While taking screenshots for the last entry, I tried out every version of Golden Axe supported by MAME, just for the hell of it. I was half-hoping to find the rumored bootleg edition that had been hacked so that enemies spurt blood and collapse into a pile of gore when killed.
Sadly, the Rated M for Mature version of Golden Axe doesn’t seem to exist. As Hardcore Gaming 101 notes, the closest we got to such a thing was the Japanese release, which — you may want to sit down for this — has blood dripping from the words “Select Player” on the character selection screen.
After letting the game loop through its attract mode a couple of times, though, I discovered another difference that HG101 didn’t catch. This delightful little vignette is exclusive to the Set 4, Japan version of Golden Axe, and is not found in any other official release:
(Please send your children out of the room before clicking through.)