golden_axe_3 screen

After a brief hiatus in the App Store, Sega last month released Sonic the Hedgehog [App Store], the Genesis / Mega Drive classic apparently wrapped in an emulator, for the iPhone and iPod touch.  This morning the studio followed Sonic up with another emulated classic for the iPhone, the Genesis / Mega Drive version of the 1989 arcade classic Golden Axe.

Three mighty heroes, a powerful Fighter, a female Amazon, and a mighty Dwarf have a score to settle with the evil Death Adder who has captured the King and his daughter, and holds them captive in their castle. Choose your hero in this classic action game, as you fight through Adder's henchman as you battle through dark castles, on the back of a giant turtle, and even on the wings of an enchanted eagle with weapon & magic; and even ride the fearsome, fire-breathing beasts.

Golden Axe for the iPhone features the original's choice of three heroes to choose from: the battle axe-wielding dwarf, Gilius Thunderhead, the male barbarian, Ax Battler, wielding a two handed broadsword, and the long-sword-wielding amazon female, Tyris Flare.  All of the heroes have magic, as well as steel, at their disposal in their fight against the levels' various enemies.  The iPhone version of the game, like the Genesis version that it really is, features two additional levels not found in the arcade original.

golden_axe_2As with Sonic for the iPhone, Golden Axe offers virtual D-pad and buttons as the default control arrangement, with the option of accelerometer-based controls.  As well, there are two display modes to choose from: a full-screen stretched arrangement with semi-translucent control icons and a framed, original size view (320 x 240 pixels) which runs at a slightly higher framerate.

And how does it play?  Well, it's pretty much the Genesis experience (which is pretty much the arcade experience), but played with iPhone controls. The iPhone controls seem to hold up pretty well all things considered (see video). The accelerometer option is a nice addition in case you just hate virtual d-pads. Meanwhile, overall performance seems more consistent than it did for Sonic, and held up well in the early levels.

For those who call the game an old favorite, the iPhone version is worth a look.

App Store Link: Golden Axe, $4.99

TouchArcade Rating

  • Knightcomm

    Man, it is about timetheystarted releasing more good ol' games on the iPhone. I just hope they release some N64 ones some time soon.

  • Dimitris

    it's good to know that it runs well and it's the full experience. But 4.99$?
    if it was 2$ or something like that it would have sold like hot-cakes!!

  • XCool

    I never actually managed to complete the game when I had it in my old 486 PC.

    And I agree, a lower price would make it more attractive. Sega, you listening? 😀

  • Loner

    about time some of these classics came outabout time some of these classics came out

  • E

    At $5, it's one of the more expensive idevice games but I'm sure like most things in the App Store, the price'll go down eventually. Compared to I think $9 or $10 for MGS Touch, that's not bad at all LOL

    • Dazen

      It doesn\'t seem like Sega ever drops their prices. I think it\'s because they\'re cross-platform so they can\'t (or don\'t want to) lower the price on a game that\'s going to be sold elsewhere as well.. Then X-Box Live folks would be complaining that the game is only $1 at the apple store...

      (maybe I\'m wrong though? I\'d love to be proved wrong)

  • CMB

    I notice frame rate issues, however slight, are mentioned in the review of this and Sonic. I'm presuming if these SEGA emulated games are running on a 3GS then that issue goes away?

    • Blake Patterson

      I don't feel the framerate is a notable issue in either game, and at any rate it's less so in Golden Axe. The speed difference on my iPhone 3G running 3.0 is very slight between the two views. I consider the game running "full speed."

      But, indeed, many games with framerate issues should run rather more smoothly on the 3GS. It's CPU is nearly twice as fast, not to mention the extended GPU capabilities.

      • spiffyone

        I feel you haven't played Sonic 1 on Genesis hardware for quite some time.

        There is a notable difference in framerate in that game. It stutters in places the original did not.

  • Punti

    I LOVE THIS!!!

    if you take a tour on IpodTouchFans, you can see how to play other Sega games.
    Without any lag as the jailbreak emu has 🙂

    thnx <3

  • Gregz0r

    Genesis versions are fine and all, but SEGA should be releasing their ARCADE versions of these!

    • JS

      Disappointment. If this was the ARCADE version and was a buck or two cheaper, i would buy it for sure. The Genesis version is severely lacking in comparison. (in graphics, sound, etc.)

      • spiffyone

        Yes. I agree.

        But while arcade versions are fine and all, Sega should be releasing NEW games on the iTouch/Phone platform as well. Super Monkey Ball, while an already existing IP, was, in its iTouch/Phone iteration an all new experience.

        I don't mind Sega going back into their backcatalog. But I DO mind Sega JUST doing that and nothing NEW. They can do BOTH. I mean...honestly now.

        BTW...why couldn't they just, y'know...released a Genesis emulator as a standalone app, with the two games out already (Sonic and Golden Axe) released as "pay to play" downloads? 3.0 does allow that sort of thing, no?

    • Ataru

      You must remember that SEGA pride themselves on putting out the laziest iPhone games possible. Why expend any effort when doing next to nothing still sells? Only when people stop buying this crap will Sega get the message.

      • spiffyone

        Unfortunately, you may be right.

        What happened to the Sega that hailed the iTouch/Phone platform after seeing sales of Super Monkey Ball (again, older IP, but the iTouch/Phone game itself was all new)? What happened to the Sega that boasted about what they could pull off with the hardware?

        What happened to the Sega that had balls?

        What happened to the Sega of my youth?

  • Gavin

    I got this same version on Xbox Live. It's terrible - just doesn't hold up in any category. Avoid unless you're some diehard Golden Axe fan. Arcade version is much better.

    • JS

      Actually, XBOX Live has the ARCADE version. I know for a fact because it's the best playing version of the game that I own. The Wii, on the otherhand, has the Genesis version and it sucks in comparison. Is it possible that both versions are available on XBOX Live?

  • Victor

    this is even more useful than sonic for those that want to emulate another rom. got all three buttons 😀

  • sticktron

    Now that their EMU has all three buttons, we have a full Official SEGA Emulator!! Fans can duplicate the App as many times as they'd like, replacing the ROM with different games.

  • diabolus

    Oh... I was 7 years old..

  • Ataru

    Looks like another shoddy SEGA port. The music is running in S-L-O-W M-O-T-I-O-N, and the frame rate looks weak. Still, it looks like it at least runs better than the massive train wreck that was the Sonic port.

    Hard to believe SEGA can't get these old Mega Drive games running at full speed. I used to run them at a rock solid 60fps on an emulator on a 133mhz Pentium 2. (iPhone is 400mhz)

    • sticktron

      It's not a port, it's an emulator bundled with 1 game.
      BTW Sega's emulator is the fastest Genesis emulator on the iDevice so far (according to various comments), so blame Apple for the poor speed.

    • VectorWega

      There were no 166MHz Pentium IIs. Pentium IIs were 233 to 450 MHz. They were running 300 MHz within the first year of release.

  • skamando

    Problem with this is that it has no multiplayer. Thus, no fun.

    • Joel

      I agree.

  • psionic

    Due to the developers having no direct-pixel-write access to the underlaying hardware, the maximum fps for full screen apps that write pixel-by-pixel is approximately 22-24fps, on the current iPhone edge/3g hardware. MHZ doesn't mean much when there's three or four layers to go through that all have various memory-bandwidth constraints.

  • Nuters

    I love the controls they are so good

  • Marc

    was playing this on the sega mega drive yesterday LOL ITS AMAZING

  • cheezorg

    @sticktron and Victor

    I don't believe that swapping the rom will work unless your device is already jailbroken, but in that case, what's the point? Just getting the app into iTunes would probably throw some errors.

    Anyone able to confirm or deny? (For scientific curiosity, of course).

  • j

    release sonic 2+3+knuckles instead of this :/

  • Yunfei

    This is emulation. Which can be done much better on JB iPods/iPhones.

    Remember you must own the games to emulate 😉

  • CMB

    I haven't bought this yet. But I can confirm that Crash Bandicoot which I always found to be one of the most 'fun' racers on the iphone runs at around twice the framerate on 3GS and is now very smooth to play. I'd imagine the 'emulator' games to benefit the same.

  • ryoi

    i say no, to the price.

  • andraz

    does anybody knows if there will be international version for this game, because i cant get it on itunes in Slovenia.
    i hate when this happens, they release a amazing retro game and i cant buy it, ...

    and the sad thing is that most of the old classics are much better than the new games

  • Random

    Meh... Another half-assed emulation of a mediocre Megadrive port of a classic arcade game.

    If Sega had any brains at all (and judging by the quality of their in-house games over the last few years, they don't) they write an emulator for their System16 arcade hardware with the graphics engine rewritten for the iPhone - then they could release arcade perfect versions of some of their best games, instead of burning their fanbase with this rubbish.

    Of course, they'll blame the poor sales on "the market not existing for classic games", as opposed to their poor choices and high prices...

  • CMB

    Release an International version already.. grrrr

  • JoelinBoston

    I always loved this game in the arcade, never had a sega, haven't seen it in 10 years, bought it and am having fun. Woo hoo!

    Question- in Wikipedia, it describes a move thusly: "Death jab: dash, then jump, then press attack to thrust your blade into your enemy's skull. This will always knock enemies down, and kills weak enemies quickly. Can't be done while riding." When I try this with the dwarf, I only get the jump attack. Anyone else getting this move? Or is it not in this version?

  • Andy

    I have bought this in the UK and actually really enjoy playing it on the train. Couple of complaints are that it does get slow in places and you only get 3 credits and it is pretty hard in comparison to the arcade version where you have much more movability.

    I did find out however that all the old cheats work on this version, so a quick tip would be to hold down the down+left button on the pad and then press A and B together, hold, then release and then press start. This will give you 9 credits and thus stop you having to restart quite so much!

    No matter what is said about it being a poor emulation etc- just remember this is one of the classics from most of our childhood and worth a couple of quid!

  • Adam

    Love this game used to rinse it on the old 386. Question though is there any special trick to continuing after you die? It says I have three continues but can't work out how to use them before the 10 seconds runs out

  • mark

    how do you use the credits.

    iphone 3gs

  • Jagjitsinghbadhan


    • Jagjitsinghbadhan

      hi jagjit singh how are u ?