North America has a pretty decent Virtual Console line up this week with Golden Axe II and Sonic the Hedgehog 2 being sold for 800 points ($8) each. While I had good memories of the Golden Axe games I went back to play Golden Axe II on my Sega CDX a few weeks ago and it wasn’t that great. Limited combos, drab graphics and it’s hard to overlook other similar games like Streets of Rage 2 that are much better. The value of the Ax Battler’s adventure isn’t high either, since there are only six button mashing levels. It’s hardly worth your money when you can get another Sega classic this week, Sonic the Hedgehog 2.
The odd ball release is NES version of Lode Runner. Battle Lode Runner is already up on the Virtual Console and its excellent multiplayer mode makes Lode Runner sort of a lost cause.
Lode Runner(R) (NES(R), 1-2 players, Rated E for Everyone, 500 Wii Points): This landmark action-puzzle game has been a worldwide fixture in video games from the moment of its inception until today, producing many sequels and related products along the way. The player controls the hero, or “Runner,” who collects gold nuggets located around every stage, all the while avoiding capture by enemy robots. The action itself is simple, but the stages are designed as increasingly challenging puzzles, and none of the 50 stages is as easy as it seems. The Runner avoids enemies by digging holes in the floor to the right and left of his position—by doing this, he can clear a path to places that, at first glance, seem unreachable. Players must use their brains to collect all the gold nuggets in every puzzling stage if they want to escape to the next. In addition to normal play, this version of the game features an Edit Mode that allows players to design their own stages, adding a new level of enjoyment to the game.
Sonic the Hedgehog(TM) 2 (Sega Genesis, 1-2 players, Rated E for Everyone, 800 Wii Points): Dr. Eggman (aka Dr. Robotnik) is back to continue his zealous search for the Chaos Emeralds needed to fuel his new Death Egg contraption. The evil doctor secretly follows Sonic to his vacation spot, Westside Island, and launches a full-scale attack, imprisoning all the helpless animals of the island and turning them into mindless worker drones. Now Sonic must thwart the doctor’s plans at all costs. This time he isn’t alone, as a peculiar two-tailed fox named Miles Prower (aka Tails) decides to aid him in the battle. Together they must locate the Chaos Emeralds before Dr. Eggman does, and put an end to his diabolical scheme.
Golden Axe(TM) II (Sega Genesis, 1-2 players, Rated E10+ for Everyone 10 and Older – Fantasy Violence, 800 Wii Points): Not long after the devastating reign of the wicked Death Adder, another evil arose. Dark Guld and his minions invaded and took hold of the prized Golden Axe with plans to destroy it. Once again, as a fierce barbarian named Ax-Battler, a fearless female Amazon known as Tyris-Flare or a ferocious dwarf named Gilius Thunderhead, you will wield steely swords and powerful magic in an all-out war to recover the sword. Once you slash your way through the six side-scrolling levels, you’ll get the chance to defeat Dark Guld once and for all.