golden axe: beast riderWhen I first heard SEGA was bringing back this arcade classic, I thought these guys are God. But after actually playing it, I realize they’re the Death Adder incarnate.

Golden Axe: Beast Rider is riddled with problems.

First off, it doesn’t offer anything new. The story, half of which is force fed to you through “READING” notes randomly place throughout the game, is extremely shallow. You play as Tyris Flare, and only Tyris Flare, on a quest to save the Great Dragon from the Death Adder. That’s right there’s no option to play as Gilius the dwarf or Tarik the Axe Battler. Consequently this means – no mutliplayer. Gilius & Tarik do make a quick appearance to offer Tyris some moral support but that’s about it. It’s very forced.

The gameplay is just beastly.

You can pretty much hack and slash through the first few levels. However, later levels and particularly bosses require you evade or parry based on color cues, which can be really frustrating because if you don’t time it just right you’re gonna get the axe!

One good thing about this game is that you can keep the extra lives you get even if you choose to not to use one and restart a level from the beginning. And believe me, you’ll want to use these wisely.

megabraxOf course as the name suggests, beast riding is a major component and because size matters, the beasts are bigger than ever. None more so than Megabrax (picture right). He’s so big in fact that you’ll find him difficult control. Megabrax needs to feed constantly or  he’ll end up feeding on you.

On the other end of the spectrum you’ve got Abrax, an updated version of Chicken-Leg but without the cool sweep move. Oh he can sweep your enemies of their feet, just not the ones right in front of him! (which isn’t much of a sweep at all)

The thieving gnomes are back too. Unfortunately thanks to bad camera angles, they’re even harder to hit. And unlike the original they no longer raid your magic potions between levels, which was one of the trademarks of the game and gave it a real world feeling. Even the game’s ending, which tries but fails to make you misty-eyed, is a complete departure from the quirkiness of the original which had the characters breaking the 4th wall and escaping their virtual world.

So unless you want to get “taken for a ride” walk away from Golden Axe: Beast Rider.