- Beat-‘em-up, Hack and slash
- Developed by Sega AM7
- Published by Sega
- Available on Sega Genesis, Wii Virtual Console, iOS, Windows, PlayStation 2 (via Sega Genesis Collection), PlayStation Portable (via Sega Genesis Collection), PlayStation 3 (via Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection), Xbox 360 (via Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection) [played]
- Released on 1991-12-26 (Genesis), 2007-06-11 (Wii), 2011-04-21 (iOS), 2010-10-26 (Windows) 2006-11-07 (PS2) 2006-11-16 (PSP), 2009-02-10 (PS3, 360)
Sequels are supposed to improve on what has already been established in the first installment. This is true among books, movies, games, whatever. It sure is nice when that’s actually true. Golden Axe 2 is better than the original in almost every way. The controls are improved, the combat is fun, the graphics are better and there’s even more modes to play. However, none of the improvements go far enough to do more than fixing the issues with the first game. This makes Golden Axe II a better game than the first but not much else.
The story for the game is pretty bare bones. A new clan has begun terrorizing Yuria. The three heroes from the first game must stop them and defeat the clan leader, Dark Guld, to reclaim the Golden Axe. That’s it. That’s the whole story. Old side scrolling hack-n-slash titles usually don’t have complex storylines and this is no exception. However, unless you need games to have engaging storylines, it doesn’t detract from the game at all.
Graphically, the game looks like an earlier Genesis title. The game doesn’t have a wide color palette and things on screen can sometimes look kind of mushy and uninspired as a result. However, compared to the first Golden Axe, the game is very much improved. Character models are more detailed and the backgrounds are more complex and convey a sense of place. On the flip side of the presentation spectrum, I can’t remember one song from the game. It’s not particularly bad and some of the tracks are quite good. However, none of them are memorable and I actually had to look up footage of Golden Axe II on YouTube to remind me of them.
Ultimately though, games like this live and die by their gameplay and the gameplay in Golden Axe II is…good. Not great, not amazing, just good, which better than the gameplay in the first game since it was only meh. The hit detection is much improved over the first game, although it’s still lacks that feeling of impact, and everything feels quicker. Controls feel more responsive, as dashing, jumping, attack, anything you do feels more quick to respond. You are now mashing the button not to increase the chances of your character on screen of doing what you want it to do, but to make your character do what it was already doing faster.
One aspect that is greatly improved over the first is how magic is done. You collect magic books by beating up wizards as you go and you have multiple stages of magic, one more powerful than the last. Before, depending on how many bottles you collected, you would do that level of magic. Now, you hold down the button as the magic charges to the level you want. You never had the choice before. It’s touches like that I like and improves the game on a fundamental level.
However, as great as the improvements to the gameplay is, the game stops short of making it great. As I mentioned, hit detection is still an issue, although it’s not as bad. In addition, there’s usually not that many enemies on screen. Also, getting overwhelmed by enemies on each side of you is still an issue in this game. Finally, the Duel mode that’s included in this game is entertaining once but doesn’t really hold your interest, whereas the main story mode will, especially with a friend. I’ll also make a note that this game is easier than the first by a considerable amount. Not everyone sees this as a detriment and there is a difficulty slider to make it easier or harder but it’s worth mentioning.
Overall, Golden Axe II really just reminds me of the first game, only with its issues addressed. Even though the levels are different and there’s a different main villain, Golden Axe II feels like a patched Golden Axe I. And I’m okay with that because it’s still an enjoyable time. If you have nostalgia for this game, I’m sure this will hold up well but for others, playing it on the Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection compilation, which has other great games, is the best way to play this game. It’ll be fun and you’ll enjoy yourself but only slightly more than the first game and for only a bit more longer. Golden Axe II gets a three out of five.
Thanks for reading my review of Golden Axe II! What do you think of Golden Axe II? Did my review help you decided to check it out or ignore it? Leave me a comment down below and let me know! Peace and Love, gamers and players!