Remember Golden Axe on the MegaDrive? Thought you did, and Sega are hoping you do enough to sign up for a remake on the PS3. But does it still retain that magic of yesteryear? We get swashbuckling to find out.
Some games tease you with complicated puzzles, others intricate storylines. Sega's Golden Axe however throws all that out the window for old and boring hack and slash tactics.
Okay, so there is a storyline buried in there somewhere, something about you avenging the death of your Sisters (think pagan nuns) and the capture the dragon they worship. All you've got to do is head into the enemy’s territory and save the day.
To help you defeat the axis of evil you get a sword, some magic and of course a golden axe.
Gameplay is standard action fare with the melee moves revolving around evade and parry. Get it right and you can deal a far more deadly blow to your opponent. When and how is a question of paying attention and enemies will glow either blue or orange so you can prepare. We say prepare, but what we actually mean is that you'll have less than a second to press the left or right toggle buttons.
The whole process is ok, although frustrating as to be most effective you've got to wait for them to make the first move. That's not to say you have to, it’s just quicker if you do. Combine this with the usual array of attack combos (light, strong and combined) and you can carve your way through the range of bad guys quickly and effectively if you can be bothered.
Rather than opt for range weapons you get magical skills. As you progress through the rather uninspiring levels (thing Greek and Roman countryside) you get more spells you can use such fireballs all quickly accessed from the control console.
Of course what you really want is the golden axe of the title. A couple of levels in you'll be rewards (it's broken though to start with) and as you move on through the levels its powers get stronger.
While the game is no longer a 2D platform title - it's fully 3D - there are some elements that have made the remake. Those pesky gnomes carrying food and potions that randomly appear at the end of levels are still there. They are still fast, still annoying, but do bring the memories of the classic flooding back.
The ride along dragons and beasts are present too and there are different beasts with different characteristics for different occasions. Some are good for fighting, some for knocking down gates and, like the original, they are only good for so long and can be killed or stolen by the enemy.
Remembering playing Golden Axe as a kid, one of the greatest memories was playing it with a friend, co-op style, making sure we were all healthy enough to carry on to the next level. Unfortunately you're not going to have that pleasure this time around.
With no co-op mode available this is a solo affair, which while fine for most, will mean that you won't be able to take on the forces of evil with a mate.
Sega has taken a gaming classic and thought that a new lick of paint would be enough to impress. While this new version does keep to the original, the games we play today need to be so much more than they were when Golden Axe first hit our screens.
The hack and slash mentality of the original has been faithfully kept, however with no real thought or intelligence to the game, it soon tires.
If you're after a bit of button bashing this might do for about 20 minutes, but if that's all you are after, there are better games out there.