Before consoles were
in the affordable reach of the masses and before home consoles
boasted better graphics than the arcades, there was a very addictive
game by SEGA called "Golden Axe".
This title featured
three powerful warriors, a barbarian, a dwarf and an Amazon who were
given the task of ridding the lands from a nefarious evil in this
classic side scrolling hack ''n' slash game which was truly one of
the most memorable games of the time.
Although gaming has
progressed in leaps and bounds since then, SEGA have dusted off the
franchise in the latest addition to the series entitled Golden
Axe: Beast Rider which is oozing with classic sword and
sorcery stereotypes. Unlike the original game, the story revolves
around the lithe Amazonian, Tyris Flare who has seen her mystically
sisterhood slaughtered by the nefarious Death Adder who also
happened to the be the villain from the original title.
To compound the
situation, a great and ancient dragon has also been defeated by
Death Adder and it's up to Sword and Sorcery Wonder Woman to once
again liberate the world of man from this hideous evil.
The game uses some
great pre-rendered cutscenes to engross you into the story and also
some on-screen text which appears through letters which can be found
throughout the environment. The cutscenes are gorgeous, although I
wasn't a fan of the letters which is truly a thing of the gaming in
the 80's. Fortunately, the text screens are rather short.
The gameplay of
Golden Axe: Beast Rider is extremely reminiscent to Conan (THQ) as
you control your character through a 3D gaming universe as you hack
and slash your way to victory. Fortunately for Tyris, she has a vast
plethora of combat maneuvers up her sleeve, including magic and
beasts which can be ridden in order to assist you in your travels.
With over the top battles and some quite gruesome battle scenes,
this game would not look out of place in those classic Sword and
Although you have a
number of basic attacks which can be performed, where the game does
come into its own is through the special maneuvers which is a
combination of feigns and attacks. For instance, by ducking to one
side (generally, this is indicated by colours), you can then perform
a finishing maneuver on your foe which does take a little time to
master and initially is quite frustrating.
Tyris also has
access to a variety of different magic's which can be accessed
through the D-Pad, although you are limited how much you can use
which neatly balances the gameplay. Fortunately, health and mana can
be regenerated throughout the game from mystics portals to chests
and those pesky little gnomes who were a staple of the original game
These little dark
gnomes run around your character and by hitting them with your sword
or magic, they leave behind potions, either for health or mana to
assist. Tyris has the ability to jump, however the world of Golden
Axe: Beast Rider is quite limited in where you can jump, even though
you would expect to be able to jump on a stone block. This is
probably one of the biggest flaws of the game which limits the
gaming environment and sometimes feels like you are boxed in.
Storywise, it is quite linear.
title is quite impressive on the XBox 360 with some quite detailed
gaming environments, although the title does suffer from "pop-ups".
Tyris herself is well animated and interacts quite well with the
environment and her look is the classic sexy Amazonian with not much
to wear but with an attitude that kills.
There is a great
effect in the game with the sunlight reflecting on Tyris' blades
that at times looks quite realistic. The enemies are quite detailed
as are the texture details but the next impressive aspect to the
graphics are some of the beasts that you can ride and truly adds to
the genre of this title.
Match that with a
variety of special effects and lighting effects plus some realistic
cloud effects and overall, this game is one of the better titles
available of this genre.
cutscenes are truly awe-inspiring and give you that added incentive
to finish the title. Musically, the title features a typical "Sword
and Sorcery" soundtrack that although quite over top suits the genre
perfectly and for such a clichéd game, the voice acting of the title
is quite professional and does not sound too contrived.
In conclusion, Golden Axe: Beast Rider is a solid game, although
there are some issues such as the awkward parrying system and the
popups which does take the shine from the game, it is still quite
playable and enjoyable. Golden Axe: Beast Rider is game that is
quite rare these days as it features your traditional hack 'n' slash
gameplay which is reminiscent of God of War and Conan. This game is
definitely for those gamers who enjoy the fantasy genre or even
those who loved the original game.