Growing up, my favourite beat’em up series was Golden Axe on the genesis – it was fantasy brutality destruction with a friend! As I was so satisfied with the series, I never ventured outside of it. This review reconfirms one of my original reasons for starting this website – to find and play awesome games that I missed in my youth. Streets of Rage 2 is one of those games that must be played by anyone who owns a Genesis.
Streets or Rage 2 is a side scrolling beatem’up set in a once peaceful city now filled with raging streets of violence. Taking place one year after the first game where Adam, Axel, and Rose beat up Mr.X – the syndicate gang boss – the story picks up with Mr.X returning and capturing Adam in revenge. You and your ragtag group of heroes must lay the smackdown on Mr. X and his gang to rescue Adam!
Once starting the game, you are given the opportunity to select a player. This time around there are four choices – Axel and Rose (from the first game), Skate (Adam’s little brother), and a beefy guy named Max. They all have slightly different stats like power, technique (special moves), speed, jump, and stamina. They also felt different with no character feeling overpowered or underpowered.
Once you hit the streets the fun begins! One button is your special move button which uses some health to lay waste to bad guys. The next is your general attack button while the last button is your jump button. Controls are simple but very responsive. What is awesome is that there are a bunch of different button combinations to initiate more complicated moves. Pressing forward forward before hitting attack makes a new attack, hitting attacks and jump simultaneously initiates a new attack. Even dashing before hitting the special move button creates a different attack! Its like simplified street fighter special moves and made bashing baddies really fun! You can also jump attack, throw bad guys, and pick up a bunch of different items like knives and steel pipes!
Each stage is broken up into numerous segments – often with mini bosses along they way and a major boss at the end. I was really impressed with their quality – they all look very distinct and have patterns that are manageable and fun (although they do get harder in later levels). In terms of difficulty, I have not finished the game yet but have gotten far enough! You get 1-5 lives to start (you can change in the options) and two continues. After those are gone you get a game over. As I continue to play this game though, I get further and further, suggesting the game has some skill to it besides pure unfair difficulty.
In terms of graphics – this game is beautiful! The levels all have their distinct look which are moody and grungy. Enemies designs look great too with looks straight from the 90’s. While some generic enemies repeat, it was to a much lesser degree than I was expecting. The game runs awesome as well with little experienced slowdown! In terms of music, it got the job done. Nothing really stood out. The sounds effects though were very satisfying and made me feel like I was really pummelling somebody!
Overall this is an awesome beat’em up game with excellent gameplay, great graphics, and a lot of fun to play with a friend! It’s difficult but not cheap, and you will get better as you play more of it! Overall, I give this game a 9/10 and give it my top pick award for being my favourite beatem’up on the Genesis (and maybe any console)!
FINAL SCORE: 9/10