Streets of Rage 2 Review

Streets of Rage 2 mega drive box art

Hands down one of the finest street brawler games ever produced!

Story

The ex police officers Alex, Blaze and Adam celebrate past times at their favorite nightspot. The following day Alex receives a distressed call from Adam’s brother Eddie, stating that their home is has been thrashed, and that Adam is missing. Alex gets a bad feeling and immediately calls Blaze to meet up at Adam’s house. The home is indeed in a mess, and a photo of Adam chained at the feet of a man they recognize as Mr. X is what they find.

Now they must rescue their friend while crime rates rocket once again – the syndicate is back. Alex and Blaze, together with their friends Eddie and Max walk shoulder to shoulder in the streets or rage!

The Game

Streets of Rage 2 is an arcade-style side scrolling Beat ’em Up that takes you from the darkest back alleys to the secret headquarters of an infamous gangster boss. It is non-stop action from start to end. The setting is dark, extremely violent and gritty even. On the surface this is a simple and standard game, but it really has depth – the fighting is dynamic and you have lots of moves to use and the challenge level stays high throughout the entire game.

Content

The game runs like a dream. The controls are very easy to learn, and you will always have new moves and tactics to learn thanks to the underlying complexity of the game mechanics. There are four different characters to play – each with their own strengths, weaknesses and fighting styles. Each character has unique special powers and they are roughly equally competent.

The game takes place in many different settings, like the dark alleys where knife wielding punks rule, a bar, a video arcade, a theme park, a pirate ship, the jungle and so on. All together there are 8 stages, separated into different sub stages – lots of sights to see. To fight your way through all these is a lengthy ordeal indeed, and best experienced in the two-player co-op mode.

StreetsOfRage2-4You will face all kinds of scum of the streets. There’ll be thugs in all sizes and shapes, punks, motorcycle gangs, ninjas, thai-boxers and more. All kinds of crazy people will do what they can to protect their crime lord Mr. X. Occasionally you can find weapons – there are swords, knives, pipes, hand-grenades and ninja weapons that you either use or see them being used against you. To make things worse, there are some truly insane bosses between the levels too. The bosses in this game are typically incredibly strong and will take you by surprise if you aren’t prepared for them. What’s remarkable about this game is that you can discover new tactics naturally – for example you could have your co-op partner grab an enemy while you beat it senseless, or you could throw enemies off of ledges.

Once you play the game a few times (chances are that you will want to replay again and again), you will eventually become better and better, and make it further and further into the headquarters of Mr. X. But the challenge doesn’t end once you beat the game; you can use a secret code to unlock the hardest difficulty level called “mania”, where the ultimate challenge lies. Enemies will be relentless, they will be tough as rock, hit you hard and most likely pound you to the ground.

As an added bonus, there is a Duel mode where you fight one-on-one against another player controlled opponent. It’s pretty basic but you can choose whether weapons are allowed and in which stage the duel takes place. This could also serve as a training mode where you can gauge (or at least roughly estimate) the damage output of all the various punches, kicks, jumping attacks, grabs, throws and combinations of them.

Graphics

The graphics are super crisp, colorful, and really looks like an arcade game. The visuals really set the mood of the game – the glimmering lights from the city in the night, the dim street lights that light up just enough to see the pavement in front of you – it’s all there and it’s the ultimate 16-bit rendition of a big city. The animation is also snappy and every punch and kick looks great. The characters on-screen are detailed and it is a joy to see them bust heads in a contrasty game world like this.

Sound

Musically this game is a masterpiece like no other. Every tune fits right in and builds upon experimental techno and electronic beats. The soundtrack will instantly grab you from the title screen with its melancholic and gloomy beat right into the action – and it is sure to cling on to you for many years. Simply put, this game is filled with kick-ass music. Every single tune is a masterpiece.

The sound effects are also spectacular. Every blow and kick that lands make these epic smash-sounds that never get old. The thugs scream in pain when defeated and the overall quality of the sound is just perfect.

Summary

As you can see, this game is massive in every imaginable way. It’ll take you hours to fight your way through the stages, but you will notice that time flies once you start to play. The game is an awesome challenge, fun to play in co-op and has a lot of replay value. Once you get hooked you will return to it over and over again for years to come – because this really is one of the best Beat ’em Up games ever made.

Developed By: Ancient
Published By: Sega
Version Reviewed: Sega Mega Drive
Genre: Beat ’em Up
Players: 1-2
Also Available On: Master System, Wii, Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Released: 1993-09-27

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