Golden Axe: Beast Rider Review
Xbox 360 | PS3
Golden Axe: Beast Rider box art
System: X360, PS3 Review Rating Legend
Dev: Secret Level 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: SEGA 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Oct. 14, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Mature 3.5 - 3.9 = Good

Given that we haven't seen a Golden Axe game since Golden Axe: The Duel (for the SEGA Saturn), there's been plenty of time for the graphical wheel to move forward and the developer, Secret Level, has painted a respectable base coat – the character models are detailed and weather effects, like rainfall and sweeping sand, lend to a sense of immersion.

Golden Axe: Beast Rider screenshot

The problem comes when you stare too long: there are constant screen tearing and randomly dropped frames. The soundtrack is heavily comprised of jungle beats that one would think match the on-screen action, but are really more of a sonic thud – coming off as uninspired. In a surprise twist, the voice acting – which is kept to a minimum – is decent and the in-game cutscenes move the negligible story along at a fine pace.

The main single-player component will take most gamers a few hours to beat, which is actually a problem. Since the gameplay is so repetitive, you want it to be over sooner so you at least have the accomplishment of beating the game – not to sink hours into an experience only to never see it evolve.

Secret Level included two modes to try and rope players back into play: Challenge Mode and Trials of Tyris. The first has you replaying all the single-player levels, trying to get more gold and a better grade. Trials of Tyris presents a series of battle arenas, fills them with enemies, and sees how long you can last. These two modes are really unwanted, as they rehash bits of the redundant single-player.

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Golden Axe is best remembered as what it was – a 16-bit sidescrolling hack-and-slash meant for two players to plow through in under an hour – not a multi-hour gore fest with an Amazonian woman riding around on asinine creatures. If you must get a Golden Axe fix ,don't pay the premium price tag for Beast Rider – get the original from Xbox LIVE Arcade or the Wii's Virtual Console.

By Jason Lauritzen
CCC Freelance Writer

RATING OUT OF 5
RATING DESCRIPTION
3.0
Graphics
There are some slick- looking character models on display, and the painted tiles in-between levels are nice. The in-game engine stumbles often, resulting in constant screen tearing and dropped frames.
2.5
Control
The beast controls are way too stiff, and while the evade and counter system is neat in theory, it becomes tedious far too quickly.
3.0
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
The amount of in-game dialog is small, but delivered surprisingly well. The backing tracks – made up primarily of thundering jungle beats – come off as generic.
1.5
Play Value
It's a hack-and-slash, so there isn't any compelling depth lurking under the surface. The extra modes – Challenge and Trials of Tyris – are just extended hack and slash sessions. Where's the two-player support?
2.4
Overall Rating - Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Beast riding and combat: Command an array of deadly and magical beasts as you cut down your enemies.
  • Brutal melee action: Wield sword and axe as you unleash barbaric killing moves and dismembering attacks.
  • Spells and magic weapons: Upgrade your weaponry and unlock powerful element-based spells and magic.
  • Harsh and desolate landscapes: Explore and survive a ravaged and ancient world composed of distinct-looking destructible environments.
  • Classic Golden Axe legacy: Play as the young warrior Tyris Flare in a magical world of beasts, encounter familiar friends and enemies, and collect power-ups from the pesky gnomes in this re-imagined SEGA classic.


  • Screenshots / Images
    Golden Axe: Beast Rider screenshot - click to enlarge Golden Axe: Beast Rider screenshot - click to enlarge Golden Axe: Beast Rider screenshot - click to enlarge Golden Axe: Beast Rider screenshot - click to enlarge Golden Axe: Beast Rider screenshot - click to enlarge Golden Axe: Beast Rider screenshot - click to enlarge Golden Axe: Beast Rider screenshot - click to enlarge Golden Axe: Beast Rider screenshot - click to enlarge Golden Axe: Beast Rider screenshot - click to enlarge Golden Axe: Beast Rider screenshot - click to enlarge Golden Axe: Beast Rider screenshot - click to enlarge Golden Axe: Beast Rider screenshot - click to enlarge

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