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Golden Axe: The Duel (ゴールデンアックス・ザ・デュエル) is a fantasy-themed fighting game produced by Sega based on their Golden Axe series. It was originally released as a coin-operated arcade game in 1994 and later ported to the Sega Saturn. It is the third coin-operated installment in the series, following the original Golden Axe and Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder.[2]

Golden Axe: The Duel
Golden Axe The Duel (leaflet).png
Developer(s)Sega AM1[1]
Composer(s)Kazuhiko Nagai
SeriesGolden Axe
Platform(s)Arcade, Saturn, GameTap
  • JP: September 29, 1995
  • NA: June 27, 1996
Genre(s)Fighting game
Mode(s)Up to 2 players simultaneously
Arcade systemST-V




Many years after the last war with Death Adder, the magical axe which Gillius Thunderhead used to slay Death Adder is rediscovered. Over time, the powers of the axe have grown. Numerous warriors fight to obtain the powerful axe.[3]


  • Kain Blade - Orphaned by war and found by a famous warrior, Kain Blade learned the art of swordsmanship from an early age. Kain has taken to wandering the various provinces to help those in need. He seeks the axe in hope of uniting the provinces of the continent and ending the diabolical plans of his enemies, Zoma and Keel.
  • Milan Flare - Princess of the kingdom of Winwood and descendant of Tyris Flare, who helped defeat Death Adder long ago. Milan Flare is the protector of the kingdom and relies on wind magic to battle her adversaries. If Milan wins, the Golden Axe will be used to ensure that Winwood does not fall to foreign invaders.
  • Gillius Rockhead - Coming from a family of distinguished fighters, Gillius Rockhead's great-grandfather, Gillius Thunderhead, is the legendary axeman who helped slay Death Adder. When news of Death Adder's reappearance reached the town of Gilliam, Gillius was the first to prepare for war.
  • Zoma - Zoma served as an adviser to the king of Lustan, a kingdom which bordered the Southern Plateau in the ancient days. Zoma's lust for power became too much for the king, who banished him to the Plateau. He uses the life energies of captured travelers to sustain himself in this bleak environment. The announcement of the Golden Axe stirs his lust for power once again.
  • Doc - Doc is from the Island of Miribar, a unique place with ports stocked with goods and animals from distant lands, and a college of healers that is the best in the provinces. Doc resigns his position from the school to seek the Golden Axe. He has promised to bring the axe back to the province.
  • Keel - An elf warrior from the northern province of Crystal. Those who travel across the tundra do so only in large numbers, for Keel haunts the roads looking for prey. Keel has always been ambitious and has vowed that he would one day become ruler of Crystal.
  • Jamm - A girl born in the northeastern part of the continent, a collection of small provinces that until recently battled one another. She was abandoned as a baby and raised by the wilderness spirit Degaas. Though still young and naive, Jamm has learned a number of fighting styles from the animals and hopes to keep what's left of the provinces for them.
  • Panchos - Panchos' father, an inventor, taught him from a young age the skills of this trade. But Panchos wasn't satisfied with his life and longed for adventure. When he hears that the axe has resurfaced, he heads off, dressed in bright armor and loaded with large metal balls.
  • Green - Lone survivor of a half-human, half-plant race of giants that lived deep in the forests of the continent until being wiped out by Death Adder's army. Green has been preparing for the return of Death Adder for many years. When Green hears of the Golden Axe tale, he realizes that the chance to meet Death Adder face-to-face is near.
  • Death Adder - Believed dead after the battle with Gillius Thunderhead, yet rose to stalk the land. Since then, he has "died" twice more, yet somehow managed to come back from the other side. If Death Adder gains the Golden Axe, the continent will face an age of horror and despair.
  • Golden Axe - A physical representation of the powers of the Golden Axe, this giant and golden armoured warrior serves as an ultimate challenge to anyone who claims the Golden Axe as their own. A non-playable character, he is the final boss of the game.


European Saturn cover art

The game was first unveiled at the 1995 Amusement Operators' Union (AOU) show in Tokyo.[4]


Review scores
EGM6.125/10 (SAT)[5]
Next Generation      (SAT)[7]
Maximum      (SAT)[6]
Sega Saturn Magazine85% (SAT)[8]

Golden Axe: The Duel received middling reviews from critics. Reviewing the Saturn version, Maximum judged the game to be decent in both playability and graphics, but highly criticized the lack of originality, and complained that the potion-dropping imp mechanic makes executing super moves overly convoluted. They summarized the game as "a clear example of competent programmers coding up a lacking concept".[6] Tom Guise of Sega Saturn Magazine praised the "arcade exact" conversion, the potion-dropping imp mechanic, the impressive graphics, and the music, but felt that the game was "outclassed" by the imminent ports of Virtua Fighter 2 and X-Men: Children of the Atom.[8] The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly also praised the potion-dropping imp mechanic, but felt that the game simply did not stand out from previous 2D fighters, and that in particular its visuals were overly similar to Samurai Shodown.[5] Scary Larry of GamePro said it was "a lame fighting game at its best", citing the dull moves, absence of combos, and the difficulty in getting the moves to work.[9] A reviewer for Next Generation called it "solid, if uninspired". He elaborated that the animation, graphics, control interface, and special moves hold up to the best fighting games released during the 16-bit era, which simultaneously places it as both a generation out-of-date and a recommended title for fans of old 2D fighting games.[7]


  1. ^ "Preview: Die Hard Arcade". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 16. Emap International Limited. February 1997. p. 24.
  2. ^ "Golden Axe: The Duel". The International Arcade Museum. Retrieved 18 Dec 2013.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "AOU: Coin-Op Houses Unveil '95 Line-Up". Next Generation. Imagine Media (6): 22–24. June 1995.
  5. ^ a b "Review Crew: Golden Axe: The Duel". Electronic Gaming Monthly. Ziff Davis (84): 26. July 1996.
  6. ^ a b "Maximum Reviews: Golden Axe: The Duel". Maximum: The Video Game Magazine. Emap International Limited (2): 146. November 1995.
  7. ^ a b "Golden Axe: The Duel". Next Generation. No. 20. Imagine Media. August 1996. p. 92.
  8. ^ a b Guise, Tom (December 1995). "Review: Golden Axe: The Duel". Sega Saturn Magazine. Emap International Limited (2): 80–81.
  9. ^ "ProReview Saturn: Golden Axe: The Duel". GamePro. No. 94. IDG. July 1996. p. 74.

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