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31 Bonus Levels of Christmas
Golden Axe: Gnome Attack
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on December 11, 2010   |   Episode 17 (Show Archive)  

   

It's that time of year again, a time when Defunct Games celebrates the holidays by posting a daily theme article that should inform and delight gamers all over the world. This year we're taking a look at 31 of the best-known bonus stages in all of video games. Each day we're going to look at a different level and review it, while also trying to figure out what makes it tick. Join us as we post a new episode of the 31 Bonus Levels of Christmas every day leading up to the biggest holiday of the year!
Golden Axe: Gnome Attack
[ Console: Arcade | Year: 1989 | Grade: F ]

Golden Axe proves that gnomes are douche bags!
The Context: It's a fantastical world full of elves, trolls and other mythical creatures ... I guess that's why I brought a large sword. While it didn't start the 2D brawler genre (we can thank games like Double Dragon for that), Golden Axe is certainly the game responsible for moving it in the direction of high fantasy. You play one of three warriors (a barrel-chested man, a skinny girl and a powerful elf with a giant sword) on a quest to defeat Death Adder (no relation to the classic TV show, Black Adder).

The Rules: While taking a much-needed rest before a big day of hand-to-sword combat and slaying dragons, our heroes find themselves burgled by a set of tenacious gnomes. They

Nothing about Golden Axe has ever been as cool (or sexy) as the fan made artwork!
come at night, sneaking into the camp one at a time to take your goods. It's the player's job to not let them get away with it. This means slashing them up with a broad sword, throwing them from side to side or simply kicking them. Once these pesky gnomes are sufficiently battered, players can collect the jars of magic dust they leave behind.

The Verdict: You would think that a bonus stage full of gnome abuse would be cathartic, but it's not. Perhaps it's because the rest of game involves a near endless parade of bad guys to beat up, but I didn't get much enjoyment out of kicking these little

With a name like Death Adder, you should probably bring more than three people for this quest!
guys. If anything, I'm sympathetic to these pesky creatures, if only because everybody else is breathing fire and actually causing me harm. At least these guys just want to steal my loot. With a little depth and challenge this bonus stage could have been something worth waiting for, but it's over too quickly and just comes off as mean spirited.

Completely Missing the Point: Hey Golden Axe characters, you're doing it all wrong. It's time to stop beating up these gnomes and work together. Based on what I've seen in Golden Axe, it seems like these two factions have similar goals. Why not offer some of your jars of magic dust in exchange for a little help taking down Death Adder? That way everybody will win and the gnomes will no longer have to sneak around in shadows. It's only a suggestion.
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