First in the Golden Axe series puts you in control of one of three vengeance seeking heroes. Each one has a personal grudge to pay Death Adder, who on top of killing of various relatives has also stolen the King, his daughter, and the mythical Golden Axe. Death Adder promises to destroy all three unless he is made the ultimate ruler of Yuria.
You and a friend can play as axe wielding dwarf Gilius Thunderhead, broadsword bashing barbarian Ax Battler, or long sword slicing Amazon Tyris Flare for a side scrolling hack and slash adventure. The game play does not change very much for the three heroes except in the amount of the magic they can collect and use during the course of the game, the dwarf being the lowest magic user and the Amazon the highest. There are no combos though you can find various steeds throughout the game that give you a slight advantage if you can keep them. Your job is to wade through various hoards of enemies on the road to Death Adder’s fortress.
The best ports of this game aside from the original arcade version were on the Amiga and Sega Genesis systems. The Amiga game is virtually identical to the Arcade version. The Genesis plays the same with some missing animation and game play effects, mostly making it easier for the players.