Treasure(d) Axe

The Golden Axe games are really famous early PC/console “brawlers”. They are worth checking out because of the awesome soundtracks. These soundtracks do not fool around. Time is not wasted when this stuff is blarin’. The most well-known OST is Golden Axe II, which is perhaps the most consistent all the way through. But each game in the trilogy has a fantastic setlist. Unfortunately, the games themselves… kind of suck.

Incidentally, look at the cover below. Am I the only one who notices that the amazon warrior woman is absolutely aborting the tendons in her right knee? “Okay, boys, off to adventu….AUGGGGHHHH!”

La Premiere Golden Axe

The first two games have a pretty consistent melancholy flavor to the tunes. The plot outline in the series is some kind of mystical, barbaric, pre-historic tragic epic. Those plots always yield the finest sounds, do they not? Those, and old-school (pre-1990s) sci-fi. I say old-school because we’re already living in a Space Odyssey-esque future world, and thus science fiction as a fantasy is obsolete. The only relevant fantasies left are either (a) apocalyptic fantasy or (b) classic barbarian fantasy, a la Golden Axe, D&D, LotR, and so forth. Even western “otaku” fantasies about going native in Japan are getting stale because they’ve actually happened.

Sorry guys — I know that’s all fascinating stuff to ruminate upon, but this is about Golden Axe music. There is some mild sine/triangle wave action underlaying most of the musical rhythms in this first game. Occasionally there are some harsher high-pitched saw waves or organ parts. What is interesting is that there are not as many blatant lead melodies in the music for this first release. The drums are rather subdued, which I think is actually pretty nice. I wonder if this isn’t because the original Golden Axe was an Amiga/PC release? Though I could be mistaken, back in the 1980s percussive drums were not a staple of computer game music. It was the later generation of releases on Genesis/Megadrive that had more serious bombastic, drum-driven soundtracks. A major element of the Golden Axe II soundtrack are the epic, marching drum snare rolls.

I rather enjoy the organ and the harmonica-sounding saw waves in “Path of Fiend”. “Black Adder” is the build-up that really gets the blood pumping, while “Battle Field” and “Turtle Village” have really beautiful, melancholy ambiance.

Nankyoku, Decky, Imocky – Battle Field – Golden Axe (Genesis/Megadrive)
Nankyoku, Decky, Imocky – Death Adder – Golden Axe (Genesis/Megadrive)
Nankyoku, Decky, Imocky – Path of Fiend – Golden Axe (Genesis/Megadrive)
Nankyoku, Decky, Imocky – Turtle Village – Golden Axe (Genesis/Megadrive)

Actually, they all have really beautiful ambiance. *sniff*

Okay, so presumably I’ll follow this up eventually with the sequels. Or you could get them on your own. Punks!


~ by chaosrexmachinae on April 9, 2008.

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