Final Zone: Golden Axe.

Before we start, a few words now that this is the tenth entry in the feature. A new page can be found at the top of the site in the header, where it can be much easier to find past entries on the feature. Follow the page, and click on a picture to go to the desired game.

This is another game that stemmed from first playing it on the ‘MegaGames II‘ collection alongside Streets of Rage.

A game that was released in 1989 on arcades and in Japan, eventually launching in Europe in November of 1990. The gameplay shares many similarities with Streets of Rage, even being rumoured for sharing the game engine due to how similar they both play. But for Golden Axe the difficulty started high, and peaking at the final boss.

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Note: The incredible controller designs are designed by Kieran McClung, who has kindly given me permission to use them for the site. All previous Final Zone pieces have been updated with the correct controllers as well to reflect the console they were played on.

After fighting through eight rounds, eagles, dragons and chasing squirrels, you finally reach the last point. DeathAdder is the last boss of the game, which includes multiple henchmen at their highest levels after fighting them at beginner level, while trying to connect a hit to DeathAdder.

In all honesty, round 8 feels like a final boss in itself. You’re always trying to save as much health as you can, and timing when the best place to use your magic that you’ve stored up.

You’re constantly fighting against enemies made of stone or iron, and usually the quickest way is to jump in the air, and hit them so they fall off the edge of the many platforms that you will be jumping on to throughout the round.

Eventually when you face DeathAdder, he has the highest hit-points of any other enemy. One hit from his axe and he can take off three health bars in an instant. He also has his own level 4 magic power. You can dodge it with careful precision and timing, but if not, you will be losing many lives. One has multiple explosions that cover the stage, with small chance to doge them, while another has a row of lightening bolts from right to left that are, to my knowledge, unavoidable.

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The trick I had found, after repeating the stage many times, was to double tap the directional buttons so the character would be running constantly, and could then ‘slam’ into the enemies. Once there was time to spare, a quick jump into the air and to hit DeathAdder, then quickly pressing A to empty the magic I had.

When he would also try his magic attacks, which were so fast you could barely have foresight to know they were about to happen, I found the best place to avoid them, albeit on a 50/50 scale, was to be in the top-left or right corners and suddenly jumping.

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At last.

You beat him and the henchmen, and greeted with a credits screen and an overview of all the enemies you faced across the game.

It’s another game where you will keep going back to it, where the fun is in the challenge of each round. You want to collect as much magic as you can, but also to mount the variety of monsters to help aid you in each round.

I even like the fact that once you run out of lives, in the Mega Drive version at least, it’s game over after you run out of continues. There’s no unlimited amount. Of course there’s still cheats to gain nine of them, but where’s the fun in that.

Admittedly I didn’t get the chance to play the other two entries back in the day, mainly because I had a Playstation by 1997 and Tomb Raider, Pandemonium were taking up my interest instead.

But especially for this feature, there’s a good chance they’ll probably appear and see what else DeathAdder attacks me with next time.

You can probably still find it in your attic at your parents’ so you can slot the cartridge back in again and see how it plays on your 50 inch HD television, but you can also buy it on Steam and see you how far you can reach before there’s no more squirrels to help you.

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