Tool-assisted game movies
When human skills are just not enough

Submission #5314: Galedog's Arcade Golden Axe in 04:55.93

Console: Arcade
Game name: Golden Axe
Game version: USA
ROM filename: goldnaxe.zip
Emulator: FBA-RR
Movie length: 04:55.93
FrameCount: 17756
Re-record count: 5860
Author's real name: Dan Hale
Author's nickname: Galedog
Submitter: galedog
Submitted at: 2016-12-05 11:13:55
Text last edited at: 2016-12-15 16:24:22
Text last edited by: galedog
Download: Download (4042 bytes)
Status: published
Click to view the actual publication
Submission instructions
Discuss this submission (also rating / voting)
List all submissions by this submitter
List pages on this site that refer to this submission
View submission text history
Back to the submission list
Author's comments and explanations:


Golden Axe is an arcade beat em up from the late 80s. Along with its charming Conan the Barbarian style and hack and slash gameplay, it pioneered the beat em up "super" attack in the form of collectable magic. It's a nostalgic classic and one of my favorite video games of all time.

Youtube Encode

Game Objectives

  • Emulator used: FBA-RR
  • Rom used: Golden Axe (set 6, US, 8751 317-123A)
  • Aims for fastest time
  • Damage taken for entertainment



The game consists of 5 full size stages with 4 bonus stages in between for replenishing magic and HP. Gameplay consists of slicing bad guys up with weapons, riding mounts that breath fire, and casting magic spells. The main attacks used throughout speedruns are the down stab(running jump attack) and the back attack(attack and jump pressed at the same time) due to the basic attack string being very weak in comparison. The basic dash attack does come in handy for the little gnomes who carry magic and food. The game is essentially free of RNG, so in this case, it's a beat em up where strats are actually strats and not a dice roll. The AI is also very simple and easy to manipulate.


Ax Battler

  • Basic hitbox: Good
  • Down stab hitbox: Good
  • Dash attack hitbox: Meh
  • Magic damage: Good
  • Magic speed: Slow
  • Magic refill: Slow

Tyris Flare

  • Basic hitbox: Poor
  • Down stab hitbox: Good
  • Dash attack hitbox: Good
  • Magic damage: Great
  • Magic speed: Good
  • Magic refill: Slow

Gilius Thunderhead

  • Basic hitbox: Good
  • Down stab hitbox: Bad
  • Dash attack hitbox: Meh
  • Magic damage: Good
  • Magic speed: Fast
  • Magic refill: Fast

Characters don't seem to do different damage from physical attacks, so the main factors in character choice are magic (damage, animation speed, and refil speed). Basically, Gilius saves some time by killing a few groups of standard enemies with his fast level 3 magic, and the last input of the movie is Tyris's level 6 dragon magic.

Stage comments

I'll refer to the main 5 stages here, not by the in-game stage numbers.

Stage 1

The first few enemies have really slow movement so they are easily down stabbed. One of the characters needs to jump up on the ledge to make sure no time is wasted despawning the gnome. The next few enemies are weak enough to die from 1 back attack. The Bad Bros bosses die after 2 down stabs or 1 down stab and a level 3+ magic spell. I went with Gilius's magic here as it has a short animation. The trade off is getting rid of extra time spent killing the extra mook enemy and the gnome taking 1 more hit on the first bonus stage(he steals Gilius's magic bottle).

Stage 2

Some more dudes get down stabbed. Making the dragon mount breathe fire at the same time as the villagers are running on screen results in some lag, but rushing the screen and down stabbing the enemies is still the fastest thing to do. Gilius's level 3 magic is used again after the gnome guy is hit twice(he has to be stricken 3 times to go away). The girls who spawn after the magic are easy, die in 1 down stab each. The skeleton after them has more HP, and it's a pretty tight timing to switch the direction of the down stab and keep him on screen. I don't collect magic at this bonus stage because it only wastes time to use it on the next stage, and will make the next bonus stage take longer when the gnome steals it from you.

Stage 3

The first few guys here can be killed with 1 back attack. I kill the last wave of enemies before the bridge with 2 back attacks from Gilius, which might be a small time loss eaten, assuming you can manage to down stab them without being hit. After the bridge you face clones of the Bad Bros, not much to say about them. Both of the gnomes have to be despawned in order for the final enemy to spawn during the Sgt. Bitter boss, so I get rid of them real quick but don't collect any magic as it will make the bonus stage take longer.

Stage 4

The first enemy can be stubborn and dodge down stabs, so some teamwork is used to get him. The next guys run right into em though. All the skeletons on this stage die in 1 down stab, and are killed on the exact frame they spawn. The shadow guys can be killed in 2 down stabs or 1 down stab + 1 back attack. Magic is collected on this bonus stage for the final boss.

Stage 5

Stupid skeletons march to their death. After the mount rider and the first red mook, a swarm of more red mooks come, but they're pretty stupid and easily down stabbed. The Bitter clones come next and Tyris dodges a sword swing to get a setup for down stabs. Once on the final screen, I had to find a way to get all the magic from the gnomes without stopping the screen from scrolling. The final boss is meant to screw you over, but he's really easy with the right timing and gets looped in downstabs. Tyris has some fun with the enemy AI for a moment before finishing everyone off with the dragon magic.

Other Comments

There could be a few moments in this movie that I could improve some day if I really grind it out. For the time being, this game is a classic that deserves and sorely lacks a decent TAS, so I wanted to make one that was at least a little bit entertaining.

feos: Judging...

feos: While this run looks suboptimal in a few places, that's just an impression, because of how the game's mechanics work, which is explained in details by the author here and here. Otherwise it's quite well done.

The movie is also short, uses 2 players that like moving in sync, and contains voice samples that I personally find hilarious, thanks to how short the run is. The viewer response is average, but has no serious accusations regarding entertainment, and I see no ground for them either. Accepting to Moons.

fsvgm777: Processing.

Similar submissions (by title and categories where applicable):