Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Golden Axe II for Sega Genesis (1992)

Original ad published in the April 1992 edition of EGM (no. 31)

Press to view or download image in higher resolution.

A masterpiece of 90s marketing for the Genesis

Following the Conan craze of the 80s, Sega ripped-of  used the movie to inspire the now legendary Golden Axe series. Although the second game of the saga is considered the weakest of the bunch, the artwork you see here was impressive enough to make early Genesis owners dish out 50 bucks for what is basically an identical game to the original.

This is a side-scroller beaten-up. There is nothing outstanding or revolutionary about it. Gamers should remember that the original port of the series was a landmark game for the Genesis/Mega Drive.

With it all its flaws and shortcomings–specially in the sound department–it was faithful conversion of the awesome arcade game people had wasted hours upon hours on. On Sega’s 16-bit home console, it’s right up there with such classics as Altered Beast, Space Harrier, Super Thunderblade and Super Monaco GP.

Maybe the artwork you see here caused too much expectation with gamers. It’s a beautiful homage to the great Frank Frazetta, one of the best “Dark/Medieval Fantasy” artists ever. If you don’t know the kind of art I’m taking about, you should take a look at a few editions of Heavy Metal magazine, which is still sold today in physical form. Another highly regard artist of the genre is the mighty Boris Vallejo.

You’ll find that their artwork and style are remarkably similar to the printed ad you see above. The advertisement was originally a two-page spread, but I’ve opted to highlight the left page of the spread, the first picture you see in this post. Every important character is placed exactly where it should be, there is nothing placed in the absolute center: the rule of thirds is strong with this one. Contrast is phenomenal, movement is implied, and the detail used to illustrate every character is simply astounding. 

The text-based part of the publicity is nothing interesting. Lots of descriptions about your moves and the awesomeness of the Genesis. Still, it’s hard not to the read the bland publicity after admiring the artwork on the counter-page. A true marketing classic.

Golden Axe II for Sega Genesis print ad copy

Golden Axe II. New and improved death, destruction and magic.

You've just escaped from the lava tunnel. A pack of razor-clawed creatures are trying to get to you before the lizard men do. Suddenly the Warrior is slashing his way through a nasty gang of demons. He body slams one and gets two more with his sword. The Amazon does a backflip and tosses off an attacking Minotaur. Now the Dwarf is spinning on his battle axe, devastating several skeletons at once. 

These are moves you've never seen before. The Warrior, Amazon and Dwarf are deadlier, stronger, more agile. Their enemies are more evil. And the magic is killer. 

The warrior summons the wind to blast an enemy. The Amazon strikes down a headless knight with scorching flames. The Dwarf commands huge boulders to flatten his foes. A fire-breathing dragon carries you toward the castle where Dark Gold is waiting to put out your lights.

Golden Axe was murder. This one's worse!

Golden Axe II is one of more than 150 hot games from Genesis. Including Sonic the Hedgehog, Toe Jam & Earl, Spider Man and Joe Montana II SportsTalk Football. Genesis. The lowest price in true 16-bit video systems. The choice is simple. The choice is SEGA.

Sega Geneses
Leading the 16 bit revolution.

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