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Written by Layden   
Sunday, 03 October 2010 09:05

Streets of Rage 2

Developer: Sega
Release date: 1992
Review machine: Sega Genesis/Megadrive



Hard day at work?  Need a game to help thrash out that built-up anger?  Then this is just the game for you!  Streets of Rage 2 follows on from the first game, in terms of plot and gameplay style.  Evil crimelord, Mr X, is free again.  He has captured Adam* from the first game, so Axel enlists the help of Max, Blaze and Skate in order to effect a rescue and clean the streets once again.  What follows is a side-scrolling beat-em-up game in the vein of Final Fight.

The player assumes the role of one of the four characters.  A second player can also join the fun.  The player(s) then traverse each of the 8 levels (usually travelling left to right), fighting against the hoards of bad-guys.  The player's specific combat moves vary depending on the character chosen.  However any character is able to pick up any weapons found lying around.  These take the form of knives, a pipe and a katana.

The levels are high street, bridge, amusement park, sports park, cargo ship, island, factory and office building.  Most levels also incorporate small sub-levels.  For example, the amusement park has a pirate ship section and a Giger-inspired horror section.

sor2 sor3

Gameplay is simply outstanding.  The controls are very easy to master, but still offer enough moves to keep things varied.  Each strike against an opponent feels very satisfying and direct.  Moves range from punches and kicks, to headlocks and headbutts.  Enemies vary from standard henchmen to ninjas and people on jetpacks.  Some of the enemies are very large and formidable indeed.  Fortunately, there are options to vary the difficulty to suit the player's ability.  The pace of the game always feels right.  There are never any quiet moments, but the game also never throws too much at you at one time (unlike some other games of this type).  Each playable character is also sufficiently different from the rest, which also adds replay value.

sor6 sor7

Graphics and audio

Graphics are excellent.  The characters are much larger than those of the first game, but perhaps not as large as those of some other games.  Nevertheless they are well animated and varied.  The backgrounds are also very good, using Sega's 16-bit muscle machine to good effect.

Sound is suprisingly good.  I've never been impressed much by Sega's sound, but the music is superb.  It sounds very professional and just makes me want to get down and boogie!  The sound effects are also crunchingly good.

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Streets of Rage 2 offered little in the way of innovation at the time.  However, what it offers is near perfect gameplay, combined with excellent audio/visuals.  It's one of those games where it doesn't even matter if you get to the next level or complete it.  Just playing it is fun enough.  You'd be hard pressed to find a better scrolling beat-em-up anywhere.



Prequels, sequels and other formats

The first Streets of Rage game featured smaller characters and a rather silly special weapon system.  Streets of Rage 3 is fairly similar to the second game, but the gameplay is much faster.  A bit too fast for me!  In my opinion the second game is the one to play.  The series was never released on other formats of the era, but an emulated version of Streets of Rage 2 is avalable on the XBox 360 via Xbox Live.

*Correction courtesy of DonVincenzo

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