“So there I was - you know - hacking away, splintering bone, stretching tendon, ripping muscle when along comes this Death Adder character. Real oddball; I moon, he wanted to know why I was chopping some old hag into little bits. It’s outrageous; osme people have got to stick their nose into everything. (Get on with it, Monteiro. Ed.)

"He really got on my wick when he started joining in. You just don’t do those sort of things. For starters the old hag was my grandmother. And for pudding it’s up to me if I want to hang, draw and quarter her." (Richard, this is really boring.)

"Oh all right then. Long, long ago all was harmony. Turtle Village, the Eagle’s Pass and the King’s Castle were one big happy community. The little children played in the glorious Summer sunshine while the men toiled happily in the fields and..."

(Oh, good grief. That's it - you're fired. I'm going to finish this introduction while there's still room. Golden Axe is a conversion of the classic coin-op. You fight your way through hordes of Adder supporters to rescue the King and Princess. End of story. Start of game.)

‘Ere we go. ‘ere we go, ‘ere we gooo! Hack ‘n’ slay, hack ‘n’ slay, hack ‘n’ slay-eaay! You’re Ax Battler the Barbarian whether you like it or not, so shut up and read on. Before you get into monster mashing you pick the type of magic your character can cast: Earth, Fire or Thunder. Magic is stored in small pots which can be reclaimed from thieves during play. Generally the more magic pots in your possession, the more powerful your magic.

You start on the outskirts of Turtle Village and must make your way to the captured King's castle. Movement is very rapid. Characters brandishing swords, clubs, axes and meat cleavers come rushing towards you - and unfortunately not in single file. Combination attacks are possible: you might swipe at one of the enemy with your sword, bash him over the head with the sword handle and finish him oft by booting him in the balls. It's so satisfying to watch. It's also possible to pick up a marauding Adder minion and hurl him against rocks.

As you progress through the lands, the detailed scenery scrolls smoothly by. Towards the end of each section - Turtle village and Eagle's Pass, for instance — you get to meet giant guardians with silly names like Sergeant Malt and Colonel Bitter. It’s no laughing matter though: these guys are seriously enormous.

Golden Axe is very playable: the graphics are exquisite and tune tasteful (but wearing after a while). But sound affects are non existent — as is the two player mode that made the arcade game so much fun.

Zero magazine

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