I'd just like to say that I've never liked Golden Axe. It always makes me laugh when people say "GAMES WEREN'T GOOD AS THEY WERE YEARS AGO" when honestly games back then sucked hard too. Anyway, what I hated about Golden Axe was that it waas a game that either you knew how to dodge or you were screwed, considering if you hit too much then the enemeis would unfairly attack you, or if you hit too little then it'd take a long time to defeat an enemy on screen. Or to sum it all up, it was just a multiplayer game to play with your friends.
Set aside all that, the Sega Master System to me is like Sega's answer to the NES with better graphics. I'm going to come out and say that there were SMS games that actually were on par with the NES. I'll gladly take Phantasy Star over Final Fantasy any day, or Zaxxon over Lifeforce, or Phantasy Star over R-Type, Zillion over Metroid. Maybe not Alex Kidd, though you get my point.
The game I'll be reviewing is a game called Golden Axe Warrior which thankfully isn't in the same vain as a difficult beat em up but instead like an RPG. And while you might call it a Zelda ripoff as first, there are a lot of differences. Basically you have to defeat Lord Death Adder and end his terror in Firewood. You have to collect nine crystals which are hidden in nine labyrinths which are hidden. Just like Zelda, it hosts many secrets, towns, wisely hermits, and shops. There's a large world that you have to explore in the game. There are regions for you to explore like the ice region or the desert region and you have to find items to get across these types of lands. And you even get your magic in the game, which can be upgraded to make yourself more stronger. And you need them in some parts of the game to continue.
What makes this game great is how it expands from the simple idea of Zelda and basically answers some of the things that it couldn't do, especially the exploring feature and the generous save feature that wasn't that friendly in the original Zelda. And the regions make it a more excellent addition, though thinking about it Zelda wasn't really the first free roaming RPG out there, I believe there were games that succeeded that even going far back to the early times of the Intellivision with Advanced Dungeons & Dragons.
Graphics are very colorful for the SMS, especially the title screen. While the game has a lot of the same green trees in some areas, though again Zelda also had the same flaw in the game, and the music is a bit annoying and repetitive. I recommend listening to a different song while you play this game. Though some of the labyrinth music is quite spooky.
At the end of the day, Golden Axe Warrior could be considered a Zelda ripoff however it takes the elements which people have criticized Zelda for and fixes them a bit. And the early difficulty could strike some newcomers, it's still a good gmae to check out.