I finally got around to playing another Sega game! Golden Axe is a game I've seen widely praised as a beat 'em up classic, and I've been meaning to try it for a while. There are two versions available on the Wii Virtual Console, the original arcade version, which I played, and the port to their home console, the Sega Genesis.
On Virtual Console, the arcade version has an options menu where you can select the difficulty level and the number of continues. I played co-op with unlimited continues, and at 25 cents a play and on normal difficulty I probably spent a virtual four bucks or so. The game reminded me a fair amount of Altered Beast, which isn't surprising since it was created by the same designer and was released just a year prior. Although at its debut people were probably drawn to the game for its graphics, there wasn't much about the game that impressed me. The game expands on the gameplay of Altered Beast in that you can select from three different characters (who all pretty much function the same), ride beasts, use magic, execute dash attacks, and execute simple combos. I found the gameplay to be as stiff as Altered Beast, and overall I found the mechanics to be less fun than Altered Beast's shapeshifting mechanics. Beat 'em ups aren't my favorite genre in general, but this was an okay quick and mindless co-op experience.