Sega/Shin Force |
Golden Axe II

Sega/Shin Force > Games > Elite Series > Golden Axe > Golden Axe II

Golden Axe Series Golden Axe II :: Reviews
Sega AM7
Dec. 27, 1991 
Dec. 26, 1991
Hack 'n' slash
     > Let me start by saying I love medieval fantasy. I love the idea of armored knights fighting back the night. That's why I played a paladin in World of Warcraft even though it was a forever broken class.

     > Now let's go back in time for a moment. Golden Axe was originally an arcade game that was later converted to the Genesis/Mega Drive and is remembered fondly as a game that helped define the console. Golden Axe is basically a side scrolling hack and slash game much like the side scrolling beat 'em ups from the same era like Double Dragon and Streets of Rage where you can move up and down 2D locations that create the illusion of depth, but set in a medieval fantasy world. Guardian Heroes for the Saturn is the pinnacle of this genre.

     > Golden Axe II is the Genesis sequel to the original Golden Axe that was made for the arcades and Genesis. Of course it is. That's why it's called Golden Axe II I hear you say. What people might not know is that this isn't the true sequel to Golden Axe. The true sequel to Golden Axe was called The Revenge of Death Adder and it was only made for the arcades. Why you ask? It's simple: the Genesis couldn't handle a perfect conversion, so Sega decided to make a Genesis exclusive sequel instead. 

     > Golden Axe II is basically more of the same gameplay as the original. You choose one out of three characters just like the first game and hack and slash your way through armies of evil. You can choose either Ax Battler who is a male barbarian with huge muscles who makes you feel like less of a man, Tyris Flare who is a beautiful barely dressed curvacious female warrior who is obviously meant to draw male attention, and Gilius Thunderhead who is a stereotypical angry dwarf with a huge axe.

     > The graphics are less colorful than the first game. Don't ask me why. It was probably done to free up more memory for enemies and animations. The graphics almost seem diluted compared to the original game. Nevertheless, the art is great. Maybe it's nostalgia talking but I think the original game was perfect, and it's impossible to beat perfection. Overall, the original game is simply better. Be that as it may, you will see many enemies on screen at the same time. Swords leave trails when swung which makes the game more aesthetically and artistically pleasing.

     > The enemies are like the first game but now there are even more evil looking enemies. My personal favorite enemies are the headless knights; they really do look evil. The art looks serious and medieval despite being old. Like the original game and other games in this genre, you will fight lots of clones of varying colors, but the last boss is unique. The last boss is a giant evil armor plated knight who needs to be in more games. The AOE spells look good too while being different from the first game which already had impressive spells.

     > The controls are more or less the same as the first game. You can perform combination attacks, ram enemies (Gilius uses his horned helmet like a true dwarf), throw enemies, use AOE spells and ride beasts of burden that breathe fire or can kick and tail lash enemies. It's fast and fun, assuming you enjoy side scrolling beat 'em ups.
     > There are both positives and negatives in the sound department. On one hand, the sound effects sound softer and weaker than the original game. Again, I don't know why, but it is what it is. This isn't the game's strongest area. Death cries sound scrambled which grates on your nerves. On the other hand, the music is much more epic than the first game. The positives outweigh the negatives. The gameplay and music compensate for the game's shortcomings. Like before, you will hear sword slashes and death cries and other attack sounds including magical attacks.
     > Golden Axe II is more of the same as the first game. This can also be played with a friend. There's lots of hack 'n' slash fun to be found here while you feel like you are on an epic adventure thanks to some good atmospheric music. There's also a duel mode where you can fight enemies 1v1 who become increasingly harder.

     > Golden Axe is an intellectual property that I wish Sega had taken more seriously. Medieval fantasy has always been insanely popular, as other franchises have proven (such as Lord of the Rings). That was wasted potential.

Bottom Line
     > Golden Axe II is better than the original game in some ways and worse in others. The lack of color compared to the first game and softer sound effects drive me mad because I expected the series to improve, not decay, but if you can live with that then this is a good game. Unfortunately Golden Axe II hasn't aged well. 

I wish that The Revenge of Death Adder had been released on the Saturn. It still looks great even today thanks to a large color pallet and large detailed sprites. It deserves a home release. Oh well. There's nothing we can do about that now. In any case, I'm glad these games exist. Golden Axe I and II and especially The Revenge of Death Adder deserve to be remembered. If you like the side scrolling beat 'em ups and hack 'n' slash games of yesteryear then you might enjoy Golden Axe II.

Overall: 8.1/10 | Graphics: 8 | Control: 9 | Sound: 7.5 | Fun: 8
~ G. Duke ~

[ << BACK ][TOP /\ ][ FORWARD >> ]
All images and logos are the copyright of their respective owner.