Retro Game of the Day! Golden Axe
Golden Axe by Sega for Genesis (and several other platforms), first appearing in arcades in 1989 and drifting over to consoles in the next couple of years afterward.
Let's get this out of the way immediately - for convenience, you may just want to revisit the earlier review of Alien Storm and just replace all instances of "aliens" and "technology"with "barbarians" and "medieval." The two games bear more than a passing resemblance to one another. This is essentially another in a long line of beat-'em-ups popularized by earlier games such as Double Dragon.
At the outset, the game gives you the choice of three warriors to pick from, each looking like they've stepped off the canvas of a Frazetta painting - Ax Battler, the muscle-bound brute; Tyris Flare, the Amazonian Valkyrie - and Gilius Thunderhead, "the little Nordic Guy." Each play very similarly, though each has a different weapon range and potential magic ability (pick up MP along the way and unleash a "super bomb" depending on your level.)
The game is pretty basic otherwise - walk to the right, kill everything that moves (or die by their hands!) Kill a group of foes to advance to the next segment, and of course there is a boss to contend with at each level's conclusion.
The other catch here is that you can mount different creatures for increased tactical advantage, to the tune of fireball-blasting or tail-whipping. Be careful, as your enemies can mount the same creatures and make short work of you just the same!
Overall, Golden Axe is a fun romp which has not aged terribly wonderfully, though it is still fun to fire up these types of games once in awhile to let off some steam. When the game released it was praised for its graphics and control, and the world it presents is compelling if predictable. Golden Axe is one of those games which was a big hit upon release and still continues to coast on the memories that original popularity even today.