Ax Battler: A Legend of Golden Axe, as you can tell by the name, was a Golden Axe spin off. It starred Ax-Battler, the sword-wielding character from the Golden Axe games. It is primarily an Adventure game, with some action and RPG elements.
Overall, the game was a refined Zelda II clone. You moved around in a primitive looking overhead map in the overworld, going from tile to tile, some of which represents a town or a dungeon. Unlike Zelda II, however, you do not get to see & avoid the enemies you encounter in the overworld. Instead, you deal with random battles, much like the RPGs of the time. When in a battle, the game takes a side-scrolling perspective, with slightly better graphics and a sprite that resembles a human being. In this mode, the game plays a little bit like the Golden Axe games it came from, but without the ability to move up & down.
Another difference is that when you enter a town, the graphics remain tile based and overhead. You do not get to go through the town in a side scrolling view. In towns, you can purchase items, talk to people, save your game, and sometimes learn new moves. New moves are used through different button combinations in battle. One of the first new moves you learn is the ability to swing your sword while on one knee. In Dungeons, the game is entirely side scrolling. Instead of just one limited room like the random battles, you have one big room with enemies you must fight through.