Review by Ofisil

Reviewed: 01/11/08

Zelda rip off and a damn good one too

Golden Axe is an Action\RPG developed by SEGA. In 1987 Shigeru Miyamoto, (HAIL!!!), created a little game called Legend Zelda… was it a success you ask? Well apart from making Nintendo stand out even more in the gaming industry, selling millions of copies, being the game with the most #1’s in gaming magazines of its time and creating fanatic fanboys like me no, it wasn’t a success!!!!!! The only, (I think), game that has dared to be an exact copy of this game is Golden Axe Warrior. Some minutes after playing it I was like, “Bah! That’s no Legend Of Zelda!!! It’s just a damn Rip-Off”, but after playing a bit more I saw that it is damn good one…

Story: 6/10

A giant has stolen 9 magic crystals that warded off evil and Golden Axe has disappeared. This giant hid these crystals in 9 dungeons and started destroying town after town. You the nameless hero must find first the crystals and then the Golden Axe in order to kill the giant and restore peace to the world. The story, like all aspects of the game is extremely similar to Legend Of Zelda, with crystals replacing the Triforce pieces, a giant instead of Ganon and the Golden Axe instead of the Silver Arrow and Magic Sword. But instead of replacing some stuff from Zelda the game goes a bit further by having more talkative fellows in the game than Legend Of Zelda. Anyway for today’s RPG standards the plotline seems very simple, but back then it was ok, (if not topnotch).

Graphics: 10/10

This is the part where Golden Axe Warrior kicks Link’s elfish a$$! The game was developed some years after Zelda and Master System had slightly better hardware to support these wonderful graphics. Get ready for a colorful world full of detail and variety. We view everything from a top down view like in Legend Of Zelda and almost everything looks very similar to this game, trees, stairs, enemies, everything, but here GAW shows that it isn’t just a mere copy of Zelda since it takes all the things we’ve seen in it and has improved them. Zelda was much simpler, a color or two for the ground, some trees and that’s it! Here we have bushes, flowers, grass patches, taller trees, (that leave something behind after being cut), damaged areas, towns full of details and many more. Enemies are far better in design than Zelda’s but not so unique and most of them are just differently colored clones. Dungeons also burst from detail and bosses have very good design and are much larger than simple enemies. Generally GAW looks very good!

Sound: 6/10

Here Golden Axe Warrior is outmatched by one of the best music scores in gaming history. While Zelda has an epic, full of emotion list of music themes GAW just uses some average tunes as background. Sound effects sound like they are supposed to but are nothing special.

Gameplay: 9/10

Reviewing this game feels like reviewing Legend Of Zelda since their gameplay is identical. You have to explore a large world in order to equip yourself in order to fight your way through enemies and reach the final bad guy. You start with a simple sword\shield\armor and gradually find more powerful ones or even axes that have a wider hit range. The fighting part of GAW has only one problem, your weapons are short, very short. Yes, I know, Link seemed unnatural when wielding a sword twice his size but who cares about realism when you can’t avoid being hit when trying to slash an enemy due to the fact that you are very close to him. Also enemies are very fast compared to you and keep on walking towards you no matter what you hit them with making it hard to avoid damage. In GAW you can also use magic like an elemental ranged attack, (less powerful than your weapons), a healing spell or a massive damage spell that destroys everything in sight.

Many times in the game you’ll have to obtain a certain item in order to proceed. Usually you find these key items in Dungeons, for example you’ll find a ship with which you can travel in the see and reach the continent that has the next dungeon in line. Also items can be used in order to find some items that will help you in your quest like additional health and magic, money and many more. Secrets in this game aren’t so unique like Zelda’s, since 90% of them require you to cut some trees and nothing more. Also dungeons are less difficult than Zelda’s especially I you have played Zelda before. The only “riddles” you’ll have to solve are things like hitting a torch in order for a door to open and nothing more. Generally GAW is more action based than an adventure game. Bosses inside dungeons are harder than the ones in Zelda that don’t have weak spots and don’t require special items in order to be beaten, you just memorize their attack and move pattern and hit them with all you’ve got.

One very bad thing in GAW is that although 99.9% percent of the games puzzles are extremely easy the final one, (the location of the final dungeon), is very hard and just doesn’t suit to a game so easy in terms of adventuring making it look bad. Finally although a great game after defeating the final boss there aren’t many things you can do after that. All secrets are easy to find, dungeons are very small and easy to navigate and there is no secondary quest like in Zelda to keep you interested.

Positives:
-A good Zelda Rip-Off!!!
-Great graphics, one of the best the Master System can offer
-Large world to explore, full of secrets

Negatives:
-Your weapon’s range makes fighting a bit hard
-Easy in terms of adventuring apart from an extremely difficult to find dungeon
-Small replay value
-A bit boring music

Also Play:
The Legend Of Zelda (NES)
The Legend Of Zelda: A Link To The Past (SNES)
The Legend Of Zelda: Link’s Awakening (GB)

Overall: 7.7/10

This game is very good! It’s one of the few games in Master System that I’ve truly enjoyed playing. Although being extremely similar to one of my favorite games it is very good at it and also improves some of its features, but these improvements aren’t enough to hide the game’s small flaws and, (fanboy alert!!!), it just doesn’t have that special something of Zelda. A good game nonetheless that’s worth your time, oh and you… yes YOU the biased Zelda player, stop saying bad words about this game and just try it out!

Rating: 8

Product Release: Golden Axe Warrior (US, 04/30/91)

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