Written by  :  ETJB (450)
Written on  :  Apr 11, 2014
Platform  :  Genesis
Rating  :  3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars3.75 Stars
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More Silver Than Golden

The Good

The first Golden Axe game found well-deserved success both as a coin-op, arcade game and as a Genesis (or Mega Drive) home console port.

One successful video game was probably going to get a sequel -- especially in the early 1990s when Nintendo and Sega were in fierce competition -- and I can certainly appreciate much of the thought process that went into developing Golden Axe II.

Golden Axe II keeps the fantasy setting and basic game play mechanics of the first game. Each of the three characters from the first Golden Axe return in the sequel to do battle, again, and they many of the same sort of offensive and defense moves found in the first game.

During the game's action, you can -- like the first Golden Axe game -- collect icons to restore your health and perform certain, magical attacks.

Sometimes -- like the first Golden Axe game -- you can ride on a strange creature. OK, did they actually change anything in Golden Axe II? Yes, they did.

The "back attack" move in the first Golden Axe was revised into an attack that hits enemies from all sides.

The sequel allows you to throw enemies in either direction (which makes it easier to hit other enemies or toss them off a cliff) and a very good change was made to the magic attacks.

The first game automatically used up all of the magic your character had in one shot. The sequel allowed you to choose how much magic you wanted to use up.

Golden Axe II also introduced two types of games ones. One is the standard, side-scrolling, 1 or 2-player game. The other puts the player in an arena whereby you have to battle various enemies.

Beyond that, Golden Axe II gives the characters slight changes in their wardrobe and their does seem to be some, variation in the how long the character's weapon is.

The Bad

The control modifications in Golden Axe II are quite good, but they are the only thing that developers really improved upon from Golden Axe I.

The visual and audio effects in Golden Axe II are something of a mixed bag. The sequel does use some nice FX (mostly later on in the game) and yes, the music is quite catchy.

However, the sound effects in Golden Axe II are laughably bad and detract from the good music. Seriously, I cannot imagine how no one in Sega didn't write a memo about the need to fix the game's sound effects.

Overall the graphics do not really seem to be a significant improvement from the first Golden Axe game and, with few exemptions, the visuals in the sequel seem a tad rushed and overwhelming.

Maybe it is just me, but the characters (and backgrounds) actually seem a bit smaller and less detailed in Golden Axe II.

The Bottom Line

Golden Axe II has better and smoother control then its predecessor, which makes it more fun to play. The game's musical score is also quite nice, but most of the game's sound effects and graphics are, at best, underwhelming. It is fun to play, but it's less golden and more of a silver axe.