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Streets of Rage 2 (Genesis) artwork

Streets of Rage 2 (Genesis) review

"Y'all must have heard of this game. For me it is the definitive MegaDrive title, and one of the greatest games ever. However, for the two people out there who have never heard of it, I'll explain why I have come to this view. "

Y'all must have heard of this game. For me it is the definitive MegaDrive title, and one of the greatest games ever. However, for the two people out there who have never heard of it, I'll explain why I have come to this view.

This game is set a year after Streets Of Rage. Mr. X and his organization has been defeated. Our three friends have gone their separate ways, and the city is experiencing a period of peace, that they expect to last a long time. Fat chance. Ya see, X is back. Our three heroes (Adam, Blaze and Axel) meet up again exactly a year after the conclusion of the first game to reminisce about the old times. The next day however, Adam disappears. The street gangs return to the city, and chaos erupts. Unable to contact their allies in the police force (the ones with the big guns in SoR1), Blaze and Axel decide to rescue Adam themselves, and defeat X once and for all (again - Fat chance!). Aided by Skate, Adam's younger brother, and by Max.... who the hell is Max anyway???, our heroes take to the streets once more to punch, kick and eat apples and meat products they find in the trash. Welcome to Streets Of Rage 2.

The gameplay follows the pattern set out in the original, but inferior, Streets Of Rage (which itself took it's cue from Double Dragon.....), you (and a friend in the two-player mode) pick one of the four warriors. They are fairly clichèd ability-wise - Max is strong but slow, Blaze and Axel are average in everything but excel at nothing, and Skate is fast but weak, but picking which one to use is vital. Although many consider Max and Skate to be useless, they aren't (although due to their limitations, they are more suited to veteran SoR2 players). However, those of you new to the game should pick Axel or Blaze. Then it's onto the streets for eight levels of punching, kicking and -(haven't we been here before?) There is more variety in the levels this time round. Although from level five on, many of the original locations are revisited, each level features several different environments. I don't want to spoil your enjoyment of later levels if you are one of the two people who have never heard of this game, so I'll just use the first level as an example. You start off on the street, battling the usual assortment of thugs. This section is nearly as long as a whole level from the original game. At the end of this section you face Jack, a knife-wielding maniac with bizarre hair, With him defeated you enter a seedy bar. Make it through here, and you see the bartender slip out back as you are left to face Electra - a woman with an electrified whip (steady...). Beat her, and it's through to the backalley, where the bartender (Barbon) and some of his goons, face you. Only when Barbon is defeated do you finish the level. And this is one of the shorter stages!

The A-button is again used for special moves, although this has been modified slightly. Gone are the screen-clearing napalm attacks from the police car that sometimes made the original a tad too easy, instead each character has two or three incredibly damaging attacks. While there is no limit on how many of these you can use, each time you make contact with an enemy while using these attacks you use health.

The graphics are bold and colourful, with wholesome, meaty sprites. Both your character and the enemies are well animated throughout, and there is more variety in the enemies than in the original. The music, too, is superb, although the sound effects are standard.

There are several extra options available too, such as the 'Duel' option - essentially a sub-Street Fighter mini game. The control is spot on, too, and while many offerings in this genre tend to become monotonous, this game never does.

Although in two-player mode this game becomes easier, the single player mode is still challenging to this day, and even when you finish it, you'll want to be coming back to it on an almost weekly basis. It's difficult to put into words just how incredible this game is - it needs to be experienced. Don't be put off by the fact that this game didn't score 10/10, that is only because something better will inevitably come along eventually, just sit back and enjoy one of the greatest slices of videogame pie on the menu.

tomclark's avatar
Community review by tomclark (March 06, 2004)

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