GXP Gaming Blog

GXP Gaming Blog


Power Up Pins Review

Posted: 13 Apr 2017 10:01 AM PDT

Power Up Pins Review

Power Up Pins Banner Recently I received some amazing pins from a company called Power Up Pins who create their own uniquely design enamel and engraved pins around gaming, geek and popular culture. I don't often collect this sort of thing, but on a trip to Disney World in Florida a few years ago I got pretty hooked on their designs based on classic characters and rides. Since then I kind of caught the bug and as I was really impressed with these, I thought I'd do a review. Disclaimer: I'm not sure if I need to put one of these, but for transparency; I have not been paid, sponsored or endorsed by Power Up Pins to do this review. All thoughts and opinions here are my own and not influenced by the company and/or it's affiliates in any way. Power Up Pins Selection The first pins that really stood out to me were the pink and green kind of "his and hers" skulls with headsets and the various game controllers. So far they have focused on Nintendo, Xbox and PlayStation, but I have been told they will cover Sega in the future as I've been bugging them for a while to do these. As soon as they make those (hopefully Master System, Mega Drive, Sega Saturn and Dreamcast controllers, plus the Game Gear and possibly even a Dreamcast VMU), I will certainly be wanting to add those to my collection. The company is still fairly new, so they are adding new designs on a regular basis (it seems to be monthly at the moment), plus since getting my pins, they've added an awesome arcade cabinet that I really want. It's probably worth mentioning that they have also started doing patches, stickers and other jewellery based on their designs, plus different types of pins too, but as you can tell gaming is where I'm at with most things! If they cover super hero stuff in the future though, I may be tempted. More Power Up Pins Examples In terms of quality, I was really impressed! I have quite an eye for detail which puts me off buying a lot of POP! Vinyl Funko figures online as I hate it when paint spills over or seeing weird marks that should be there. With Power Up Pins, each one that was painted had no over-spill, no weird markings, chips or scratches. The engraved ones were also nicely polished with no defects or sharp edges. I really appreciated the level of quality with these. They came exactly how the appeared on the website. At time of writing, the pins sell for £6 each with free 1st class (signed for) shipping on orders over £15 for the UK, with additional options for Europe and Worldwide. I would feel more comfortable at a £5 each price point, but that's just a personal thing as ideally I like to own quite a few pins as a set rather than just owning a select few. The shipping offer certainly helps. More of my Power Up Pins If you're looking to get someone a gift that's a bit different, I think these pins are pretty cool for anyone into gaming, similar to the mini console keyrings, pads, etc. I think once they offer more variety in terms of Sega styles too, I'd like to incorporate them in my Patreon rewards for those who support my YouTube channel and website, or random giveaways (maybe in a retro "Sega vs Nintendo" themed event). I love the art style/design of these and I look forward to seeing what else they do in the future! If you're interested in seeing more of what Power Up Pins have to offer, check out their website at www.poweruppins.com or @PowerUpPins on twitter.

GXP Gaming Blog

GXP Gaming Blog


Golden Axe Review (Sega Genesis / Mega Drive)

Posted: 12 Apr 2017 03:42 AM PDT

Golden Axe Review for the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive

In 1989 Golden Axe was released in the arcades and was a great success. Makoto Uchida, who previously worked on Altered Beast, was said to have wanted to create a game that was inspired by Double Dragon and his love for the Conan films. With SEGA's mission to offer an "arcade at home" experience, it wasn't long before it was ported to the Sega Genesis and Mega Drive. As far as home conversions go, Golden Axe is incredibly faithful to the original with only a few minor differences. Obviously the graphics and sound take a bit of a hit, but the art style is very similar. The enemies no longer stay on screen when they die and the classic ending has changed, but overall the Mega Drive version is impressive with the addition of an extra stage after the original final boss and a duel mode for 2 players. When I was younger I grew up watching Ray Harryhausen movies such as Clash of the Titans and Jason and the Argonauts, which mixed with my Uncle introducing me to Warhammer and Dungeons and Dragons, made me want to experience these kinds of adventures myself. Golden Axe was the first game I remember which allowed me to do this and I absolutely fell in love with it. The ability to play it co-operatively with a friend significantly added to the enjoyment and over the years I've found myself coming back to this time and time again. You can choose to play as Ax Battler (the Barbarian), Tyris Flare (the Amazon), or Gilius Thunderhead (the Dwarf). Each of these are slightly different with Tyris being physically weaker but with more potent magic, Gillius who is physically stronger but lacks punch with his spells, and Ax Battler being somewhere in between. My choice was always Gilius the Dwarf. The basic premise of the game is to defeat Death Adder who has captured the King and his daughter while in possession of the Golden Axe. This adventure has you traversing on the back of a giant turtle, flying on the back of a giant eagle, going through villages and castles while fighting giants, skeletons and beasts which you can even ride to help take on your foes. One such rideable creature is called the "chicken leg", which is a bit strange, and is actually featured in the Altered Beast game. There's nothing better though than jumping onto a dragon and breathing fire on your enemies! At the end of each level and sometimes in between, you'll come across little gnome things with sacks which you can punch and kick to steal their magic and health potions. Each character has a different magic meter, which as you store more magic potions, increases the potency of your spells. These can be very fun to watch, especially when maxed out as you destroy everything on screen. As mentioned previously, the graphics and music for the Mega Drive and Genesis version is impressive for such an early title. In terms of controls, I've never had an issue with them, but I guess by today's standards the characters can feel a little bit slow and sluggish if you're not doing a lot of charge attacks. Of course, this game isn't perfect. The AI can be really dumb sometimes, walking off ledges and it can be frustrating when you're caught in the middle of them attacking from both sides. Fortunately the basic AI can be exploited to your advantage, so it's not all bad. Overall, with nostalgia aside I'd say this game has aged reasonably well. It's simple side-scrolling beat-em-up action is ideal for quick playthroughs with a friend, and as a single player experience it still holds up quite well due to its enjoyable fantasy setting. Sure, it's not quite up to the same standard as Streets of Rage 2, but it's certainly better than Altered Beast in my opinion.  

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