RPO Replay: Golden Axe

The Ready Player One Replay is an exploration of the games that inspired the novel Ready Player One by Ernest Cline.


Aech and I had wasted countless hours on two-player classics like Contra, Golden Axe, Heavy Barrel, Smash TV, and Ikari Warriors.

Game Play

Golden Axe is a side-scrolling hack’n’slash game in which players choose one of three fantasy characters (male dwarven fighter, male human barbarian, female human amazon) to battle through a multi-stage story culminating with a boss fight against the evil overlord Death Adder. In addition to the standard button mashing approach to slaying evil, each character had magical attacks that they could unleash. The strength of these attacks was tied to how many magic potions the heroes had found and saved; the more potions you had, the greater the power.

Although every bit as quarter hungry as its contemporaries, Golden Axe’s story and fun gameplay drew my friends and I back to it time and time again.


Released in 1989, Golden Axe was one of our go-to arcade games in high school. The series really came into its own, however, when I got a Sega Genesis. Golden Axe II was one of that platform’s signature titles, and my friends and I played the hell of the game. After being it multiple times, we eventually put it back on the game shelf, but it had a most excellent run … and the power of nostalgia compels me to fire it up from time to time.

High Scores

  • My High Score: I beat the game multiple times; there’s no real “score”.


Where to Play