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Probably Too Much Detail: Golden Axe – PC Engine

Golden Axe, now on CD and vinyl.
Golden Axe, now on CD and vinyl.

In a land far, far away, during a time that few remember (1990), Golden Axe was released on the PC-Engine. This isn’t a detailed look into the life and times for PC-Engine and even mentioning it here is putting me at risk of being drawn and quarted by on-fire meth head giraffes.

No, today we’re going to look at the deep plot and subtext contained within the intermission screens of Golden Axe. You remember them, don’t you? The screens that keep the action humming along with a pretty tinkly song that tinkles ever so tinkly? Well, they are contained within the PC-Engine port…to a degree.

Yes, dear reader, in a cocaine fueled daze, the developers of Golden Axe for PC-Engine seem to have ripped a hole in space-time from which flowed forth the secrets of the universe that go beyond anything you could have ever imagined. If you’ve ever seen Event Horizon, think that but with less of Sam Neil gouging his own eyes out.

Here we have an intermission screen, informing us of our heroes intention of traveling through Turtle Village to reach Death Adder…or does it? You see, the wording and structure of these sentences does not match any patterns ever seen by human eyes. You can trust me here, as I have no formal qualifications, so I know what I am talking about.


Swown is apparently an older synonym for “swoon” which could mean that perhaps Ax, Tyris and Gillius are flirting with the allure of evil. After all, Adders reach over the land is extensive and if they were to join him as generals, they would prosper. Either that or they are asserting that Adder is perhaps motivated by the love of a royal in another kingdom and his entire campaign across the land has been to win the hand of a certain Princess, with him as King.

The addition of “Death=Adder” has a few interpretations. First of all, literally asserting that Adder is Death incarnate. His sword has felled many warriors after all. Alternatively this could be referencing the biblical serpent that tempted Adam and Eve, but instead of linking back to temptation it represents change, as in the meaning in tarot. Times are, after all, turbulent in the land. It’s either that or this was written by a pre-schooler who just found out snakes are poisonous and was trying be super helpful by telling us that if we poke an adder in the face with our chubby digits, it will bite our tender nibblets and we’ll die.

Pictured: The world's worst construction material.
Pictured: The world’s worst construction material.

Finally, Turtle Village. A village made from turtles…or for turtles? This is perhaps, the most baffling entry. Consider the implications of building a house out of turtles. First, they move, like, everywhere and trying to stack two on top of each other is really hard. The worst part is that they don’t speak English, so giving them instructions like “stop eating each other” has no effect. Finally, while I had limited success duct taping two turtles together, the terrified terrapins urinated everywhere like a broken sprinkler which acts like a solvent, ruining any forms of adhesion.

"We're called The Achilles Deal because we're kind of a big...MUM! I swear to god, I will continue not making my bed."
“We’re called The Achilles Deal because we’re kind of a big…MUM! I swear to god, I will continue not making my bed.”

Also, touching on the point of Death = Adder in his castle. The game makes no assertion that he is doing anything wrong. Aren’t they going after Death Adder? What if Death = Adder is some sort of teenage rock band who decided on an awful name because they don’t know they are idiots yet? Most teenagers don’t realise they are idiots until at least after high school, when they reflect on their behaviour and it becomes plainly obvious that they are morons.

So, there they are, jamming in their dad’s castle. All of a sudden, three burly heroes bust through the doors and begin cutting them to pieces and summoning fire dragons that burn their castle down while their mother is making hot pockets. Suddenly, reasonably priced sports sedans and scented candles are flying through the air while three complete strangers stand over the mangled corpse of a terrible band. Ax Battler, realising what has happened, looks around and begins to shout “I’M NOT GOING BACK TO JAIL MAN” before carjacking a passing real estate agent and slamming his Mercedes into a McDonald’s.

Tyris begins crying inconsolably and Gillius, still woozy from the explosion, wanders off a bridge and falls head first into the sun-roof of a bus containing the LA Clippers, who after mistaking him for a Make a Wish Foundation child, offer to give him a season pass to all of their games. So, it actually turned out kind of o.k.

After detailed analysis, it can only be assumed that the person writing this basically didn’t care and was just slamming an entire salmon onto their keyboard while rubbing the cash on their face that they were inevitably paid with to construct these screens.

Andrew Pine

Hailing from Australia, Andrew is a budding games journalist with years of experience and a hefty collection. He's a PAL collector and Sega Saturn obsessive who is aiming at collecting every PAL released Saturn game. Yes, even Deep Fear.

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