Golden Axe II review - Sega Megadrive
What the Mean Machines staff thought
As a big fan of the original, I can only express my disappointment at this sequel. All the programmers have done is altered the graphics, changed the magic spells and given each player a new special move (none of which are any good). Otherwise it's exactly the same as the original. The gameplay's basically identical, the dinosaurs are all very similar, the music is worse, the baddies are killed using exactly the same tactics, the map layouts are surprisingly similar, and, to cap it all, it's not even as challenging as the original - I finished it on my first go! If you already own Golden Axe, Golden Axe II simply doesn't offer enough challenge or new features to be worth buying, and if you don't, buy the original game instead - it's far more fun.
Despite all the improvements made in Golden Axe II, it somehow isn't as enjoyable as the original. For one thing it lacks atmosphere, there's no real sense of involvement. The graphics are a mixed bag, really, with some excellent sprites but some surprisingly poor backgrounds. The sound is also disappointing, with few decent effects and weedy tunes accompanying the action. If you haven't got the original, I suppose Golden Axe II might be a worthwhile purchase. But to be honest, the original game is of a more consistent quality, is more challenging and is ultimately a lot more fun.
When the first solitary screenshot of Golden Axe 2 appeared in Mean Machines, I nearly wet my Spiderman Y-fronts. Being a massive fan of the original I simply could not wait to play this - graphically, it looked even better than the (amazing) first game. As the MM team quite rightly point out, this actually turned out to be a disappointingly lazy update by Sega. The core gameplay remains entirely unchanged. However, having said that, the graphics are better and although the complete audio package isn't up to the standard set by the original (the sound effects are terrible - most of them sound like someone farting in a bath), some of the tunes really are amazing (the opening levels background music remains one of my all-time favourite Megadrive themes). It's a shame that Sega expected the general public to pay good money for a game they'd already played to death over a year beforehand, but Golden Axe 2 is still a worthy purchase for fans of the series.
Have your say about this review
Tris Wicks - 05 Nov 2008, 04:45 GMT
Damo's spot on. What squandered potential when the original was so great. Disappointment aside, some in game tunes and faster, superior playability make this a worthy play even today. Gotta love it.
Dan - 11 Mar 2009, 09:23 GMT
Inferior to the original, simple as. Still not a bad game, but the minor changes are pretty much all for the worse (although I did like the new beast you could ride), the levels are more bland, and overall the game had less character.
Still a decent game, but overshadowed by it's classic of a predecessor.
Stayrsaigh - 21 Mar 2009, 21:12 GMT
I think I may be the only person that actually really liked this game. Yes it was just a clone of the original but that's no bad thing, I thought some of the graphical effects in the later levels were superb and the music was fantastic and gave a real "Clash of The titans" sort of feel! It certinly could have been made better with some more moves or characters and made a wee bitty harder but the thing that let it down for me was the hideous, ghastly sound effects which would sound more at home on a speccy than a Megadrive!
mitzibishi - 22 Jul 2009, 03:44 GMT
its like double dragon>double dragon 2. change the backgrounds and sprites a little, with new music and voila! the sequel!
Hunter - 27 Oct 2010, 11:25 GMT
I thought the comments from MM were really mean at the time. When my friend picked this up when it came out, we thought it was great. A perfect extension of the original, essentially adding new levels and baddies to the formula. Nowt wrong with that is there? Golden Axe 3 on the other hand, is utter utter rubbish. I think the first one maybe the best, but I can't complain at this console exclusive sequel.
Jaz's Sheep - 20 Dec 2010, 13:41 GMT
Spot on mitzibishi!
Tim Chuma - 22 May 2013, 11:31 GMT
I never played the game on the Megadrive, but I did get it on the "Ultimate Collection" for the Xbox 360, it's a bit bland. The third one is just terrible. Golden Axe II in the arcade does look interesting though.