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Old 01-06-2009, 10:16 PM   #119
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Troy, MI
Posts: 11,005

Nintendo Wii - Virtual Console
1-2 Players
Developer - Ancient
Publisher - Sega

My Bias
-Never played the original
-Had Sega fans tell me it was an awesome beat’em-up

My Completion
-Beaten the game on Normal difficulty

The game opens with a brief story that takes place after the original Streets of Rage. I never watch this opening for more than 5 seconds before I hit start and begin the actual game. I tried to sit through it once and I want my time back. Same thing with when you beat the game, it shows some more cut scenes of you saving some boy from the evil mob boss.

The story is really stupid to me and has no impact on this game. You are a tough guy that beats up thugs and that’s the bottom line.

The graphics are pretty good for Genesis standards. There is a lot of color used here and it’s done in such a way that hides the consoles weaknesses. For example there are some “transparent” overhead lights in the first level that give the illusion that the game is pulling off transparency (something the Gen isn’t capable of), but really it’s just alternating yellow pixels that come through on most TV’s looking transparent. Regardless of how they did it, the effects look good.

The animations on the playable characters are pretty good, as well as the bosses. The animations for the normal enemies are pretty poor though, totaling at about 5-6 frames max.

The black character doing hip-hop moves next to some fried chicken. Did I mention he also runs the fastest?

Very common with Beat’em ups from this era, there are only a few enemy sprites that are just re-colored as you get farther in the game. This is fine and considering the time frame when this game was released its more than acceptable. By today’s standards this looks really lazy, but it didn’t bother me much.

It's like Boo!

I asked myself the question throughout the game, why was this game on the Genesis? Yes, I know it’s a Sega IP and it certainly wasn’t going to appear on the SNES. I’m just saying it moves at a super slow pace and doesn’t take advantage of any of the consoles strengths. It seems like an odd fit to me.

The music for SoR2 is probably the most impressive part for me. My impression for Genesis music outside of the Sonic the Hedgehog series was horrible, often sounding like NES music. What we have in SoR2 sounds fantastic though. Not only quality wise, but the composition is beautiful. All of it is done in a jazzy theme and is such a great fit for this game.

The opening stage is legendary music to me. I have actually heard this theme remixed a lot on the internet and didn’t know this is where it was from. It’s just so catchy and memorable. Halfway through Stage 1 the setting transitions to a bar, where the music changed into something more low key with some excellent bass. Most of the other stages have some awesome themes, Stage 3 in particular. The boss theme is a simple loop but gives a good danger feeling.

This soundtrack is so good I wish I could purchase an OST of it, but it doesn’t look like one exists.

The controls are really easy. This game works with the Wii Remote turned on its side (my preference) as well as all other controllers. With the remote turned on its side the D-Pad moves your character around, 1 is attack, 2 is jump, and pulling off specials is done with the A button. At first I didn’t like the placement of the A button for specials, but then I realized I can hit it with the tip of my left thumb so it works well.

There are 4 selectable characters all with different strengths and weaknesses. The character select screen will tell you how each character scores in different areas such as Speed and Power, but that’s only half of it. The other difference is that each character has a different move set. For example, Axels’ flaming uppercut is one of the most powerful attacks in the game, making him almost invincible and knocking whoever he hits to the floor. Blaze attacks different than the other characters with the Knife allowing her to get too attacks in opposed to one. I found it easiest to go through the game with Axel, simply because of his overpowered uppercut.

The only correct choice

There are a total of 8 stages all together, increasing in difficulty of course. Some of the stages made no sense to me, for example you go from fighting street thugs to fighting aliens? The later stages get ridiculously hard often throwing enemies that were previously bosses at you in waves. The overall difficulty of this game is pretty hard on Normal mode. Luckily the options menu lets you select difficulty which I think all games should do. The stages are kept fresh by having multiple segments. What I don’t like in a lot of Beat’em ups is that you walk through the entire stage looking at the same backdrops and it tends to wear thin. Every stage in SoR2 is broken up into parts, with a usual sub-boss at the end of each section. It keeps things interesting and is a welcomed design.

One of the most frustrating things with this game is that enemies will walk off screen and stay there. Since they always stay a certain distance away from you, if you try to stand next to the edge of the screen and wait for them it will take even longer. It becomes very tedious walking all the way back to the middle of the screen, just so the enemy will walk back on and you can resume fighting.

The bosses in this game are pretty hard. They have some uninterruptable attacks that they like to counter with as soon as they have been knocked down. There are certain bosses that are so hard it takes me an entire batch of lives just to take them down.

Look at me pwn two bosses at once!

As a problem with all beat’em ups, this game puts you in impossible situations too much. Guys will come at you from all angles and get you cornered, and at that point you get juggled and can’t move. I know part of the challenge is to not let that happen, but it happened a lot so either I suck or that’s just the way the game is.

One of the coolest parts of this game is that you can find and use weapons. Knife, Pipe, Katana, and a Kunai. Enemies can use them too and you can knock them out of the enemy’s hands to use for yourself. It’s so satisfying getting the steel pipe and busting people over the head with it. Along with the weapon pickups there are Health and Money pickups along the way. Money pickups don’t do anything but raise your score, which I don’t see a point to in a game like this. Health pickups are nice, but too often will I go to pick one up and get beat up during the pickup animation.

A Pipe to the back of the head is always effective

Lasting Appeal
The game takes probably an hour to hour and a half to beat it all the way through. Because this is a beat’em up game, it’s meant to be played over and over. With the different characters all offering a different play style and multiple difficulty levels there is plenty of reason to go back and play through again.

With a friend to play this with the game is a lot of fun. This is a great pick up and play game and the Virtual Console helps in that regard. Click on its channel and within seconds you are in the action.

Final Thoughts
Streets of Rage 2 has become my second favorite beat’em up game, only outshined by TMNT IV:TiT. It really surprised me in terms of quality for a Genesis title.

If you enjoy old school beat’em ups and want a game that you can easily jump in and out of pick up this game. At $8 it’s a great value that will provide many hours of fun, especially with a friend.

Gameplay Video

Last edited by Seraph; 09-01-2009 at 10:34 PM.
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