A former cop and martial artist who loves video games. He is best friends with Adam Hunter, Blaze Fielding and Max "Thunder" Hatchett and gets along well with Eddie "Skate" Hunter. It is unknown when, but as a strong martial artist training, he comes to know Shiva is his rival with evil intentions.
A former police detective in the first game, he later opened his own karate dojo in the outskirts of the city (although in the Japanese Bare Knuckle 3 storyline, he is actually transferred to the Special Investigation department).
Streets of Rage
Axel makes his debut in 1991's Streets of Rage as one of the three cops who quit the city's corrupt police force, in order to personally hunt down the syndicate leader themselves. Along with Adam Hunter and Blaze Fielding, he manages to defeat the syndicate leader (later named Mr. X) in his own headquarters.
Streets of Rage 2
One year later on the anniversary of Mr. X's defeat, Axel (who has left the city to run a martial arts dojo/become a bodyguard in the EU/Canada manual) discovers that Adam has been kidnapped by a returned Mr. X, as a lure to bring Axel and Blaze to him in retaliation for his prior defeat. Along with Blaze, He joins up with Max Thunder and Adam's kid brother "Skate" to defeat Mr. X once again and free Adam and the city.
Bare Knuckle III (Japan)
BKIII has Axel rejoining the police force after the events of Streets of Rage 2, and aiding Blaze and newcomer Zan in trying to uncover and prevent bombs hidden throughout the city from detonating, as well as fighting off a new group called Neo-Chaos.
Streets of Rage 3 (US)
In this Sega of America produced version (edited to lighten the game's tone), Axel is still running a dojo outside the city, and is called on by Blaze to assist her, Skate and newcomer and ex-syndicate member Dr. Zan in shutting down a seemingly resurrected Syndicate.
Axel is shown as the leader of the group, due to his prominence, all-around skills, and "classic beat-em-up look". In SOR3, he plays the role of a slow-but-powerful character, succeeding Max from SOR2 as well as Adam from SOR1.
Axel seems to use a mixture of boxing, karate, kickboxing and street fighting moves to create his fighting style. Flames are used to give some of his moves a visual flare, but are never used to actually burn/immolate his enemies.