If you asked me ‘of all the games that I had on the Sega Genesis which stood out among the rest and which one still gets playtime’ then there is only one answer… Streets of Rage 2.
Developed by Sega Streets of Rage 2 is a side scrolling beat-em up set over 8 levels of punk-punching thug kicking glory. Hopefully, over the course of this review I will be able to tell you just why I still hold a flame for this fantastic button bashing piece of gaming goodness.
Streets of Rage 2 follows on from the events of its predecessor Streets of Rage.
A year has passed since the events of Streets of Rage. Axel has begun working as a part-time bodyguard and Blaze teaches dance classes. Adam has since gone back to being a cop and now lives in a small house with his younger brother, Skate.
Axel receives a phone call from Skate, saying that as he arrived home from school he found find his house in ruin and his older brother missing. Attached to the front door was a picture of Adam chained to a wall at the feet of Mr. X, the antagonist of the first game. Criminal activity increases, and the heroes realise that Mr X is pissed and looking for revenge. Something must be done.
The gang get together, Axel, Blaze, Skate and a professional wrestler called Max head off to kick ass and rescue Skate’s brother from the clutches of the criminal Mr X.
The game is set over 8 levels each with 3 stages, the third stage culminating with a boss fight. For each stage you need to move across the level, beating all the thugs and punks trying to kill you. Defeat all the enemies on the screen, and you can move forward again. Along the way, there are various weapons that you can pick up, and either throw or swing around. To this day, the joy of thwacking someone with a length of piping is definitely something to experience.
Of course you still have regular and special attacks to dish out justice by.
If you do get beaten up too much there are also apples or roast chickens hidden in destructible barrels that replenish your health.
By today’s standards I guess the gameplay is kinda simple, but this game doesn’t need anything more complex. This is side-scrolling beat em ups at their best.
Graphics & Sound
For Sega Genesis the graphics are gorgeous, compared to other games of that time the colours don’t hurt your eyes and contrast well with each other. There are some difficulties with the sound at points, as full speech is a little hard to come by on 16 bit systems.
You have the D-pad for movement, a jump button, an attack button and a special move button. If you’re feeling really clever each character has their own ‘forward-forward-attack’ move as well. It’s a really simple control method that’s easy to pick up and adds to the fluidity of the game. Sega have not tried to over-complicate things.
The game starts off quite easily, and you can through the first 2-3 stages without much difficulty, but things start getting pretty difficult quite quickly especially on single player mode.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that there aren’t any save points or level passwords. You start to play the game and you keep going till you get the game over screen. You get a certain number of lives that you can replenish if you gain enough points, and three continues to help you through the game but by these tend to go down pretty quickly by stage 6.
Once you emerge after completing stage 8 with medical grade RSI, you are filled with a great sense of achievement. You’ve earned it.
Well, by the fact that I am still playing it now over 16 years later, we have to assume that it has replayability. God yes, not only is Streets of Rage 2 tremendously fun but you have four characters to complete it with. Alright, the ending is the same regardless of the character you chose to play as, but it’s never bothered me. It’s unlikely you’ll complete it every time, but that’s just another reason why I keep going back.