February 23, 2009

hojo.artcore_Golden Axe was released in the arcades in 1989, and had a Mega Drive/Genesis release later in that year. i didn’t have a Genesis in 1989. i didn’t get mine until at least 1992, because i got it with a copy of David Robinson’s Supreme Court, which has a 1992 copywrite on the back of the box. i keep that game based on the sole fact that it was the first Genesis game i ever owned. but i got a copy of Golden Axe soon after getting my Genesis. and up until a week ago, i had never beaten it.

_many old arcade-to-console ports of games saw the addition of extra stages and content. i’d imagine this was due to the fact that the home consoles couldn’t deliver the arcade quality graphics, so companies wanted to give people a compelling reason to play the console version. as if being able to play it without having to bug your parents to take you to Pistol Pete’s Pizza and never having to worry about waiting in a line full of kids wasn’t reason enough. anyways, Golden Axe for the Genesis was no different. but Golden Axe did something most of the other arcade-to-console ports didn’t do: it added a new final stage and final boss. a stupid new stage. and a retardedly broken-hard final boss.

_even if you are unfamiliar with Golden Axe, it’s pretty easy to sum up how retarded this new final boss is. he attacks with 2 near-invincible skeletons. i say “near-invincible” because you CAN actually kill them. you just have to glitch the boss into a corner and wail on the skeletons for about 10 minutes, which i’ve never done, i’ve just seen a video of it once. default starting health is 3 bars, though it can be raised to 5. skeletons are the most powerful non-boss enemy in the game, dealing two bars of damage every combo by themselves. if you get surrounded by them, they will likely deal 3 bars of damage before kicking you to the ground. Death Bringer (the final boss) will cast magic every time he knocks you down, causing up to 4 bars of damage. this means that on the default health setting, getting surrounded by the 2 skeletons almost always means death, and being hit by Death Bringer a single time WILL kill you. in short, he’s so cheap, it’s shocking he wasn’t in the arcade version.

this would bring back painful memories, except i dont use the dwarf much.

this would bring back painful memories, except i don't use the dwarf much.

_all of this sounds like “lol total cheese boss,” and it totally is, but like most side-scrolling hack’n’slash/beat’em up games, CPU AI is suseptable to cheese tactics. in this game, it’s forcing them to move vertically. the CPU never attacks unless they’re perfectly lined up with you horizontally, and can also be forced to walk off of ledges to try to line up with you. just like real people do.

_anyways, after nearly 15 years, i finally beat this game. was it satisfying? not really. i just figured out how to properly abuse the attack+jump move, which is only really needed for that one fight. and unless it’s something like “discovered the cure for cancer,” nothing is really going to be that satifying after a 15 year wait, though i was treated to some wonderfully misplaced music for the end credits.

_the more i play older games like this, the more i see that a lot of the difficulty lies in the lack of lives or unlimited continues. in this game, you get 3 lives and 3 continues, which you can go through pretty fast with the easy-to-fall-in pits, enemies that do a bar of health per hit, and overall difficulty in general. but add in something like unlimited continues that put you at the start of each level, kind of like modern gaming’s save system, the game would suddenly become much, much easier. instead of forcing you to go through the entire game again with every failure, you’d get to repeat the offending part over and over again until conquered. what would today’s games be like if they played like the games of yesteryear? they’d be like Contra: Shattered Soldier, which is one of the hardest post-16-bit era games created. imagine a game like Devil May Cry 3…where you get 3 lives where you restart immediately, 3 continues putting you back at the beginning of the game, and if you run out…welcome back to Mission 1, friend! these are the only types of games that will ever seriously challenge a game like Battletoads or its ilk for “Hardest game evar made dood.”

_and since that paragraph was enough of a tangent, i shall very weakly segue to a list of all of the first games i ever owned for each system i own, seeing how i already mentioned the first game i owned for the Genesis…

  • NES: Super Mario Bros./Duck Hunt
  • Game Boy: Qix
  • SNES: Super Mario World
  • N64: Mario Kart 64
  • Gamecube: Super Smash Bros. Melee
  • Genesis: David Robinson’s Supreme Court
  • Playstation: Final Fantasy VII
  • PS2: Final Fantasy X
  • X-Box: Halo
  • X-Box 360: Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion

_man…all Nintendo systems were 1st party except the Game Boy, which i got with Qix in a trade in which i gave him a copy of Rambo for the NES. both Sony systems were purchased with to play the new FF, and both X-Boxes came with a first-person game, albiet different genres. and then there’s David Robinson’s Supreme Court…at least when my brother got NBA 2K along with the Dreamcast he won in a contest, it was still a solid basketball game…



  1. Yay, the inactivity is vanquished. Yeah, old games are always especially harder due to the limited lives and continues. Yargh.

    David Robinson’s Supreme Court? Wha? XD

  2. Contra would be a lot easier if it had unlimited continues.

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