Streets of Rage 2 is a classic beat ‘em up game published in the middle of the 90’s console war between Sega and Nintendo. At the time there were many beat ‘em up games published with different kinds of themes but the basic idea was always the same: fight your way through the enemies and defeat the final boss. Streets of Rage 2 does not differ from that, but it is actually a gem in the pool of thousands of beat ‘em up games.
As it can be guessed from the game’s name, this is the second part of the series. The evil criminal organization boss Mr. X from the first game is back and he is thirsty for revenge. The heroes of the game, the three playable characters, Axel Stone, Blaze, Eddie “Skate” Hunter and Max Thunder must save their friend and Skate’s brother Adam Hunter from the evil Mr. X. What better way to do it than beating up everyone that gets into your way?
The game was a big success and is still regarded as one of the best beat ‘em ups of all time. The reason is simple: Although, there is nothing that special or unique in Streets of Rage 2, it has everything that makes beat ‘em up games enjoyable. The difficulty is nicely balanced, the music is great, the level design still looks really good if you are into some cyberpunk style.
All 4 characters have different strengths which are noticeable when you try them. They also have their special moves and combos. You need to press buttons in a certain order to execute them. The special moves also drain your health away so you cannot just spam them in hope for an easier win.
It is relatively easy to win the game with the most balanced character Axel, but it gets lot harder if you try characters such as Skate or Max, since they are not as all-around suited against different opponents. The game itself only takes about two hours to complete, which is not too long, but fits very well with the simplicity of the game’s genre.
This game is one of my favorite beat ‘em ups, if not even the favorite. At some level it can deliver everything I want in a game of this genre, which is surprisingly rare considering how simple these games are.
If you are ever only going to play one game of this genre, I highly recommend that it is Streets of Rage 2. It is a guaranteed punch in the face.
Photos are screenshots of the game.
Developers: Sega/Ancient/MNM Software/Shout! Designworks/H.I.C.
Platforms: Sega Megadrive/Genesis, Sega Game Gear, Sega Master System
Release date: 20.12.1992
Genres: Beat ‘em up