Been playing a lot of games lately, a few for assignment, but I’ve had the chance to sample one or two others for sheer curiosity and relaxation. One of these is the franchise reboot of Golden Axe from Secret Level and yes, I’ve read the reviews and have seen the ratings. Some of the complaints are pretty valid…the game is repetitive and boring.
Most arcade-styled titles today have enough variation within them to keep things interesting, but not Golden Axe. Kill warriors, go to gate, kill more warriors, go to gate, kill more warriors but impale a few for good measure…then go to gate…ad nauseum. Tyris’ move-set isn’t that interesting, nor are any of the levels so far, or the clone army that throws itself onto your blade. It wouldn’t be so bad if the story was actually good, but it isn’t. It’s not even Kull the Conqueror good.
Despite how creative some of the later challenges are, it still boils down to mostly the same thing and seeing the color brown all the damn time just adds to the blandness. I won’t even go into the invisible walls that conveniently block obvious openings. But I’ve played worse (a lot worse), and Golden Axe doesn’t feel as if it should be categorized with the likes of Hour of Victory, or Total Recall.
One complaint I had read other critics mention was how clunky the timing-based combat system and really, this is probably the best thing about the game. You can still button-mash your way through it, you really don’t need to use it all the time, but it’s a lot more rewarding if you take advantage of this and there are encounters in the game that seem tailor made to exploit it.
Mashing affairs turn into fencing matches as a result giving your reflexes a pretty good workout. It’s still rough around the edges, and the beasts do make the game more fun than that alone, but there’s enough here for me to think that it doesn’t deserve as bad a reputation. Still, it is only one of the few things I actually like about the game.