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Legendary Axe II: Why the Critics Were Disappointed in 1991
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on August 20, 2014   |   Episode 84 (Show Archive)  


Legendary Axe II (TurboGrafx-16)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

For many critics, The Legendary Axe was the first must-own game on the TurboGrafx-16. It was a gorgeous action game that you couldn't find on any other system, and the critics couldn't get enough. But the same could not be said for Legendary Axe II, the speedy sequel that came with a dark secret. Find out why old school magazines were disappointed when you read this brand new episode of Review Crew.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

Legendary Axe II
[ Company: NEC | Console: TurboGrafx ]

91% out of 100%

"Over the last few months, the Engine's been on the receiving end of quite a few sword-slingers (such as the so-so Rastan II), and none were game enough to stand up to the original Legendary Axe. Now the sequel is here, and it's not only as good as the original - it actually improves on it! The graphics are brilliantly drawn - dark and eerie backdrops with creatures and of the night leaping hither and thither." -Robert Swan

8 out of 10

"Legendary Axe II doesn't follow in the footsteps of the first game, mainly because in Japan Legendary Axe II is called The Dark Legend and is a different game entirely. This certainly doesn't take away from the game play. The main ingredients it takes to make a good game are present. Though the graphics are not up to the standards of Legendary Axe, they're still good. Believe me, it won't take long for this one to win your hearts."

(The 1991 Video Game Buyer's Guide)
8 out of 10

"I liked Axe 2 alot [sic], the game looks and sounds great, and the variety of weapons is cool. While the game is a little too short and easy, it is executed very well and has very cool bosses. I miss the good old power meter." -Matrin

ENTERTAINMENT (November 1990)
8 out of 10

"The first game was really fun to play -- even when you were killed off, it was fun to restart and go again. Some of the areas in Axe II are somewhat though to get through and not even the least big fun to play. There were times I got killed and just shut my TG-16 off to do something else. I was so frustrated that I felt I was wasting my time. As a stand-alone this game is fair, but as a sequel to Axe -- well, it just doesn't cut it." -L.P.

GAMEPRO (November 1990)
4 out of 5

"Legendary Axe II has the same magic as the first version, but with snazzier graphics. You get more power-ups here so you can stay in the hunt longer, enhancing the game's arcade feel There's also a better variety of enemies. If you like thumb-numbing, hack-em, slash-em action, give this sequel a try! Remember, you axed for it!" -David Winstead

(The 1991 Video Game Buyer's Guide)
7 out of 10

"This just isn't the same game as Legendary Axe. While the first game was perfect in almost every respect, this game is dark and not as fun to play. It's not bad, but it's not the true sequel to Legendary Axe that I was waiting for." -Ed

68% out of 100%

"Admittedly, the game does look remarkably like Rastan Saga II also released this month. Unfortunately the game has changed little from itsSadly [sic], the graphics haven't improved much, neither has the sound, in fact, there are far better games available for the Engine."

(The 1991 Video Game Buyer's Guide)
6 out of 10

"This is not a sequel! The character looks different, and fights differently. It's not a bad game, there's just nothing new or interesting! More like Rastan than Axe, Axe 2 simply borrows their ideas." -Sushi X
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 75% - Legendary Axe II did not leave a good impression with the critics. While CVG loved the game, most complained that it didn't feel anything like the original Legendary Axe, one of the TurboGrafx-16's earliest must-own titles. Although many griped about the changes, only Turbo Play took the time to explain that the difference was "because in Japan Legendary Axe II is called The Dark Legend and is a different game entirely."

Whether they knew this nugget of information or not, critics were not pleased with what NEC was passing off as a sequel. "This is not a sequel," proclaims Sushi-X. Video Games & Computer Entertainment called the game a waste of time, even talked about shutting off the system at times. And Raze was so upset that they couldn't even finish a sentence. With everybody up in arms about the drop in quality, it's no wonder Legendary Axe II averaged a disappointing 75%.

WHAT ABOUT LEGENDARY AXE 1? Although a number of magazines covered the original Legendary Axe, few critics gave it a proper score. The one exception was Electronic Gaming Monthly, which reviewed it in their third issue. "The Legendary Axe is one of my favorites," Steve said right before giving the game a 9 out of 10. The other three editors gave the title an 8, calling it "One of the best action/adventure games I've ever seen" and "a great game!" As a quick aside, Video Games & Computer Entertainment may not have given a proper review score, but they did reward The Legendary Axe with their Game of the Year award in 1989. The same cannot be said about Legendary Axe II.

ON FRIDAY'S EPISODE: Who needs a Legendary Axe when you can use a Golden Axe? That's right; the Review Crew will be taking a look at one of Sega's most popular brawlers. Was this arcade port a reason to pick up the Genesis, or did critics get bored of hammering the same button for an hour straight? Find out on Friday when the Review Crew targets Golden Axe. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!




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