At the moment, the publishing team at DotEmu can do no wrong when it comes to beat-em-ups. The company has touted great success with its revival of the Streets of Rage brand with its fourth iteration, even adding a new Mr. X Nightmare mode that challenges players with continuous waves of foes. And early next year, we’ll see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and their allies return with Shredder’s Revenge, a well-timed beat-em-up from the team at Tribute Games.
So what’s next after that? Hear us out, DotEmu, because we’ve got a great idea for you. Golden Axe.
The original Golden Axe dropped in 1989 to much fanfare, becoming the stuff of beat-em-up legend and later getting its due on the Sega Genesis and Master System with really well-done ports. A few sequels followed, including Golden Axe II and Golden Axe III (which, surprisingly, didn’t get a U.S. release at the time, but did pop up later on the Sega Channel and the Sega Genesis Mini). Not to mention the release of Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder in arcades, which later got its release on the Astro City Mini mini-game unit, as well as its own devoted Arcade1up machine, which has since sold out.
Several spin-offs were also released, like Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe, a side-scrolling adventure for the Game Gear and Master System; and Golden Axe: The Duel, a more traditional fighting game that turned off a few fans.
The last we saw of the Golden Axe brand was in 2008, with the release of Golden Axe: Beast Rider, a contemporary action/adventure game that strayed away from the beat-em-up tactics in favor of something more brutal. It released on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, but wasn’t as well received as Sega had hoped.
And now the series lay dormant, like Streets of Rage did before it for several years. That’s why we can’t help but think that DotEmu can give it the comeback it truly deserves. A title like Golden Axe IV (yes, we can call it that) would kick butt, featuring a myriad of warriors ready to step up and put Death Adder in his place. And the with the right mix of visuals and gameplay, DotEmu and LizardCube could easily recreate something magical here.
Not to mention they would pay tribute to one of Sega’s mightiest franchises. There’s no question that the company has shown a lot of love to Golden Axe in its early years, and still cares with its reintroduction of the Revenge of Death Adder game to the home market via the Astro City Mini and Arcade1up. There’s still something there. It’s just a matter of getting the right team to work on it, and considering how well it did with Streets of Rage 4, LizardCube is that team.
C’mon, Sega, give us the return of Golden Axe like we deserve. Especially now – beat-em-ups just can’t be, ahem, beat?