While a few of Sega’s arcade classics—including After Burner, Virtua Fighter, Space Harrier, and more—received enhanced ports on the 32X, Golden Axe was only ever released for the original Genesis/Mega Drive. It’s a fine version of the game that preserves a lot of the magic that fans experienced in arcades, but Jeroen Visser (aka jvisser) developed a 32X ROM hack for it that reimplements a lot of the flourishes that were cut during the porting process. While Jeroen did a great job of iterating on the Genesis release, the downside was that the 32X patch only worked with software emulators and FPGA cores. As of this week though, the 32X patch for Golden Axe is now fully compatible with real hardware!
The following features have been implemented in Golden Axe 32X:
- The stage layouts have been redrawn to be a closer match to the arcade versions.
- Eye animations for the turtle and eagle are present.
- The door open/close animations from the arcade release are reimplemented.
- Demo/attract mode resembles the arcade game more closely.
- The cast screen had been moved to the main menu and is now interactive.
- Credits are skippable.
- (REMOVED) The duel mode is no longer accessible, for now.
I haven’t seen a full play through of the campaign but based on the first few levels it seems to run fine on at least one 32X setup (modified Genesis 3 VA1, 32X VA0, and a Mega Everdrive X3). I have no doubt that it should work fine on other hardware configurations, software emulators, and FPGA cores.