Working in conjunction with Sega of Japan, Golden Axe I & II is the seventh release from London based team, DATA-DISCS.
Beginning in May 2015, DATA-DISCS have been publishing remastered soundtracks from Sega’s glory days to classic vinyl records. These collections are sourced directly from the Sega Archive and occasionally feature new or never before heard material from the original composures. So far, this dream-team has published Streets of Rage 1 & 2, OutRun and Shenmue, as well as others.
DATA-DISCS set a good president for the future of gaming culture too. Projects such as these help to bring the medium of Video Games into a more mature forum and solidify these classic games as true works of art. Gamers have always enjoyed listening to their favourite soundtracks separately from the main game experience, but having these pieces collected on vinyl adds a sense of longevity and history to what many would consider their all time favourite soundtracks. The large scale artwork and ritual of vinyl records is also an important factor – something many vintage music fans will attest to.
‘DATA007’ is a complete collect of Golden Axe I & II, featuring 13 and 16 tracks from the first and second game respectively (track list below). It’s all been packed on to a single record, originally released in three aesthetic variants: A Translucent Gold with Purple Swatches (Limited Edition), a single colour Translucent Gold, and a standard Black. Each sell for the same price, but as you’d expect the Limited Edition clears out pretty fast. Orders are limited to one-per customer to avoid unfair resales of limited items.
I managed to get my hands on the full Gold variant, but DATA-DISCS have been known to sell off or give away left over Limited Editions. Just recently a Limited Edition of OutRun was offered through a charity raffle for Shelter.
Playing the record, the sound is very clear and high quality – as you would expect from something taken directly from source archives. Each track is quite short, which is indicative of Golden Axe‘s music having quick repetition, they’re only as long as they need to be. Turtle Village and Death Adder from Golden Axe I and Ravaged Village, Enemy’s Headquarters and Dragon’s Throat from II are my stand out tracks. Golden Axe II is the superior soundtrack, in my opinion. It’s a shame the remixes featured in M2’s Sega Vintage Collection aren’t also here, but that might clash with the purpose of DATA-DISCS’ intended collection as it isn’t music from the original game, per se.
Complete Track List:
A1. The Battle / A2. Wilderness / A3. Battlefield / A4. Thief’s Theme / A5. Old Map / A6. Turtle Village I / A7. Fiend’s Path / A8. Turtle Village II / A9. Death Adder / A10. Showdown / A11. Conclusion / A12. Sutakora, Sassa! / A13. Game Over
Golden Axe II
B1. Character Select / B2. Ravaged Village / B3. Boss / B4. Magician Stage / B5. Crystal / B6. Ancient Ruins / B7. Enemy’s Headquarters / B8. Dragon’s Throat / B9. Boss / B10. The Castle Gate / B11. Castle of Dark Guld / B12. Death Adder II / B13. All Clear / B14. Staff Roll / B15. Result / B16. Game Over
I do have one major gripe with DATA-DISCS as a whole. On the latter side of any disc, the record will end with a looping sound effect featured in the game. This usually takes the form of any very short sound which will begin looping endlessly until you get up to turn off or flip the record. I don’t have any problem with game SFXs being included, but why looping?!
This is especially annoying if you have the record on in the background while you’re doing chores or playing a board game with friends. As rather than setting the mood in the background, the record will infinitely announce itself until you give it the due attention of turning off the stereo. I would think the silence of the record coming to an end would be a significant enough to change sides, but for whatever reason DATA-DISCS keep putting these irritating loops in, and it does spoil my enjoyment of an otherwise perfect product. As it only appears at the very end of most records, I do get into the habit of only playing the first side of my discs, which is a shame. BUT, Golden Axe does it on both sides. Irritating, indeed.
In edition to the record itself, the package also includes two lithographic prints, featuring art from the original games. The cover of the vinyl itself takes artwork from the Japanese edition of Golden Axe I. As with the music, all this has been source from Sega’s Archives in Japan and is of the highest quality.
Overall, I would highly recommend picking up one or two of these records, provided you are a big Sega fan, of course. These come from a team of people who are sharing their passion for gaming soundtracks, and sharing that passion is part of what makes Video Games so special.
It would be great to see DATA-DISCS working with other big name publishers in future, I’d love a copy of Super Metroid or Street Fighter Alpha 3 on vinyl. In terms of Sega titles, I’ve got my fingers crossed for Phantasy Star Online and Monster World IV. It’s still Sonic’s 25th Anniversary for a while too. Just sayin’.
Check out a sample of the soundtrack, below!