Video Game Review: Golden Axe II (Sega Genesis)

As I kid, I seemed to like Golden Axe II slightly better than the Sega Genesis port of the original game. However, as an adult, I see this as just more of the same with the only difference being a few new sprites for new enemies and new levels. Other than that, the graphics and the gameplay didn’t improve and this was very obviously just made using the original games assets with some tweaks.

That doesn’t mean that this is bad or a waste of time. The original game is pretty great for what it is and this is just more of that. It’s really just an extension of that already solid game, which is probably why it sold really well and there weren’t too many complaints from players.

I thought that the game was still a lot of fun and I actually found it a bit easier than its predecessor. But then again, I’ve been blowing through all the Golden Axe games, lately, and maybe my skills are just coming back to me after all these years.

In the end, if you’re a fan of the series and specifically the original game’s Genesis version, there really isn’t a reason why you shouldn’t enjoy this one too.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: the other Golden Axe games, as well as the Gauntlet series and other sword and sorcery video games of the 8-bit and 16-bit eras.

Video Game Review: Golden Axe (Sega Genesis)

Since I played some of the Golden Axe arcade games, I wanted to also go back and revisit the versions that were released on the Sega Genesis.

This, being the first, was a port of the original arcade game.

So it plays pretty similarly and has the same general level design. However, you can see where they had to simplify the graphics in parts, as you can’t run an arcade level game on a 16-bit home console and expect it to run as smoothly or at all.

It’s not a big issue, honestly. If I hadn’t just played the arcade version first, I probably wouldn’t have noticed.

I feel like the gameplay, the mechanics, controls and smoothness were pretty consistent with the arcade version. Also, this version is longer and isn’t as quick of an experience as the arcade game, which I blew through rather quickly.

One of the reasons why this was longer and may be even superior to the slightly better looking arcade version, is that it added in a new level. There is also a fun duel mode added to the game, which basically allows you to use these characters in the same way you would in a standard fighting game.

All in all, this is probably one of the best arcade-to-console ports ever made. Its additions outweigh its losses. I only wish I could get infinite continues like I was playing the arcade version with infinite tokens.

Rating: 7.75/10
Pairs well with: the other Golden Axe games, as well as the Gauntlet series and other sword and sorcery video games of the 8-bit and 16-bit eras.

Video Game Review: Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder (Arcade)

I couldn’t get my arcade version of Golden Axe II to play on my RetroPie, so I jumped to this one, which was next in the chronology of Golden Axe arcade releases. I will go back and play Golden Axe II (and III), when I finish up the arcade releases and then start working through the Sega Genesis ones.

As much as the first Golden Axe is my favorite due to nostalgia and how it effected me, as a kid, this one is a pretty cool, expanded version of what they did with the original game.

In this installment, there are more character options. I tend to just stick to the standard barbarian character but the pitchfork guy was an interesting addition, as was the centaur lady, who replaced the Valkyrie character from previous games.

Also, this game has multiple paths to the end. In this, you get to choose which roads you want to take at a few different points. There are also extra rooms to explore in some areas.

The gameplay is essentially the same. However, there are more things you can ride from creatures to powerful, mobile weapons.

This is also a longer game than the original, which I thought ended rather quickly.

Golden Axe: The Revenge of Death Adder is probably the most refined game of the series up to its release. It also has the most options and allows you to have more choices between characters and and where to go.

All in all, this is a solid edition to the series that didn’t just give you more of the same with a few new levels and baddies.

Rating: 8/10
Pairs well with: the other Golden Axe games, as well as the Gauntlet series and other sword and sorcery video games of the 8-bit and 16-bit eras.

Video Game Review: Golden Axe (Arcade)

Golden Axe and its sequels were games that just brought me to a really happy place when I was around early middle school age.

These are simple, side scrolling, beat’em games but they aren’t like the Double Dragon, Streets of Rage or Final Fight series. These are sword and sorcery! And you get to pick between a barbarian warrior, a Valkyrie or an axe-wielding dwarf.

You get to smash foes with weapons, ride on fire-breathing dragons and use awesome magic spells to crush your enemies!

Also, the graphics were stellar for their time and the music and sound effects were badass!

Playing it now, it’s still a lot of fun but it’s slower than I remembered and it’s actually pretty short, as it beat it much quicker than I thought I would. Maybe there’s a difference in the length of the game between the Sega Genesis port and the arcade version. I played the Genesis version much more, as I owned it. Maybe I’ll revisit it at a later date to compare.

Still, this was a lot of fun and it’s a game that’s held up well, even if it’s some archaic 16-bit “smash your enemies” adventure.

Rating: 7.5/10
Pairs well with: the other Golden Axe games, as well as the Gauntlet series and other sword and sorcery video games of the 8-bit and 16-bit eras.