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Golden Axe: Beast Rider is a new installment of the Golden Axe series for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 developed by Sega's acquired game developer Secret Level. Secret Level has worked on the PlayStation 2 and Xbox version of Final Fight: Streetwise, among other projects. The game was released in North America on October 14, 2008 and in Europe on October 17.
Beast Rider is the first Golden Axe game in 3D as opposed to side scrolling hack and slash. While this is a major shift in game style from the previous games, Beast Rider maintains many of the elements from the originals such as magic and riding beasts, as well as sending the player on a quest to defeat Death Adder.
Game play is divided into three types: Campaign, Challenge and Trials. Each mode allows for the collection of tribute, which is used to increase magic strength and unlock weapons. Armor is unlocked as one progresses through the story or Campaign.
This is the story mode of Beast Rider where you control the female, Tyris, from the original games. Through the story mode we are introduced to Gilius the dwarf and Tarik the Ax Battler, though they remain NPC's. Tribute is awarded at the end of each level based on the amount collected multiplied by the players performance during the level, which also affects the players Class or "grade" per level. Such multipliers include time, damage taken, dismemberments and difficulty settings.
Challenge mode plays the same as Campaign, including tribute and class at the end of each level. However, Challenge allows the player to replay any level previously completed in Campaign, in addition to being able to use any armor previously unlocked, as well as any weapon unlocked through the collection of tribute.
Trials mode is the equivalent of the original’s "Duel" mode, in which the player battles enemies of the selected level in an arena from that level. Each level becomes available in Trials after it is completed in the campaign. The player must complete ten waves of enemies, plus three bonus waves featuring gnomes, without dying. Like the Challenges, Trials allows the player to select various armor and weapons unlocked in Campaign or through the collection of tribute.
The main character is Tyris Flare, an athletic young woman with reddish hair and green eyes. She wears an outfit made from leather and bone, with white paint over her eyes. She is a great warrior and defender of the Axirian Priestesses, a sect of Kaily worshippers from the Isle of Axir. Tyris' skills in combat and magic are almost unsurpassed, but there is a danger rising over Axir that even she must fear. Death Adder's armies are on the move. They are after the power of the ancient Dragon Titan. It is rumored that even Death Adder fears something about the Titans, though nobody really knows what power they possess over this dark lord. Death Adder's ambitions must be stopped! If he gains control over man, woman and beast alike, who knows what will become of the world. Tyris use sword and sorcery to stop him.
The October 2007 issue of Play magazine offered new details. The game was revealed to feature the return of Tyris Flare, the female amazon warrior from the first installment of the series. With a heavy focus on riding beasts, the game received an M rating since dismemberments, decapitations and nudity are present. The magazine also claimed that the PS3 version was canceled and that the game would be an Xbox 360 exclusive. However, on October 19, 2007 Denny Chiu of SEGA denied the Xbox exclusivity, stating "Completely untrue, it's coming to PS3 as well."
While this game does only feature single player, the senior producer stated that the second game in the franchise will feature all co-op.
Beast Rider received generally unfavorable reviews, with the PS3 and Xbox 360 version receiving Metacritic scores of 44/100 and 45/100 respectively. IGN gave it a 3.2/10 rating with a closing comment, "This is a game worth avoiding like the plague, even if the classic remains deep and warm within your heart." GamePro called it "poorly designed and utterly mediocre," "a terrible game that feels like a slap in the face to fans of the original franchise."  TeamXbox gave the game a 6.8 rating. Gametrailers' sister site ScrewAttack.com's editor High School Ben criticized it due to strange controls, lack of music, and high difficulty. G4tv's X-Play gave the game a 2/5 stars during their Oct.22.08 review 
More recently, Play Magazine scored it a 9/10. Play also delivered a comment that "certain online reviewers" couldn't have played through it and released a decent review in the time-frame they did.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 Purchese, Rob (September 22, 2008). New Golden Axe game gets date. EuroGamer. Retrieved on 2008-09-22
- ↑ http://uk.gamespot.com/xbox360/rpg/goldenaxe/news.html?sid=6150088&mode=press Sega Announces Golden Axe Coming to Next-generation Consoles
- ↑ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIP-gLts4kA Next Gen Golden Axe (youtube)
- ↑ http://www.seganerds.com/2007/08/06/new-golden-axe-concept-art-discovered/ New Golden Axe concept art discovered
- ↑ http://www.seganerds.com/2007/07/28/new-golden-axe-enemy-scupltures-surface/ New Golden Axe enemy sculptures surface
- ↑ http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/the-x-button/2008-10-08
- ↑ Sega confirms Golden Axe is still on track for PS3 :: PlayStation Universe (PSU)
- ↑ http://www.joystiq.com/2008/05/16/golden-axe-beast-rider-impressions/
- ↑ http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/ps3/goldenaxe Golden Axe: Beast Rider (ps3) reviews at Metacritic.com
- ↑ http://www.metacritic.com/games/platforms/xbox360/goldenaxe Golden Axe: Beast Rider (Xbox360) reviews at Metacritic.com
- ↑ http://xbox360.ign.com/articles/920/920770p1.html Golden Axe: Beast Rider Review
- ↑ http://www.gamepro.com/article/reviews/207452/golden-axe-beast-rider-360/ Golden Axe: Beast Rider (360)
- ↑ http://www.screwattack.com/VGR/GoldenAxe
- ↑ http://www.g4tv.com/xplay/reviews/1853/Golden_Axe_Beast_Rider.html