Every week Cyril Lachel comes down from his giant castle in the hills to provide the final word on all of the classic downloadable games and retro compilations. This is the Retro Round-Up, your official guide to the best (and worst) in classic gaming for the Nintendo Virtual Console, Xbox Live Arcade and PlayStation Network. Join us as we shed some light on what games are worth your five or ten dollars, and what games you should avoid at all costs. For more information about these games (and retro gaming in general) we invite you to check out Defunct Games
. This week we take a look at three crazy games for the Virtual Console, including one that was never released in the U.S., one that is a Golden Axe sequel, and one that has you playing billiards in space. I bet you can't guess which one is the best. Find out now when you check out this week's episode of the Retro Round-Up ...
Golden Axe III
What Is It?
Hey Nintendo, when I asked for more Japan-only games for the Virtual Console Golden Axe III is not what I had in mind. Believe it or not, Sega's third (and final) 16-bit Golden Axe game was never released in the U.S. as a Genesis cartridge. That's not to say that it didn't make it over here in one form or another, but certainly not as one of those overpriced cartridges we have hidden away in the closet. Instead Sega dumped this brawler on the Sega Channel, a TV station that acted like a predecessor to the Virtual Console. It's also worth mentioning that Golden Axe III was re-released years later on the Sega Genesis Collection for the PSP and PlayStation 2. Bummed that you missed out on this beat-em-up back in the mid-1990s? Don't be, because Golden Axe III is hardly worth your time or money. The problem Sega had with Golden Axe is that they had a solid idea but could never figure out a way of turning it into something more than just a button mashing brawler. By the time Sega got around to developing this third installment pretty much all of the characters had been used up and we had been every place interesting in the Golden Axe world. But that didn't stop Sega from churning out this lazy excuse for a sequel. Let's hope that Golden Axe III isn't a sign of things to come with Sega's upcoming reimagining of the franchise.
Does It Still Hold Up?
It's sad to see a good series like Golden Axe reduced to something like this. Golden Axe III fails to understand what made the first two games so memorable, and to make matters worse I get the feeling that Sega stuck their B-team on this one just to get it out to retail. Everything remains the same, only this time there's nothing interesting to keep you going. I suppose one could argue that the gameplay is no worse than the other two games, but it's certainly not any better. I'm not one of those people who thought the other two Golden Axe games held up particularly well, but this third installment is just embarrassing.
Is It Worth the Money?
Absolutely not! Not only is Golden Axe III a pale imitation of what was a solid action series, it's also not worth the full $8 asking price. Like so many other Genesis games released on the Virtual Console, Golden Axe III is offered on the Sega Genesis Collection disc for the PSP and PlayStation 2. What's more, for $20 you can get all three Golden Axe games, along with 27 other games. Buying all of the Golden Axe games on the Virtual Console will run you $24, so by buying the Sega Genesis Collection you are already ahead. But even as one of the thirty games in the Sega Genesis Collection, Golden Axe III is just not a very good game.
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