Happy Monday everyone, Christmas is firmly on it’s way, so please check out our gifts section! Anyway, today’s review is a sequel to one of the holy grail games produced from Sega…
Golden Axe II on the Sega Megadrive/Genesis
Plot? yes it has one…and it goes a little something like this…
The evil lord Dark Guld should have been put away for good the last time he was defeated in battle. But now he has recouped and is back in full force. And he’s accompanied by his clan of evil followers who are creepier, slimier and more disgusting than ever. Dark Guld has come for revenge and he is driven by the desire to see this world revert to chaos. He has taken the powerful Golden Axe, which is a symbol of peace and prosperity, to use for his own evil purposes. His creatures terrorize every town they descend upon. Someone must put a stop to this horror!
Once again, three warriors stand up to face the oppressors. One is Ax-Battler, the fierce barbarian; the second is Tyris-Flare, the ferocious Amazon; and the third is Gilius Thunderhead, the fearless dwarf. They are willing to risk their lives to put a stop to the terror. They won’t rest easy until the Golden Axe is returned to its rightful place.
Its time to start the long journey through enemy-infested territory. Don’t let the strange reptilian enemy creatures frighten you, because you’ll need every ounce of courage you can muster. Fight onward until you reach the final showdown, a battle with Dark Guld himself!
Gripping stuff eh?….so as we load up the game and take our first look at our selectable characters…we see the dear return of the original trio from the first game. Ax Battler, Tyris Flare and Gillius Thunderhead. No expansion on new characters in the game at all, but hey, that’s OK, it worked for the original Golden Axe. When you begin the game you see that not a great deal has changed, apart from the graphics which have had a rather size-able upgrade from it’s baby brother. To me this game felt like the original game wrapped up in new clothes, not a lot felt new really. The attacks and animations were slightly better this time, but the games mechanics are still the same, flawed in respect that bad guys are programmed to follow your every movement on the screen….you go up, so do they, you go down, they follow…so you can easily trick them into simply walking into pits or off ledges into oblivion really easily. Your character has 4 basic attacks you can use in the game, running attack, jumping attack, standard attack and magic power. Magic power has had a new mechanic put in place which is quite good to be honest. You gain magic by collecting spell books from certain bad guys, which boost your magic power bar. Once you have magic you can choose 1 of2 ways in which to use it, Tyris is a good example of this, as her magic pool is the largest of the 3 characters. Once you fill the magic up to stage 6 you can either expel small damaging spells by hitting the magic button once, or hold it down for a massive damage super spell instead, this is quite a nice addition to the game as it gives you more control over how much magic you want to use at any one time. The game does feel more of a re-skin than a new adventure, with new mob types but obviously molded over the original skeletons from the first game. Bad guys come in a limited flavour , with less bad guy models than in the original, which is a bit lazy. Ride-able beasts once again make their presence felt, even if it is a little too easy to get knocked off one once on it. The background graphics are nothing special really, very reminiscent of the first game, I guess that’s cool if you like a memory lane type trip with games.
Graphics:- Nice to see a lot of the character designs have been upgraded now, shame that you can tell which models they used for each though, enemy colour schemes are a little odd too, with some of them wearing pink armour, there’s something that just doesn’t seem scary about a headless knight in a pink suit of armour…what were they thinking! but on the whole, the new touches are nice good on the eye.
Sound:- The music is very well delivered, nice atmospheric kick ass themes as you go through the game, some nice nods to the original score as well. The in-game sounds are downright disappointing, the bad guys death noise is a very amusing “BLEH” sound, would be more at home in a cartoon than in a game of swords and sorcery.
Overall:- A nice attempt at keeping the franchise alive and well, with a disappointingly short experience and not much of a challenge to reach the end game, I suggest putting the difficulty on hard mode to get the most from it. Re-hash of older model skeletons with new skins is lazy, but the new character designs are welcomed. Play if you enjoyed the original Golden Axe, but for those that want a challenging breath of fresh air, probably best to move on and find something else.