By pressing B+C, your character performs a move that hits enemies in both directions. Pressing B+C+any direction performs a charged attack. Golden Axe III also allows you to block by pressing back+B. These moves are fine additions to the Golden Axe series; however, these were not the only additions made to the move list. A ranged attack can now be made by inputting forward, back, forward+B or forward, half-circle forward+B, depending on which character you are playing as. The concept of a ranged attack isn’t that bad, but the input sequences are too complicated for the genre. When you input forward, back, forward in a side-scroller your character moves forward, then turns around, then moves backward, then turns around again, and then precedes to move forward once more. You literally get your ass kicked left and right when inputting a ranged attack. Some genres shouldn’t have complicated inputs. In a first person shooter, you don’t have to jump twice and spin around to launch a rocket. It’s suicide.
Golden Axe’s signature feature of being able to mount and ride monsters remains, but is seriously floundered. Most of the monsters suck and look like dinosaurs. Normally, being able to ride a dinosaur would make me stain my pants from joy, but this is not the case in Golden Axe III. The dinosaur's attacks are shorter ranged than your characters default attacks, making them quite lame. What’s even worse is that the dinosaurs are comparatively small. If you mount a dinosaur as the big guy with no weapon, you’ll notice that you’re twice the size of your ride. It looks rather ridiculous, like a fat kid riding a pony.
Overall, the beat ‘em up gameplay is repetitive and gets boring fast. Even with an upgraded move list, you’ll find yourself mashing the B button in an effort to beat the game as quickly as possible.

The sprites in this game aren’t particularly bad in a resolution sense. The problem lies in the artistry and animation. The heroes of Golden Axe III aren’t so bad. They’re pretty much what you’d expect. Things don’t get ugly until the enemies make an appearance. Unfortunately, the enemies appear within the first 30 seconds of the game. The base of the Evil Prince’s army consists of short, fat guys with clubs and tall, skinny guys with spears. The enemies look like they were drawn on Microsoft Paint by an artist with Tourettes Syndrome. Eventually you are faced with other enemy types, but they are drawn just as ugly. Almost as bad as the artistry is the animation. It’s so static; I sometimes think I’m watching anime. If you turn off the color on your television, you’d swear all the characters on screen were shadow puppets.

The music in this game isn’t bad, but it’s nothing to brag about. The final level’s score is pretty dope. It gives off a climactic feel, like the music being played when Xena: Warrior Princess is about to kill the leader of a gang of thugs. What makes the sound in Golden Axe III so horrible are the sound effects. Most of the sound effects are ordinarily bad, but some sounds, like the sound made when the yellow dinosaurs stick out their tongues, are so bad, you forget about how bad the gameplay is. It’s a high-pitched screeching sound that drives me insane. I seriously don’t understand how the creators of this game could make such a horrible noise. To produce a sound that bad, you’d have to be making a conscious effort. It’s like they ripped sound bites from a Linkin Park CD.

Rent or Buy?:
You’ll probably never see this game for sale, let alone for rent. If you do happen to find yourself shopping in the Filipino black market, then you may be faced with a decision to make. If the store you’re in has strawberry flavored chicken embryos, then take the pickled chicken embryos. If all they have left are orange flavored ones, then yeah, you may want to buy a copy of Golden Axe III.

Rating:   1.5 - Bad

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