In one corner, we have a gritty, brutal sword and sorcery beat 'em up. In the other, two hyper-adorable reptilian grinners who use bubbles as weapons. The two games could hardly be more different, yet each was highly successful in arcades and has spawned many follow ups over time.
Is there anything better than a nice evening spent with a friend, revisiting a classic co-op game from days of yore? Well, how about doing that for free? Playstation Plus members will be able to do just that starting next month. To celebrate the Sega Genesis Collection's arrival in the Playstation Store, Plus members will get exclusive early access to titles like Golden Axe, Altered Beast, and Streets of Rage 2. Also, Sonic the Hedgehog 2, which just barely has co-op, but hey, it's Sonic, right?
Back in September, we reported that the reimagined Golden Axe game would lack any kind of co-op and that decision seemed to have been the death knell for the game. Today, Gamasutra posted part of a more in-depth interview that their sister publication, Game Developer magzine, had with Secret Level's Michael Boccieri. The interview is a fairly open and honest discussion about the challenges and difficult choices they had to make when they took on the task of bringing Golden Axe into the modern gaming age and is worth a full read. Of particular note, however, Boccieri had this to say about the removal of co-op:
Sometimes, when a game DOESN'T have co-op, it's news worthy. That's certainly the case for the remake/reimagining of one of our favorite co-op classics, Golden Axe. Released next month, Golden Axe: Beast Rider will offer only a single player campaign. That's right, no co-op mode, or any multiplayer features are available at all. To make things worse, you can't even choose among the original three heroes; instead, the player will take on the role of Tyris Flare, only. (To their credit, the developers promise that the other two heroes from the original will be featured in the story). Of course, Tyris is wearing her obviously marketable chain mail bikini, pushing the borders of appropriateness. This is, I suppose, reminiscient of the first Golden Axe. Screenshots and videos indicate that the game is meant to evoke feelings of nostalgia, including beast riding (duh), potion gnomes, and even Black Adder, the big baddie himself. It's too bad they missed the most important aspect: playing through with a friend. Check this quote from Sean Ratcliffe, VP of Marketing at Sega:
The game up for discussion today is the very definition of a co-op classic. Two players can play together, working toward a common goal. In this case, that goal is whacking bad guys on your way to putting the smack down on the big boss, Death Adder. The game is an absolute classic, as well; it spawned several sequels, and its influence can be seen even in upcoming games like Sacred 2 and Diablo 3. In honor of the Olympics, then, I bestow a gold medal on the undisputed Co-Op Classic: Golden Axe.
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