Golden Axe III Game Review: A Worthy Addition to the Legendary Franchise

Golden Axe III, the final installment in the iconic Golden Axe series, continues the legacy of its predecessors with thrilling action, fantasy elements, and cooperative gameplay.

Developed by Sega, this beat ’em up game for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive brings new adventures, characters, and challenges to fans of the franchise. Join us as we delve into the world of Golden Axe III and explore its strengths, weaknesses, and overall gameplay experience.

Play Golden Axe III online

Instead of a long preface – Golden Axe is a game in the Beat them Up genre. You will need an emulator to play, the most popular being Gens version 2.14 and version 2.00. Links to all variations of the game at the bottom of the description.

In general, you have as one of 4 characters (5 in the modified version) to go through a non-linear series of levels, kill a lot of enemies with swords and magic and get to, in fact, the Golden Axe. The non-linearity is given by different forks in levels, which lead to different paths and in one passing of the game you can visit a maximum of 7 of 12 locations.

Golden Axe III Game Review

The game also has an additional mode – a kind of fighting game against each other or against the computer. Choose 1 of 5 characters, 1 of 4 arenas and fight until at least 1 of you dies a brave death!

Choice of Character

Choice of Character

Each character is more than just a division in visual appearance and move speed and strength, some moves work uniquely for each, some are more difficult to perform on someone specifically. Nevertheless:

  • Panther – maximum speed, minimum damage.
  • Girl – very fast, pretty strong.
  • Man – slow, powerful, large attack radius.
  • Ambal – Extremely slow, extremely deadly.
  • Sphinx – Something in between Ambal and Man.

Techniques

When pressed repeatedly, the combo is most often a maximum of 3 hits

B – Normal Attack. When pressed repeatedly, the combo is most often a maximum of 3 hits. Here we should distinguish 2 different types of triggering a normal attack:

At medium range – the hit goes as usual, the finishing blow (the third one) happens a little slower, especially it’s noticeable in Man and Ambal. Tip: instead of pressing BBB – against fast attacking enemies use BB>B – the finishing blow will be different and very fast, not giving time to counterattack or block. Note – after 3 strikes you can finish off another enemy by pressing >B towards him for 1.5 sec after finishing combo.

At close range but not close in – the series of hits has a different animation and sounds like the rattle of bones or objects. The damage is exactly the same as for the middle distance combo. But if you press BB>B instead of BBB, the character will finish the series with a throw, in case of Panther or a Girl – he’ll hit the enemy on the ground, Ambal and Man – he’ll pick up the enemy and throw him forward. Such a throw at the end removes more hep. Note – after 3 hits you can grab another enemy by pressing >B in his direction for 1.5 sec after completing the combo.

Close up – there will be a grab. After capturing an enemy you can spam the BBB to score 3 hits that take away a small amount of HP. If you press >B or <B – instead of hitting in the grab, you’ll get a roll that takes away 3 times more HP than the hit. You can get the most out of it if you hit with BB>B – punch-punch-throw.

Important note – you can use B+C for Ambal and Sphinx in a grapple to make more powerful ground rolls.

Basic moves

Characters’ xp reserve = 51, this limit is increased by 8 (up to a maximum of 75) when picking up a heart. Base poke damage: Man – 3, Girl – 2.5, Panther – 2, Ambal – 4. Sphinx – 3.

<B – Block. While you’re standing in the defense – any next enemy hit will be blocked, even if you were shot in the fire, but only 1, then for further blocks you need to repeat the press. You can still be hit from behind while standing in a block. Blocks also protect you from grabs.

Blocks also protect you from grabs

\/B – footstep. A quick strike of varying speeds and ranges for different characters. Inflicts minimal damage. 50% of a normal attack. Always triggers a knockdown, so you can quickly end the combo with a step to switch to the enemy behind.

A quick strike of varying speeds and ranges for different characters

B+C – Surround Blow. If you are surrounded by enemies or if the enemy has the habit of jumping on you, you can end them with this move. deals the same amount of damage as a general attack.

B+C - Surround Blow

B+C is a powerful hit that deals 15 damage (which is a lot). I can’t be sure how fast it can be used, so I have to say that for everyone except the girl, I recommend using it just for fun and not more, due to the low speed of the attacks. In the case of Devki, the blow is applied reactively and in fact this cheat can be spammed left and right, destroying enemies in the trash with this fast and superpowerful gimmick.

B+C is a powerful hit that deals 15 damage

> > press the second press – run.
> > B – a classy runaway kick, causing knockdown. deals 2x normal damage from the attack.

> < > B+C – in Maiden and Panther – a special move. Maiden throws her sword like a boomerang at medium range, dealing 10 damage to the first enemy hit. Can also be performed from a block by pressing > B+C. Panther jumps a good half of the screen sideways, dealing 12 damage with a normal attack to all enemies in her path, and this is her most advantageous move.

Scroll or press counterclockwise 2 times and press B+C – Ambal and Man – special move. The Muzhik swings fire down the line to the end of the screen, dealing 250% normal attack damage to the first enemy on the path. The Ambal releases three wedge whirlwinds that deal 8 damage each (but no more than 22 damage per enemy) to the first enemies they hit.

Scroll or press counterclockwise 2 times and press B+C

Because of its complexity and ridiculous damage compared to the Panther, it’s worth using it only for the sake of show off and nothing more.

Jumps

C-jump. The flexible Panther and Girl can be in the air press once more C to jump in the air (!) and fly even higher. Attack damage from normal and double jump is the same and is 150% of the normal attack. Note – on territories with walls you can jump on the wall and make a second jump from the wall to the side, inflicting 200% damage of the usual attack.

B - normal attack from the jump, 2x damage to normal attack

In the jump:
B – normal attack from the jump, 2x damage to normal attack. Ambal – a very long and long-range attack, dealing 15 damage (3.75x the poke damage) to a normal attack.

\/B – Panther and Man – a fast attack that deals 1.5 times as much damage as an air strike. The Girl has two quick kicks instead of one sword strike, both of which deal normal damage (for a punch in the air, not a regular poke). Ambal has a weaker than normal jump shot, but it’s done quickly and it doesn’t fly across the screen.

> >C followed by B – jump on the run-up and hit from it. The jump in the run-up has more range, and the hit from such a jump deals 3x normal attack damage.

B - jump on the run-up and hit from it

Difficulty level?

Affects only the number of enemies in the game, they become 20-25% more and another 20-25% more if you play together. More enemies means more chances to accumulate enough points for the final mission.

Animals

  • To get on the dinosaur go to it and press B.
  • To get off the animal, press B+C.
  • The specific attack of this animal type is available to you – B(8 damage) and ramming – >B (10 damage).
  • After the player got down or fell from the dinosaur 3 times – he runs away. Also if no one sat on him within 5 seconds after he was unsaddled, he also runs away.

Reinforcements

  • Apple – Restores health for about 5 regular attacks.
  • Meat – restores xp for about 9 regular attacks.
  • Heart – restores all hep and increases max hep by 15%, max by 45%.
  • Note – magic potions (elixirs) can be obtained not only from dwarves. Explore the location and press B in the nooks and crannies to find hidden items.
  • Note – the munching, pardon eating, spearmen are a source of meat. don’t sneak a moment and scare them away. Use magic or a spear-jump to dramatically knock the coveted chicken out of him.

Magic

  • Collecting elixirs you will use more powerful magic depending on whether you have enough of them.
    1 vial is 6 damage, 3 is 16 damage. 6 is 32 damage.
  • If the two of you play together and have at least 10 elixirs in total, you can cast a particularly powerful collective spell. Stand facing each other and wait for the characters to nod at each other, and then without moving to the side, anyone can press A.
  • The damage of joint magic is 56 damage.
  • All characters have the same magic damage, contrary to popular belief (like the aunt has more power, because there is a dragon, etc.).

Combined moves

  • Stand facing each other and wait for the characters to nod and then without moving aside anyone can press B. Characters will perform a joint hold that deals approximately 700% damage to a normal attack. The points for the kill go to the one who pressed.
  • Man and Girl – The man throws the girl forward.
  • Ambal and Man – The Ambal throws the Man forward.
  • Panther and Girly – High flying in different directions, damaging the enemy in the jump and on the ground, small radius.
  • Man and Panther – The man spins the panther around himself, each time scattering all enemies hit from all sides. The most effective combination.
  • Ambal and Girl – The girl flips the Ambal like Sonia Blade, dealing damage to enemies standing on the ground behind her.
  • Panther and Ambal – The Ambal throws the panther over his shoulder backwards.

Hostages

Tied, bound civilians can be freed, giving you a kind of point – a Venus mirror under the life bar. 5 mirrors will give you an extra life.
If a hostage is guarded by an enemy – the one who kills this enemy will be considered the liberator of the hostage.
If the hostage is tied to a pole for example – the one who comes to him and presses B will release him.
The maximum number of hostages you can free in the game is 13, this is 2 extra lives.

Quite a bit about scoring

In general – if you kill several enemies at once (with magic, a scattering blow, picking them up) – you get a lot more points.
And another thing – try not to die. At all. Each death drastically reduces your score.

What does this affect?

If when you get to the castle you have less than 500 points in total – you won’t be allowed into the final battle.
At the end of the game you can proudly contemplate your rank – F D E C B A. If I am not mistaken the A-rank starts with 500 points, the AA-rank with a thousand and AAA-rank with 2 thousand.
If I’m wrong – AA 1000, AA 1500, AAA 2000.

Summary
Overall, Golden Axe III receives a solid score of 8.1/10. It excels in gameplay with its expanded adventure, refined combat mechanics, and cooperative gameplay. The graphics are visually appealing with detailed sprites and vibrant environments. The sound design enhances the overall experience, capturing the essence of the fantasy world. While the replay value is slightly limited, the game still offers multiple playable characters and cooperative multiplayer. Golden Axe III upholds the legacy of the franchise, making it a worthy addition to the Golden Axe series and a beloved title among retro gaming enthusiasts.
Good
  • Expanded Adventure
  • Diverse Playable Characters
  • Cooperative Multiplayer
  • Refined Combat Mechanics
  • Visual Appeal
Bad
  • Limited Replay Value
  • Difficulty Spikes
  • Length
8.1
Great
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