System: Sega Genesis
Title: Golden Axe II
Publisher: Sega
Circa: 1991

While only a few years later than the first Golden Axe, this version, exclusive to consoles, made it appearance. While only a little while later, this game offered some needed changes over the original, rounding it out better than it had been. Some things changed in the game, but it did improve nicely.

A bound fiend, “Death Guld” has managed to free himself and amass an army. This army has crushed nations. The original three heroes must once again raise their arms against a mighty foe to save the kingdom.

 The original three return, each seeing some revision to how they handled before.
Ax Battler – Keeps about the same magic meter, of six books, and many of his original attacks. Before his attacks were explosions, now he calls Wind to his aid to devastate his opponents. The biggest change for him is his special. Now, he swings his sword, turns, jumps and comes down slashing.

Trya – While her Magic bar remains unchanged, as does her powerful spell, she seems to have picked up some swing speed. Her magic remains oriented toward dragons though, and charging up unleashes a spell that will virtually kill a boss. Her special attack has also changed. She now does a quick Kick Flip that will hit enemies in front of her and behind her.

Gillus – Again, no real change to statistics here, short magic bar at four books. Now he calls on Boulders to crush his opponents. His attack chain has not changed, but his special was greatly improved. He now plants his axe on the ground then does a quick spin on its handle, hitting all enemies nearby. After how annoying his original was to control, this change is more than welcome.

The environment seems to aid you a little more in this one as well. Before there were only a few holes you or your enemies could fall into. Now, they seem to appear with much greater frequency. Another change of note is the inclusion, this time, of the ability to throw your opponent into another enemy and have them hit each other. While absent from the original game, it makes its appearance here. This feature is a very welcome addition to the game.

Again, there is a Duel Mode, where you can fight against increasingly challenging opponents or against your friend.

Much like the original you can go head to head in the Duel Mode or you can fight side by side and press through the game.

This remains virtually unchanged from the first game.  The biggest difference is you can charge your magic meter to unleash an even more powerful spell. This is unique to this particular game in the series, no other has this ability.

It is very surprising to see the changes that just two years did for the game. The characters got slight overhauls in appearance, but that is a nice change. It gives them a little more realistic appearance than their former pixilated selves.

Sound Effects & Music
The sound effects improved slightly, there are now two sounds when things die: one for you, one for enemies. There is now a change of music when you take on a boss, which is a good change over the original. Sound effects are a bit more frequent now, some do get a little old because of sheer repetition, but of better quality than the original.

As this is only found in Sega Genesis collections and on the Genesis itself, it is not widely known.

Summary/Author’s Take
While I have found that I am not serious fan of the series, it still was worth exploring a bit just to see some of the other games in a very good genre for the Genesis. It is not a series I will be exploring fully for quite a while, but it is still something for an early game with creatures you can ride and fight on. It also proved to be an unique game in the series, as it was the only one where the player can charge up their magic to unleash an even more powerful spell.

Story: 82%                As good as the original.
Gameplay: 84%            Slight changes to the character’s style, for the better.
Multiplayer: 88%            On par with the original.
Controls: 92%            Same.
Graphics: 81%            Nice, if simple, improvements.
SFX & Music: 78%            Slight improvements.
Obscurity: 45%            Golden Axe II? What?
Overall: 88%                A nice brawler, not great, but nice.