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THE CHALLENGE, WHETHER OR NOT YOU CHOSE TO ACCEPT IT, IS...

25th May 2009

Drum roll please... that's right, Golden Axe 3 is the 20th Tournament Challenge game

...GOLDEN AXE 3

The original arcade classic Golden Axe was one of the three games used in the First Mega Drive Championship. Just three games were ever played of the original Golden Axe before it was replaced by its sequel, Golden Axe 2, which has remained a perminant fixture in Division One. It was a duel on Golden Axe 2 that produced the finest game in the English Mega Drive Championships when, at the Fourth Tournament, Lord Dilks and Doc Shakib fought an epic fifteen minute duel that resulted in a 1-0 victory for Lord Dilks as well as the Fourth Championship title. For a long time a three-way battle for dominance on Golden Axe 2 raged between Doc Shakib, Lord Dilks and Mr Smith, however, with the departure of the latter two, Doc Shakib has been left supreme on this game. Now the final of the Mega Drive trilogy, the Asia only release, Golden Axe 3 will make its debut as the Twentieth Mega Drive Championship Challenge game.

Golden Axe: 1st Mega Drive Championship

Golden Axe 2: 2nd Mega Drive Championship - Present

Golden Axe 3: 20th Mega Drive Championship

The Golden Axe series is highly renowned, however, owing to its Asia only release, the third instalment is often the forgotten game in the trilogy. Golden Axe 3 is much the same as its predecessors. It is a hack and slash game where players fight hordes of enemies in order to retrieve the Golden Axe from another final boss who has taken upon himself to steel the damn thing - a very original story line. For tournamental purposes, this is largely irrelevant. Members will go head-to-head in a knockout. A health bar replaces the ten bars of the previous two games and, as a result, duels are much quicker. Gone are the three familiar warriors from the earlier games, with Tyris Flair, Gilius Thunderhead and Ax Battler (or Hannah, Jimmy and Mike as they are affectionately known) replaced with the option of five fighters: two characters are very similar to Tyris Flair and Ax Battler, there is a giant - albeit a very small giant, a puma-man and a giant eagle. The fighting dynamics have also been tweaked slightly to include blocks, low attacks and each character has their own projectile "special move".

While the Challenge has historically employed a qualification system (namely the top four ranking members from divisions one and two) the benevolent Administration have decided to open the Golden Axe 3 Challenge to all members at the Twentieth Championship. In recent tournaments the Challenge has evolved from the rump contest of the championships to an exciting event anticipated by members and it is believed Golden Axe 3 will continue the trend established by Elitserien '96 and Sonic the Hedgehog. With roots stretching back as far as the Twelfth Mega Drive Championship, the Challenge has been the tournament competition that has been tinkered with the most and is now wholly different from the Super Street Fighter 2 warm-up that preceded the Twelfth and Thirteenth Championships...

HISTORY OF THE CHALLENGE

THE STREET FIGHTER CHALLENGE (12th - 13th Tournaments)

The Challenge competitions can trace their history back to the Street Fighter Challenge - a small knockout introduced following the disbandment of the Tournament Knockout following the Eleventh Mega Drive Championship. Super Street Fighter 2 was always seen as the ideal knockout game, but, regrettably, the random draw process meant it was never used. Not taken seriously, it was more of a warm-up exercise before the league than an intense and passionate elimination. Doc Shakib won both the Street Fighter Challenges, beating Mr Smith in the final on both occasions.

THE GOLDEN LEAF SUPER CUP (14th Tournament)

Commander Graham and Lord Dilks
2nd and 1st in the Fifteenth Tournament Challenge

The Street Fighter Challenge was upgraded to a full competition at the Fourteenth Mega Drive Championship. The original concept was to have the challenge competition format used in the previous two tournaments and extend it to Division Two, with the members in the lower league playing their own version: the Eternal Champions Challenge. Two trophies were purchased for the competitions, however, very late on it was decided that the winner of both challenges should qualify play each other in the Golden Leaf Super Cup, originally intended to be a tie on Golden Axe 2 the game was altered to Super Street Fighter 2 at the eleventh hour. Lord Dilks won the competition against surprise finalist, Dame Yada.

THE CHALLENGE TROPHY (15th - 17th Tournament)

The Street Fighter Challenge, Eternal Champions Challenge and the Golden Leaf Super Cup were amalgamated before the Fifteenth Mega Drive Championship to become part of one larger competition - The Challenge Trophy. It was decided to limit the number of members taking part in the Challenge Trophy to just eight, four from each division, with qualification based on league performance at the previous Mega Drive Championship. Minor alterations included the addition of a third-place play-off on Eternal Champions and the entire competition being played at the beginning of each tournament to reflect the warm up concept of the original Street Fighter Challenge. Lord Dilks won the Challenge Trophy twice in its three tournament history with Commander Graham winning at the Sixteenth Tournament.

ELITSERIEN '96 CHALLENGE (18th Tournament)

By the Seventeenth Mega Drive Championship it was clear the Challenge was becoming a stagnant competition which staked the odds unfairly in favour of the Division One members. The idea that quickly emerged was to scrap the divisional divide and to replace Super Street Fighter 2 and Eternal Champions with one game that rotates each tournament. This also gave the Administration to opportunity to tinker with different structures for the Challenge. The first game to be selected was the Swedish Ice Hockey Simulation, Elitserien '96. Virtually identical to NHL '96, the idea was to provide a level playing field for each participating member. In order to spice up the event further the Elitserien '96 Challenge was made a team game competition, with one player from Division One and one from Division Two making up the four teams that entered the knockout.

Round One

Team Awesome

3

Team Defunct

1

Team Force

1

Team Fast Food

0

Round Two

Team Awesome

1

Team Force

0

Team Defunct

3

Team Fast Food

2

Final Classification

1st

Team Awesome

2nd

Team Force

3rd

Team Defunct

4th

Team Fast Food

18 Tournament Challenge Winners: Team Awesome
Doc Shakib and Professor King

Downloadable .wmv files from the Elitserien '96 Challenge

Team Awesome Vs Team Defunct (8.8MB)

Team Awesome claim victory (3.6MB)

Doc Shakib reflects upon Team Awesome's Challenge win (8.8MB)

Team Awesome collect their trophies (4.3MB)

It was the potent combination of Doc Shakib and Professor King (Team Awesome) who adapted quickest to the Swedish Ice Hockey game. Team Defunct (Lord Dilks & Old Spice Lock) fought hard against Team Awesome in Round One, the score was 1-1 with twenty-three seconds remaining when Team Awesome edged ahead. They went on to score again before the claxon sounded. Team Force (Commander Graham & Baron Von Hooton) secured their place in the final with a 1-0 win over Team Fast Food (Captain Maltby & Lieutenant Gareth). Team Fast Food would proceed to lose 2-3 to Team Defunct in the third-place play-off while Team Awesome went on to triumph and beat Team Force in the final, 1-0.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG CHALLENGE (19th Tournament)

The new style of Challenge provided the Glorious Administration the opportunity to include a number of games which, for one reason or another, are not suitable in either the league or knockout. Sonic the Hedgehog is one of these games that could never work owing to the lack of a 2-player facility, yet this classic that defined a console was one of the first ideas to be plucked from imagination with the alteration of the Challenge. The pre-tournament blurb was fiendishly simple: Race through Green Hill Zone Act 1 in the fastest time possible!

While the Sonic Center (www.soniccenter.org) shows the fastest time achievable in Green Hill Zone Act 1 to be a spectacular 24 seconds, mistimed jumps, incorrectly timed dashes, the pressure of performance and that bloody blue rock near the start, all conspired against the contestants. Professor King produced the slickest run-through and was the only member to score under half a minute. Twenty-nine seconds was his winning time while Commander Graham and Captain Maltby tied for second place with a time of thirty seconds. The biggest shock was Old Spice Lock not being killed by the first badnik - he made it all the way to the first bridge where he was promptly killed by the masher (fish) there.

Final Classification

Time

1st

Professor King

29 Secs

2nd

Captain Maltby

30 Secs

=

Commander Graham

30 Secs

4th

Lieutenant Gareth

31 Secs

5th

Earl Holbrook

32 Secs

=

Fireman Sam

32 Secs

7th

Ambassador Greaves

33 Secs

=

Samurai Taguchi

33 Secs

9th

Liam Forrest Esquire

34 Secs

10th

Doc Shakib

35 Secs

11th

The Plumb

45 Secs

12th

Old Spice Lock

D.N.F.

GOLDEN AXE 3 CHALLENGE (20th Tournament)

Soon to be joining the tomes of Mega Drive Championshipary history, Golden Axe 3 will see the individual focus continue, albeit not with the same pressure expected as was felt during the Sonic the Hedgehog Challenge. Members will look to beat their opponent over one round else they will be eliminated from the competition. Which member will secure that final blow to claim victory in the Challenge? Will those from Division Two be able to upset to odds by beating their higher league opponents? Will Earl Holbrook play a tactical game or just bash buttons in the hope of victory? The answers to these questions will be resolved on Sunday 19th July!

THE ONES TO WATCH

Doc Atheer Shakib

DOC SHAKIB

Challenge Rank:

3rd

Golden Axe Rank:

1st

The most experienced member of the Mega Drive Championships and also the highest ranked overall, Doc Shakib is the best tournament player on Golden Axe 2 and, should he be able to transfer his skills onto the sequel game, will certainly be the one to beat.

Commander Jono Graham

COMMANDER GRAHAM

Challenge Rank:

2nd

Golden Axe Rank:

3rd

Commander Graham is one of the most versatile players in the competitions. He is quick to adapt to games and once he picks up momentum is expected to become nigh impossible to beat. With ambitions of one day securing "the treble" the Golden Axe 3 Challenge will be Commander Graham's first hurdle at the 20th Tournament.

Professor Nathan King

PROFESSOR KING

Challenge Rank:

1st

Golden Axe Rank:

6th

Professor King has won the past two challenge competitions and will looking to make a hat trick of successes. Relegation at the Nineteenth Championship will make him more determined to prove he can still compete at the highest level and although a return to Division One will be his priority, the Challenge offers him the chance to show his skills.

Lieutenant Gareth Smith

LIEUTENANT GARETH

Challenge Rank:

10th

Golden Axe Rank:

2nd

Although Lieutenant Gareth has never impressed in the Challenge, his Golden Axe 2 ranking is excellent. He is one of the better players of the tournaments and the Golden Axe 3 Challenge will be an excellent chance for him to show his competitors that he is a force to be reckoned with.

PREVIOUS ARTICLES

Old Spice Lock Tournamental Tribute

The Changing Face of Mega Drive Championshipary