Golden Axe

From Sega Retro

For the home computer versions, see Golden Axe (home computers).


GoldenAxe Title.png
Golden Axe
GoldenAxe iOS icon.png
System(s): Sega System 16, Sega Mega Drive, Sega Master System, CD-ROM², WonderSwan Color, PlayStation 3 (PSN), Virtual Console, Xbox Live Arcade, iOS, Windows, Steam, PlayStation Now, Android
Publisher: Sega,
CD-ROM² System/Super CD-ROM² System
Telenet Japan,
Bandai WonderSwan
Genre: Action

Number of players:
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega-CD
Sega Master System
Release Date RRP Code
Arcade (System 16)
¥? ?
Arcade (System 16)
$? ?

CD-ROM² System/Super CD-ROM² System
1990-03 ¥? TJCD0005
Bandai WonderSwan
2002-02-28[2] ¥5,040 with tax SWJ-BANC2B
Sega Mega Drive
¥60006000 G-4018
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
$29.9529.95[4] 1106C
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Mega Drive
Sega Master System
$39.95[8] 9004
Sega Master System
£29.95[9][10] 9004
Sega Master System
329[11]F 9004
Sega Master System
DM ? 9004
Sega Master System
?Ptas 9004
Sega Master System
R$? 028060
Sega Master System
₩? ?

Wii Virtual Console
Wii Virtual Console
Wii Virtual Console
Wii Virtual Console
Wii Virtual Console
Wii Virtual Console
Wii Virtual Console
Google Android OS
Google Android OS

Golden Axe (ゴールデンアックス) is a beat-'em-up developed by Sega and released in 1989 for Sega System 16 arcade hardware. The development team was headded by Makoto Uchida, who also led the team behind Altered Beast.

The game was the first in the long-running Golden Axe series. It is said to be heavily inspired by the Conan the Barbarian films, and that the game took roughly one year to make. The game also "borrows" voice data from said movie and other Hollywood blockbusters.


The game takes place in the fictional land of Yuria, in which an evil entity known as Death Adder has kidnapped Yuria's King and his daughter, holding them captive in his castle. Perhaps more importantly, Death Adder has stolen the "Golden Axe", a magical emblem of Yuria, and is threatening to destroy it if the people of the land do not accept him as their ruler.

It is up to a band of three heroes to venture to Death Adder's castle and stop him, rescuing the captives, avenge their losses and save the land: Ax Battler, Tyris Flare and Gilius Thunderhead.


Golden Axe supports a maximum of two players. Any character can be selected but both players cannot play as the same character.

The Golden Axe arcade cabinet assigns one button for attacking, another for jumping and a final button for using magic. Using magic will cause all of the enemies on screen to be damaged and effectively acts as crowd control. Each player carries a limited supply of magic (indicated by a meter at the top of the screen) and will use it all at once when the magic button is pressed. Some magic can also re-kill already defeated enemies, adding extra score. This bug is only present in the arcade version. More magic can be collected by attacking the short thieves clothed in blue who appear at certain points throughout the game. Green thieves carry life energy, also represented in the HUD.

Golden Axe is also notable for its ability to allow players to ride "beasts", often giving them an offensive advantage at the expense of speed.

Similar to Altered Beast, the ending is less serious and has characters from the game breaking out of the arcade machine and causing havoc in the real world. Most ports replace this ending.

Playable characters

GoldenAxe System16 AxBattler Sprite.png Ax-Battler
Ax Battler is a male barbarian fighting to avenge the murder of his mother. Despite his name he uses a two handed broadsword and carries earth magic. Ax Battler is one of the constants of the series, appearing in most Golden Axe games (including Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe, a game based entirely around him).
GoldenAxe System16 GiliusThunderHead Sprite.png Gilius-Thunderhead
Gilius Thunderhead is a dwarf whose brother was murdered by Death Adder. Gilius is the only character to actually carry an axe, as well as thunder magic.
GoldenAxe System16 TyrisFlare Sprite.png Tyris-Flare
Tyris Flare is an amazonian woman whose parents were killed by Death Adder. She also uses a sword but carries fire magic.


GoldenAxe System16 US Stage1.png Stage 1 - Wilderness
GoldenAxe System16 US Stage2.png Bonus Stage 1
GoldenAxe System16 US Stage3.png Stage 2 - Turtle Village
GoldenAxe System16 US Stage4.png Bonus Stage 2
GoldenAxe System16 US Stage5.png Stage 3
GoldenAxe System16 US Stage6.png Bonus Stage 3
GoldenAxe System16 US Stage7.png Stage 4 - Fiend's Path
GoldenAxe System16 US Stage8.png Bonus Stage 4
GoldenAxe System16 US Stage9.png Stage 5 - Death Adder's Castle
GoldenAxe MD US Stage6.png Stage 6 - The Palace Gates
The Mega Drive version of the game adds three more levels. This is the first, which is part of stage 5 in the arcade version.
GoldenAxe MD US Stage7.png Stage 7 - The Dungeon
Also a Mega Drive exclusive.
GoldenAxe MD US Stage8.png Stage 8 - The Battle with Death Bringer
Also a Mega Drive exclusive.


Main article: Golden Axe/Achievements.


Golden Axe has been ported to a number of systems over the years, though many cuts were made in the process.

The game has enjoyed many years of success on the Sega Mega Drive, and was used in the early days of the console to advertise the system's power over its then-main rival, the Nintendo Entertainment System. Some levels were shortened, but an extra level was added which includes another boss, "Death Bringer", a recolored version of Death Adder. Also in this version is a "duel" mode, which allows players to fight a succession of enemies one-on-one, 12 rounds. "Beginner" is another new mode, allowing you to play the first three stages with easier enemies. A single use of magic takes away only two magic pots and you fight "Death Adder Jr" as the last boss.

This game saw a software revision. The original release had a graphical bug after defeating the final boss: his axe, while spinning around in the air, displays as garbage graphic data. Much of the text was also slightly rewritten to make more grammatical sense.[34]

The Mega Drive version of the game has been included in numerous compilations, such as 6-Pak, Mega Games 2, Mega Games 6 and Mega Games 10. The game has also been emulated and sold in the form of Sega Smash Pack Volume 1, Sega Smash Pack, Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection, Sega Archives from USA Vol. 1 and Sega Mega Drive Classic Collection Volume 1, as well as services such as PlaySega and built-in to numerous consoles by AtGames.

This version was so popular that it got direct sequels in the form of Golden Axe II and Golden Axe III. In the arcades, the "true" sequel is Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder. A Sega Mega-Tech version also exists, which is based on the Mega Drive version, as is the version released for the Wii's Virtual Console service.

The Mega Drive Golden Axe was enhanced for the Sega Mega-CD and delivered as part of Sega Classics Arcade Collection. This version is single-player only, although offers numerous improvements in terms of audio and some graphical tweaks.

The Sega Master System version is also one-player only, forcing you to play as Ax Battler (named "Tarik" in this version and presented as a different character story-wise). You can still select one of the magic elements that each of the three original characters had.

There is also a NEC PC Engine CD port which takes a big hit in terms of aesthetics, has very poor sound effects and is only single-player. It was also ported to the WonderSwan Color and as part of Sega Smash Pack for the Game Boy Advance.

Golden Axe was also remade as part of Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol. 5: Golden Axe, and has been brought to Xbox 360 XBLA, Wii Virtual Console, PlayStation 3 PSN, and is available for iOS and other mobile devices. The iOS version was removed from sale on iTunes in 2015.[35]

In August 2017, the game was added to the Sega Forever collection, bringing it back to iOS and adding a new Android version.[36] Both versions are the Mega Drive game running on emulators.

Version history

Main article: Golden Axe/Changelog.
System Version Size Date Comment Ref Icon
0000050000010000000000000000005.1.0 175MB 201710092017-10-09 [37][38]
0000050000000000020000000000005.0.2 179MB 201709062017-09-06 [39][40]
0000050000000000010000000000005.0.1 181MB 201708292017-08-29 Sega Forever [41][42]
0000040000000000000000000000004.0 4.8MB 201211292012-11-29 iOS 6 Support. [43]
0000030000000000000000000000003.0 4MB 201107022011-07-02 [44]
0000020000000000000000000000002.0.0 4MB 201012032010-12-03 [45]
0000010000020000070000000000001.2.7 3.9MB 201007302010-07-30 [46]
0000010000000000010000000000001.0.1 2.1MB 200907032009-07-03 [47]
Google Android OS
0000010000020000000000000000001.2.0 48MB 201710092017-10-09 [48] Download.svg (47.65 MB) i
Google Android OS
0000010000010000010000000000001.1.1 48MB 201709262017-09-26 [48] Download.svg (47.67 MB) i
Google Android OS
0000010000010000000000000000001.1.0 48MB 201709062017-09-06 [48] Download.svg (47.52 MB) i
Google Android OS
0000010000000000000000000000001.0.0 48MB 201708312017-08-31 Sega Forever [48] Download.svg (48.39 MB) i

Production credits

Arcade version

Mega Drive version

Source: In-game credits

Digital manuals

Magazine articles

Main article: Golden Axe/Magazine articles.

Promotional material

Golden Axe Arcade US Flyer.jpg

System 16 US flyer

Golden Axe Arcade JP Flyer.jpg

System 16 JP flyer


WonderSwan Color print advert in Dorimaga (JP) #2002-04: "2002-04 (2002-03-08)" (2002-02-22)

Mega Drive version

Mega Drive UK TV advert
AU TV advert


Print advert in GamePro (US) #6: "January 1990" (19xx-xx-xx)


Print advert in GamePro (US) #10: "May 1990" (1990-xx-xx)


Print advert in ACE (UK) #37: "October 1990" (1990-09-xx)
also published in:


Print advert in Computer & Video Games (UK) #111: "February 1991" (1991-01-16)

Master System version


Print advert in Computer & Video Games (UK) #100: "March 1990" (1990-02-16)
also published in:
  • ACE (UK) #30: "March 1990" (1990-02-01)[51]
  • ACE (UK) #31: "April 1990" (1990-03-xx)[52]


Print advert in Computer & Video Games (UK) #101: "April 1990" (1990-03-16)
also published in:
  • ACE (UK) #32: "May 1990" (1990-04-xx)[53]


Print advert in Computer & Video Games (UK) #102: "May 1990" (1990-04-16)


Print advert in Computer & Video Games (UK) #103: "June 1990" (1990-05-16)
also published in:
  • ACE (UK) #33: "June 1990" (1990-05-xx)[54]


Print advert in Sega Visions (US) #2: "October/November 1990" (1990-xx-xx)
also published in:


Print advert in Computer & Video Games (UK) #113: "April 1991" (1991-03-16)
also published in:


Print advert in Sega Visions (US) #4: "April/May 1991" (1991-xx-xx)
also published in:


Physical scans

System 16 version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
80 №93, p89[59]
89 №69, p96/97
81 №44, p74[60]
Based on
3 reviews

System 16, US
GoldenAxe System16 US Marquee.jpg
GoldenAxe System16 US Manual.pdf
System 16, JP
Goldenaxe instructions.jpg

Mega Drive version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
75 №1990-03, p77[61]
68 №1990-02, p68[62]
77 №, p83[63]
96 №2, p100/101
94 №4, p30[64]
95 №101, p98/99[65]
78 №91, [1]
92 №28, p30/31[66]
91 №5, p58[67]
86 №3, p78[68]
85 №1, p64
94 №1, p78[69]
91 №1, p42-44[70]
93 №3, p38/39[71]
76 №4/90, p120[72]
92 №3, p62/63[73]
82 №13, p20/21[74]
80 №23, p53
91 №3, p41[75]
72 №18, p65
94 №6, p74
Sega Mega Drive
Based on
23 reviews

Mega Drive, US
GoldenAxe md us cover.jpg
GoldenAxe md us cart.jpg
GoldenAxe MD US Manual.pdf
Mega Drive, US (Sega Classic)
Goldenaxe md us classic cover.jpg
GoldenAxe md us cart.jpg
Mega Drive, EU
GoldenAxe md eu cover.jpg
Mega Drive, JP
GoldenAxe md jp cover.jpg
GoldenAxe MD JP CartTop.jpg
Goldenaxe md jp cart.jpg
Goldenaxe md jp manual.pdf
Mega Drive, AU
GoldenAxe MD AU cover.jpg
Golden Axe Megadrive AU Manual.pdf
Mega Drive, BR
GoldenAxe MD BR Box.jpg
GoldenAxe MD BR Cart.jpg
Goldenaxe md br manual.pdf
Mega Drive, KR
GoldenAxe MD KR Box small.jpg
Mega Drive, KR (re-release)
GoldenAxe MD KR Box.jpg
GoldenAxe MD KR carttop.jpg
GoldenAxe MD KR cartback.jpgGoldenAxe MD KR cart.jpg
Mega Drive, CA
GoldenAxe MD CA Box.jpg

Master System version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
89 №33, p63[9]
92 №2, p28/29
92 №4, p98[76]
92 №1, p57[77]
89 №100, p90/91[78]
80 №32, p51[79]
90 №4, p40[80]
80 №2/25
92 №1, p133[81]
85 №1, p46/47[82]
88 №4
75 №16, p44
80 №23, p57
76 №25, p40
81 №3, p19[83]
74 №13, p24-25
85 №6, p75
Sega Master System
Based on
18 reviews

Master System, US
Golden Axe SMS US Box.jpg
Goldenaxe sms us manual.pdf
Master System, EU
Golden Axe SMS EU Box.jpg
Golden Axe SMS EU Manual.pdf
Master System, AU

GoldenAxe SMS AU Cart.jpg
Master System, BR (cardboard)
Golden Axe SMS BR Cardboard Box.jpg
Golden Axe SMS BR Cardboard Cart.jpg
GoldenAxe SMS BR Manual.pdf
Master System, BR
Golden Axe SMS BR Box.jpg
GoldenAxe SMS BR Cart.jpg
Master System, KR

Goldenaxe SMS kr cart.jpg

CD-ROM² version

Sega Retro Average 
Publication Score Source
75 №30, p75[84]
65 №6, p92[85]
CD-ROM² System/Super CD-ROM² System
Based on
2 reviews

GoldenAxe CDROM2 JP Box Back.jpgGoldenAxe CDROM2 JP Box Front.jpg
GoldenAxe CDROM2 JP Spinecard.jpg
Golden Axe PCE CD-ROM2 JP CD.png
Golden Axe PCE CD-ROM2 JP Manual.PDF

WonderSwan version

WonderSwan, JP
Golden Axe Wonderswan JP Top.png
GoldenAxe WSC JP Box Back.jpgGolden Axe Wonderswan JP Spine.jpgGoldenAxe WSC JP Box Front.jpgGolden Axe Wonderswan JP Spine2.jpg
Golden Axe Wonderswan JP Bottom.png
Golden Axe Wonderswan JP Card Back.jpgGoldenAxe WSC JP Cart.jpg
Golden Axe Wonderswan JP Manual.pdf

Mega-Tech version


GoldenAxe MT Cart.jpg

Technical information

ROM dump status

System Hash Size Build Date Source Comments
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 665d7df9
MD5 e4263c39487f0b55e8f33cbd5acd9b93
SHA-1 2ce17105ca916fbbe3ac9ae3a2086e66b07996dd
512kB 1989-10 Cartridge v01
Sega Mega Drive
CRC32 e8182b90
MD5 04d2c7da9aac3fbeadf6bb8ccd27b560
SHA-1 564e51f6b7fe5281f281d5fcb66767ab83ecf7b9
512kB 1989-10 Cartridge v00
Sega Master System
CRC32 C08132FB
MD5 B4911AD6A9D2BA56497CD5B01DA3938A
SHA-1 D92538CB16A7A456255FA0DA2BD8D0F588CD12AB
512kB Cartridge (EU/US)

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 (Wayback Machine: 2009-06-23 06:09)
  2. (Wayback Machine: 2003-10-06 12:24)
  3. File:VG&CE US 11.pdf, page 105
  4. File:SegaVisions US 09.pdf, page 20
  5. File:Raze UK 03.pdf, page 63
  6. File:ACE UK 37.pdf, page 51
  7. File:PlayerOne FR 003.pdf, page 39
  8. File:VG&CE US 18.pdf, page 50
  9. 9.0 9.1 File:ACE UK 33.pdf, page 63
  10. File:CVG UK 100.pdf, page 56
  11. File:PlayerOne FR 001.pdf, page 47
  12. 12.0 12.1 (Wayback Machine: 2017-07-05 10:46)
  13. 13.0 13.1 (Wayback Machine: 2010-11-22 22:51)
  14. (Wayback Machine: 2017-11-23 05:03)
  15. (Wayback Machine: 2007-02-09 19:25)
  16. (Wayback Machine: 2018-03-05 23:33)
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 (Wayback Machine: 2017-09-05 01:59)
  18. (Wayback Machine: 2011-02-09 12:25)
  19. 19.0 19.1 19.2 Xbox LIVE Marketplace (de-DE; Golden-Axe/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d80258410862) (Wayback Machine: 2011-02-10 05:18)
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 Xbox LIVE Marketplace (en-US; Golden-Axe/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d80258410862) (Wayback Machine: 2010-10-24 19:48)
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Xbox LIVE Marketplace (en-GB; Golden-Axe/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d80258410862) (Wayback Machine: 2011-03-20 03:47)
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Xbox LIVE Marketplace (en-AU; Golden-Axe/66acd000-77fe-1000-9115-d80258410862) (Wayback Machine: 2011-04-17 03:21)
  23. 23.0 23.1
  24. 24.0 24.1 (Wayback Machine: 2010-02-21 11:10)
  25. 25.0 25.1 25.2 25.3 (Wayback Machine: 2017-05-22 19:56)
  26. 26.0 26.1 26.2 26.3 (Wayback Machine: 2013-05-22 21:20)
  27. 27.0 27.1 PlayStation Store (fr-fr; EP0177-NPEB00509_00-SVCGOLDENAXE16XX) (Wayback Machine: 2018-03-30 15:42)
  28. 28.0 28.1 PlayStation Store (en-gb; EP0177-NPEB00509_00-SVCGOLDENAXE16XX) (Wayback Machine: 2018-03-30 15:39)
  29. 29.0 29.1 PlayStation Store (en-us; UP0177-NPUB30441_00-SVCGOLDENAXE16XX) (Wayback Machine: 2018-03-30 15:38)
  30. 30.0 30.1 (Wayback Machine: 2012-09-27 04:39)
  31. 31.0 31.1 PlayStation Store (ko-kr; UP0177-NPHB00380_00-GOLDENAXEFULLGAM) (Wayback Machine: 2018-03-30 15:42)
  32. 32.0 32.1 PlayStation Store (en-au; EP0177-NPEB00509_00-SVCGOLDENAXE16XX) (Wayback Machine: 2018-03-30 15:41)
  33. 33.0 33.1 (Wayback Machine: 2017-09-02 19:59)
  36. (Wayback Machine: 2018-05-18 21:03)
  37. (Wayback Machine: 2017-10-29 02:17)
  38. (Wayback Machine: 2017-10-29 02:16)
  39. (Wayback Machine: 2017-09-06 22:37)
  40. (Wayback Machine: 2017-09-06 22:36)
  41. (Wayback Machine: 2017-09-02 20:04)
  42. (Wayback Machine: 2017-09-02 07:50)
  43. (Wayback Machine: 2014-08-03 03:48)
  44. (Wayback Machine: 2011-12-25 08:28)
  45. (Wayback Machine: 2011-04-16 00:32)
  46. (Wayback Machine: 2010-09-06 04:43)
  47. (Wayback Machine: 2010-06-28 06:43)
  48. 48.0 48.1 48.2 48.3
  49. File:SSM UK 22.pdf, page 22
  50. Computer & Video Games, "October 1990" (UK; 1990-09-16), page 122
  51. ACE, "March 1990" (UK; 1990-02-01), page 70
  52. ACE, "April 1990" (UK; 1990-03-xx), page 64
  53. ACE, "May 1990" (UK; 1990-04-xx), page 12
  54. ACE, "June 1990" (UK; 1990-05-xx), page 28
  55. GamePro, "January 1991" (US; 199x-xx-xx), page 44
  56. Computer & Video Games, "May 1991" (UK; 1991-04-14), page 33
  57. Sega Visions, "Summer 1991" (US; 1991-xx-xx), page 10
  58. Electronic Gaming Monthly, "October 1991" (US; 1991-xx-xx), page 142
  59. File:CVG UK 093.pdf, page 89
  60. File:YourSinclair UK 44.pdf, page 74
  61. File:ASM DE 1990-03.pdf, page 77
  62. File:BeepMD_JP_1990-02.pdf, page 70
  63. File:SSM_JP_19950901_1995-09.pdf, page 85
  64. File:CGtC UK 04.pdf, page 30
  65. File:CVG UK 101.pdf, page 98
  66. File:TGM UK 28.pdf, page 30
  67. File:Joystick FR 005.pdf, page 58
  68. File:MDAG UK 03.pdf, page 78
  69. File:MegaTech UK 01.pdf, page 78
  70. File:MeanMachines UK 01.pdf, page 42
  71. File:PlayerOne FR 003.pdf, page 38
  72. File:PowerPlay DE 025.pdf, page 120
  73. File:Raze UK 03.pdf, page 62
  74. File:SegaPower UK 13.pdf, page 20
  75. File:SegaPro UK 03.pdf, page 41
  76. File:CGtC UK 04.pdf, page 98
  77. File:TheCompleteGuideToSega UK.pdf, page 57
  78. File:CVG UK 100.pdf, page 90
  79. File:TGM UK 32.pdf, page 51
  80. File:Joystick FR 004.pdf, page 40
  81. File:MeanMachinesSega01UK.pdf, page 133
  82. File:PlayerOne FR 001.pdf, page 46
  83. File:SegaPro UK 03.pdf, page 19
  84. File:Generation4 FR 022.pdf, page 75
  85. File:Joystick FR 006.pdf, page 88
NEC Retro has more information related to Golden Axe.

Golden Axe
GoldenAxe Title.png

Main page | Comparisons | Maps | Achievements | Changelog | Hidden content | Magazine articles | Reception | Promotional material | Region coding

Books: Golden Axe (1992)
Prereleases: 1989-10-14 | 1989-11-22

Golden Axe series of games
Golden Axe (1989) | Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder (1992) | Golden Axe: The Duel (1994) | Golden Axe (slot machine) (2010)
Sega Mega Drive
Golden Axe (1989) | Golden Axe II (1991) | Golden Axe III (1993)
Sega Master System
Golden Axe (1989) | Golden Axe Warrior (1991)
Windows PC
Golden Axe (1990)
LCD handheld game
Electronic Golden Axe (1990)
Sega Game Gear
Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe (1991)
Sega Saturn
Golden Axe: The Duel (1995)
Sony PlayStation 2
Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol. 5: Golden Axe (2003)
Xbox 360
Sony PlayStation 3
Golden Axe: Beast Rider (2008)
Google Android OS
Golden Axe (2009) | Golden Axe (2017)
Xbox Live Arcade
Sega Vintage Collection: Golden Axe (2012)
Golden Axe related media
Golden Axe The Music (2008) | Golden Axe I & II (2016)
Tatsujin & Golden Axe Attack Manual Book (1990) | Golden Axe (1992) | Golden Axe: Beast Rider Official Strategy Guide (2008) | The Art of Golden Axe: Beast Rider (2008)