There are some games that will go down in history as being infamously bad. Granted, the TurboGrafx is not a system that is as well known for these type of games as the Atari Jaguar is. However, even our much beloved NEC workhorse had its share of bad games. A prime example of this is Sega's arcade hit, Golden Axe.
If there's one PC Engine game that we can be thankful never reached American shores, this just might be it. Still, if you've never played the game, you would have to wonder how this game could go wrong. Golden Axe was a rather popular arcade game in the United States, and the TurboGrafx should have been able to provide the horsepower for a quality translation. Unfortunately, Renovation saw fit to totally decimate what was once an upright and decent game.
Where can I begin? First of all, the gameplay, which should have been a no-brainer, is abysmal. Controlling your character is frustrating at best and impossible at worst. Even something as simple as navigating our hero around the screen can be a chore. What's even worse is that jumping over chasms is just an exercise in futility. Not surprisingly enough, this game is only one-player, despite the fact that two-players are a must to fully enjoy it.
Besides the gameplay woes, Renovation has done the unthinkable with the game's graphics. I hate to say it, but this game really does look worse than the Sega Master System version. How this is possible, I do not know. The TurboGrafx has more than ample power to produce a copy of this game that looks even prettier than the Genesis version.
What good can we draw out of this game? First of all, I have to give Renovation props on the cinema cut scenes. These just might be enough for a Golden Axe fanboy to invest the $10 for a copy. While they're not awe-inspiring, they are unique, and in my personal opinion, good for a laugh. Besides this, the CD music tracks are decent, although not great. Of course, this was necessary to make up for the ridiculously poor sound effects.
Overall, the majority of TurboGrafx gamers will want to avoid this game like the plague. Renovation has pulled out all of the stops to make this the worst translation of Golden Axe ever to be released, so it's no surprise that the game never made it to North American shores. Only the most die-hard of TurboGrafx collectors and Golden Axe fans need apply here.