Sega - Golden Axe on iPhone 4S

Taken from my iPhone 4S- imagine your thumbs hovering over the buttons and blocking three of the four enemies on the screen.

Poking around the iTunes Store can be tedious due to its sheer size- however, a growing number of retro games are being ported into Apple apps, and it would be a shame for any them to go overlooked. From ‘Beneath a Steel Sky’ to ‘Archon’ to ‘Zork’- I’m going to take a systematic look at some titles that are sure to help fight the, ‘LAX to JFK flight’ Blues .

The first game I’ve had a chance to spend some time with is Golden Axe, one of a number of iPhone ports by Sega. If you never played Golden Axe, then you’re missing out. It’s regarded as one of the best 3 dimensional side-scrollers ever created. The game play is simple enough. Pick your character: Warrior, Amazon or Dwarf. Hack and slash your way enemies. Collect potions from little gnomes. Use potions to cast spells. Avoid falling in pits. Try to reach and defeat end boss ‘Death Adder’.

Golden Axe is wildly addictive- even by today’s standards, it still holds it’s own. On the 4S, the game play is ultra-smooth and the fx/music very crisp- even when played via the phone’s speaker. The game feels more like playing the cabinet-arcade version of Golden Axe than the home version of the game released on the Sega Genesis.

The ‘touch-only’ nature of Apple products makes for some interesting controls. While most are successful in creating a non-interfering touch interface, I am finding some exceptions. Golden Axe happens to be one of them- (along with the other Sega ports). In short, the three large buttons and D-pad occupy too much valuable screen real-estate. Their odd corner position results in an inevitable bit of ‘fat fingering’.

Even with slightly compromised control, it’s still Golden Axe- and it’s in your pocket- always. For me, that’s totally worth the $0.99 it costs to install.