[Review] Streets of Rage 2 (Xbox 360)

Recently I reviewed a very cool beat ’em up game, Streets of Rage, played on the Sega Genesis. For two weekends straight following that review, the hubs and I tackled its sequel, Streets of Rage 2; this time, we played the game found on Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection on the Xbox 360.

Axel and Blaze reprise their fighting spirit in the sequel that sees Mr. X, the big cheese in the syndicate, resurface – hell-bent on wrecking more havoc on the city. Along with fellow friends, Max and Skate, they battle against thugs with pipes, jet packs and Lee press-on nails to get to Mr. X in the ultimate showdown.

The game starts in with a funky late 80s-type techno beat à la Inner City’s Big Fun and Snap!’s The Power.  So, while we toe-tap to the cool urban beats, the characters fight off bad guys in backdrops that vary from a back alley, rundown arcade, and somewhere that resembles a Walt Disney World knock-off.

I decided to play Blaze again; the only female character you can play in Streets of Rage 2. Not only has the sequel caused Blaze to lose her MJ Thriller jacket and some of her clothes with it, she has developed a tic where she flings her long hair for no apparent reason (Um, why? Seriously, this is not a rhetorical question…). Thankfully, the one thing about her that I liked in the first game remains here: she still walks and beats up with purpose. The food – apples and whole chickens this time – appear again for characters to fill up their health. Gold bars and bags of money appear behind trash cans and give you extra points.

What is new to the sequel is the ability to make your character do certain moves aside from simply punching and kicking, similar to the button maneuvring of Mortal Kombat. Tripping and rushing the baddies are on the menu. This really steps up the fun factor of the game for me. However, inadvertently beating up your teammate resulting in the depletion of their health also remains in the sequel. There must be moves that you and your teammate can do together as one in the game, but we never took time to figure it out. Instead, it just looked like Blaze and Axel were clinging to each other like they were recreating that scene from last week’s the Young and the Restless. Great if you’re trying to get two characters from Streets of Rage 2 to act like Devon and Hillary…not great when you’re trying to fight off Buffet’s bad breath at the ballpark…

Overall, the fun from the first game continues in Streets of Rage 2 – enough that the hubs and I replayed this game four times to make it to the end! Why four times? The game is tough, even on the easy setting. Yep, it’s a kickass game for sure…It literally kicked our ass four times! I didn’t finish, having lost all my lives, then exhausting my two continues each time we played. The hubs skillfully managed to defeat Mr. X on his own so I was able to see how the story ended. Fun times overall, and I totally recommend it!

8/10

Streets of Rage 2
Sega

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18 comments

  1. That’s terrific that you can play the vintage games on the newer systems.
    I heard the internet archive posted a bunch of 80s/90s msdos games recently (haven’t explored yet) but I’d love to revisit the Oregon trail among others!

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  2. It’s amazing that not only in music but in video games ( which I have no idea about ) are all going retro …this proves that there’s a market for this stuff….

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  3. When I was say in my teens – can’t really remember my age – we used to go to a local bar which had a front era (for the all families) and then the actual bar area. This place also had a separate pool/snooker room. The Aldenham Social club, it was called.

    In the bar area it has all your games you could want. But in the ‘family area’ it had a games machine. From Tekken to various others. One time – for a while – it had Streets of Rage 2. The amount of money I spent playing that game, saying to myself: “Oh, one more go…”

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  4. In high school, I had a buddy who used to plug quarters into a game down at the Macs that looked just like this. He invited me to stand around and watch him but while that was a generous offer, it wasn’t exactly fun for me.

    Hahaha Lee press-on nails. Oh man.

    Female characters? Losing their clothing? I’m in! 😉

    I also laughed at getting the teammates into a clinch. I’ll bet there’s fan-fic out there for it…

    Super cool review. I enjoy reading about these games I’ll likely never play, except vicariously through you!

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