The passing years are not friendly to old school brawlers, but such is not the case with Golden Axe II. A game set in a mid-evil fantasy world were a dark lord is unleashing his destructive army on all the lands. The story is simple, but adds a nice (rather well done) background to the constant smashing and clashing of swords and muscle. I have to say, I did not think that I would like Golden Axe II as much as I did (especially since I didn't care at all for the original). But this is a darn fine sequel, it out does its fore-father by a long shot. Unlike the first Golden Axe, Golden Axe II has solid controls, addictive gameplay and beautifully rendered characters and environments.
Also unlike its predecessor, golden Axe II gives the player plenty of retries and is both fare and not too difficult. When you die, you simply re-spawn at the exact spot you died, and when you run out of all lives you still get to continue right from where you left off (that's right, none of that "I died and now have to restart the whole mission" stuff).
Also, there is magic that the player can use, which is mighty helpful when in a tuff spot. Activate your magic and a fiery storm will descend upon your advisories nocking them to the ground and chipping away at their health.
Although I enjoyed this game a lot, there were moments that I found to be somewhat frustrating, like when your character is surrounded by multiple enemies and they keep nocking you down, and when you're trying to smack those little blue guys so that they'll drop potions (which are used to fill up your magic bar).
One great addition to this game is the fact that you can play with a friend, which only adds to the already fun experience, and the fact that there is a duel mode, which lets the player(s) see how long they can survive seamlessly never ending rounds of an onslaught of warriors, beasts and monsters.
The only thing that I found to be disappointing about Golden Axe II, is how truly short it is (around 40 minutes or less for the arcade mode). But at least, unlike certain other types of games, a good brawler is always something you can keep coming back to and can keep on replaying it... over and over again.
Overall, Golden Axe II is a game that even today still packs quite a super charged, fun filled, experience. A darn fine brawler... I highly recommend it.