Golden Axe: Beast Rider
Sega of America
First off, I’m sure that you’re thinking “why review a game from 2008?”. The thing is that every time I go to Gamestop I keep eying this game, and as a classic gamer and a fan of the Golden Axe series I just had to have it, so I broke down and finally picked up a used copy.
I could tell by how many copies of this game were sitting on the shelf at the store that this game is unpopular, and most likely I made a terrible decision in purchasing this game, but I happen to have some extra cash on me this week and I wanted something new to play, and this was my unfortunate choice.
In my head I pictured this game as being a fusion of the classic arcade games Golden Axe and Tecmo Knight, where I’d be using the three main characters from the original Golden Axe games which are the dwarf – Gilius Thunderhead, the barbarian – Tarik the Ax Battler, and the female barbarian – Tyris Flare, but the cool twist would be that they’d get to ride on the backs of cool giant beast’s just like you do in the game Tecmo Knight. Well, let’s just say that it’s sorta that way.
In Golden Axe: Beast Rider, you play as Tyris Flare, and Tyris Flare only, no character selection, the game in it’s entirety is based solely on this character. This really bothers me because I always liked to use Gilius Thunderhead, in my opinion he is always the most sturdy, strong and a heavy hitter against the bad guys where when you compare him to Tyris Flare and Tarik the Ax Battler, Tyris is quick and low on defense with weak hits and Tarik is sort of a medium speed with medium hits and in the original Golden Axe games the story is mainly based on him working with the other two characters to get revenge on Death Adder.
Death Adder is the main baddy in all the entire Golden Axe series, and he has done all three of our heroes wrong. In Golden Axe he takes the king and queen of Yuria hostage and basically kills everyone in the kingdom, in Golden Axe 2 our three heroes go after Dark Guld who we find out later on in the game is just a lackey to Death Adder. In Golden Axe 3, or as it’s titled Golden Axe: The Duel, Sega gives us a Street Fighter 2 style fighting game which is set in the Golden Axe universe. This game was only available on the Sega Saturn, and is awful.
Besides the lack of a character selection, you have to play through a terrible tutorial mode, and it can’t be switched off, no way to bypass it unless you play through it. This game is rated 18+ and while it has a lot of death, and some titty shot’s here and there, I still don’t understand what makes this game for an 18 and older crowd, kids younger than that play games like GTA and God of War; where you overkill on killing, and have sex in-game. So what makes it 18 and older, the every now and then boob shot, the death or both? I’m still not really sure.
The beasts which you ride in this game are so-so, nothing to write home about. One or two of them are upgraded versions of creatures from the original Golden Axe series, but really they get killed off too easily. In the original GA you can ride certain creatures, in this game you can apparently ride any creature you find. I compare it to stealing a car in a game like GTA, just without being a wanna-be hoodlum, and maybe being a little cooler because you just jumped on to the back of a giant monster instead of stealing a car, setting it on fire and jumping it into the ocean, okay maybe that sounds pretty fun too.
The controls in this game are stiff, and it plays a bit like a combination of Conan the Barbarian and Heavenly Sword, just not as good. You have move combos which really aren’t that great, and maybe do a bit more damage to your enemies. Some of the enemies are cool looking, and remind me of characters from the movie Beastmaster, and the band Gwar. One of the mid-bosses which is supposed to be a berserker looks like “Master Blaster” from the movie “Mad Max Beyond Thunder Dome”.
As for the graphics, this is the first “3D” platform for the Golden Axe series, and I did expect more, but I feel that I should have known better. It’s not like Sega has been putting out any winners as of late, it’s a shame, as I am a Sega fan, and I miss the days of Sega consoles. I still feel that the Dreamcast could have made it on a longer run, it’s too bad. Playing this game I feel like Sega has just given up and become the next Atari, although Atari does seem to be pushing out some interesting titles here and there, but on the console market both companies are dead.
I think that if Sega put a bit more effort in to this game, it would have been good, and better received by the video game masses, but it feels like Sega just wanted to release a Golden Axe game, and dropped the ball in the middle of producing it. I think it’s pretty lame that the other two heroes from the GA series ended up being put in to the game as nothing more than NPC’s and in the cinema’s when they meet have no knowledge of each other, and the three previous adventures against Death Adder, but now, suddenly are on a new adventure against the same evil character, but are all meeting for the very first time, again. Maybe this is supposed to be the beginning of a new Golden Axe series for the world of Next-Geners, I don’t know, but if it is, Sega killed it on release.