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Developer: SEGA

Price: $2.99
Version Reviewed: 1.0.0
Device Reviewed On: iPhone 3GS

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★☆
Game Controls Rating: ★★☆☆☆
Gameplay Rating: ★★★☆☆
Replay Value Rating: ★★★½☆

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

Released in the early 90′s, the third and final installment of SEGA’s Golden Axe series included several updates to the tried and true hack and slash/beat ‘em up gameplay. Several new types of defensive and offensive moves were added to the characters in Golden Axe 3 giving the game a more varied experience than it’s predecessors. This was likely a welcome change to the console version of the game, but the iOS port of this game, with it’s touch screen controls, gets a bit clunky.

A knowledge of how the game handled when it was first released over a decade ago will certainly make the controls easier to handle. Still, there are some instances when the warrior will block (pressing away and attack) or try to pick something up (pressing down and attack) instead of attacking; leaving him (or her) vulnerable to multiple attacks. It’s never easy to map vintage console controls to the iOS touch screen, and SEGA has done a fair job with Golden Axe 3, but as the button combinations required to execute certain moves become more complicated the fidelity of the touch controls suffers.

The game plays out much like one would expect. Players can choose from one of four warriors and fight their way through each stage encountering several different types of enemies and the occasional boss-fight. There are also some creature throughout the levels that the warriors can ride; a staple of the Golden Axe series. Some levels also end in forked paths letting the player choose where to go next. Consequently, on each play-through different paths can be selected and different levels played; adding to the games replay value.

There is a multiplayer mode available via bluetooth connection (multiplayer via wi-fi is not available) that allows players to play through the game together and access more powerful cooperative attacks. There is also a Versus mode that plays like a fighting game. Players choose one of the main characters and fight a round against one of the other main characters controlled by the CPU. It’s an interesting diversion from the main game.

All things considered, Golden Axe 3 is best played for a nostalgic step back to the heyday of early gaming consoles. The touchscreen controls of this port will quickly frustrate and annoy, but fans of the hack and slash genre will enjoy this classic and it’s quirks.

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