Golden Axe is one of Sega's most beloved arcade releases, mixing the belt-scrolling action of Double Dragon with a Conan-style fantasy setting filled with dragons, skeletons and other beasts. It was one of the games that showcased the power of the Sega Genesis / Mega Drive when it was ported to the machine in 1989, and was popular on other formats, too.
However, not all of these conversions were created equal, and Sega Master System owners, in particular, had to cope with a vastly scaled-back home port. Not only did it look a lot less appealing than both the arcade and Mega Drive versions, but the controls were clunky, the scrolling jerky and – to make matters worse – only one character was playable, the heroic Ax Battler.
Fast forward to the present day, and justice is finally being served, to a degree. A patch has just been released by a fan called xfixium (thanks, Indie Retro News), and it aims to repair some of the damage done by the original 1990 conversion.
Dubbed "Golden Axe Tyris Flare Edition", the hack replaces Ax Battler with (you've guessed it) Tyris Flare, a character who has proven to be very popular with certain sections of the gaming community due to her rather inappropriate battle dress. She even starred in her own game, Golden Axe: Beast Rider, but it sadly wasn't very good.
This isn't the only change, however; the visuals have been cleaned up massively, making the locations look more detailed and colourful. It's still no match for the excellent Mega Drive version, of course, but it's certainly a step in the right direction.
You can download the patch here, and you'll need the original ROM.