Golden Axe Warrior is, like Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe, a spin-off of the original Golden Axe series. Unlike previous Golden Axe titles, which were side-scrolling fighters, this one permitted the player to play a warrior character (named by the player) to explore an open world, enter dungeons, buy supplies, and talk with NPC's, quite similar to the Zelda series. It features several common names and characters, but in a re-imagine setting.
The game received mixed reviews, and is considered by many, even those who enjoyed it, to be a Zelda clone.
The game opens with a backstory on an ancient war fought between giants and the power of the elders. The war ended thanks to a warrior who succeeded with the Golden Axe, "a gift from Thor's spirit of thunder." Years later found the kingdom of Firewood living in peace, ruled by a royal family who utilized the power of nine magical crystals to preserve peace. Knowing he can't conquer Firewood, the evil Death Adder conquers nearby Nendoria and Altorulia, hoping one day to conquer Firewood and avenge the giants' cause. Eventually, one of the Firewood king's greedier ministers sells the crystals to Death Adder (although the game later claims "Death Adder attacked and stole the nine crystals"). Death Adder promptly invades Firewood with his monsters and conquers it, killing the King of Firewood and Princess Tyris.
The hero, whose parents were killed by Death Adder, sets out to reclaim the nine crystals and destroy Death Adder. In order to obtain the nine crystals, the hero must enter nine different labyrinths, each one filled with Death Adder's monsters. Along the way, the hero encounters Battler and other personalities. Over time, the player discovers that Princess Tyris is still alive, and the hero is, in fact, the long lost descendant of the King of Altorulia. The hero goes on to obtain the Golden Axe and eventually defeat Death Adder at his palace under the sea.
After the fall of Death Adder, Firewood, Nendoria, and Altorulia celebrate the return of peace, and unite their lands under Princess Tyris. The Golden Axe is returned to a place beyond the grasp of mortals, and will return only "when evil rises once more to challenge peace and happiness." The people of the land rest assured that "if the evil ever returns, so shall the Golden Axe Warrior."
Release and Reception Edit
Golden Axe Warrior was released for the Sega Master System in 1991. Today the game is considered very rare, although it is an unlockable game in Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Many sources gave the game favorable reviews. GamePro rated it 5/5 and called it "a great game." Joystick and Player One gave it 88%, while Video Games gave it 81%. RPGFan gave it 94% and claimed it "blows Zelda 1 away in every way." Defunct Games gave it an A- rating, admitting its similarities to Zelda but likewise saying "it's actually pretty good."
Other sources gave it less than favorable reviews. Sega Pro gave it 67%, while Computer and Video Games gave it 42% and called it an "incredibly dull RPG." Mean Machines gave it 40%, calling it "boring" and "tedious." IGN mentioned it in "A History of Gaming's Most Shameless Rip-Offs", citing the blatant similarities with Zelda.