beat ’em ups

[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

[Review] Streets Of Rage (Sega Genesis)

An unnamed city’s heart has turned to black: bad guys and gals with switchblades, whips and fire-breath roam the streets at night to take out their hatred on anyone passing by. City Hall is overrun by a corrupt organization. Garbage and blight make up what was left of this strong and prosperous city.

Three ex-cops, all in their early 20s, are hell-bent on cleaning up the Streets of Rage. They walk the beat with only their jeans, wife-beaters, MJ Thriller jackets and the occasional beer bottle to protect them.  Apples and steak can be found to eat under barrels and crates, increasing health depleted from fighting against the violence. They beat up the baddies, and call in the cops for an occasional backup. And when they choose to fight the leader of the syndicate in the final boss battle instead of joining his posse, they fight alone.

Streets of Rage is a simple 16-bit side scroller beat ’em up game, similar to Golden Axe, a game I played and reviewed in September 2013. Using the three buttons on the Sega Genesis game pad – one button to fight, one to jump, one to call the cops (who arrive in their cruiser to fire a bazooka at the baddies) – it was easy to advance and fight the bad guys. Of course, I am sure the game is much harder if played past easy mode…

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I played as Blaze, the only female character in Streets of Rage. I loved her gait – what might be construed as stiffness, or “a pickle up the pooper” I turned it around as a woman leading with her chest, confident and determined to rid the town of filth. And she did! She kicked some mean butt! The hubs, my partner in playing this game, was Axel, one of the two male characters.

Although the game is a side-scroller, the baddies come from both sides of the screen and are varied. For example, one looks like a joker juggling knives. Another looked like they are mean Ninja Turtles (purple and green outfits). Dominatrices with leather and whips also contribute to the fight club. Then there are the fire-breathing fatsos, which made us both ask, “Do they have bad breath, or…just bad indigestion?” At that, the character you play has varied moves, from punching, to drop-kicking, to kicking in the nuts.

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The scenes of the different levels are unique, ranging from a dark alley, to a ferry, to a lift, and leading down the corridor of a fancy hotel, and for a 16-bit game, they looked great. The music had an upbeat rocky dance music tempo which made me tap my feet and bob my head as I was taking names (thank you very much!).

My only complaint of the game is that if you are playing two player, you can punch out your partner (heehee Oops!).

Streets of Rage has been ported to several game systems, including the Wii, Nintendo DS, Windows and iOS devices. I recommend this game for its fun gameplay!

Streets of Rage
Developer: Sega Genesis
Released: 1991

[Review] Scott Pilgrim Vs the World: The Game (PS3)

Imagine falling for someone but having to compete for their affections with 7 other exes still carrying some kind of torch for this someone.

[Insert “Bitch, please” meem here…]

This, in essence is what Scott Pilgrim in Scott Pilgrim Vs the World: The Game is having to deal with. He falls for Ramona… who has a history. Now, he needs to compete for her affections with her history – seven exes – and it ain’t nothing like beating up someone for milk money. These dudes have super-powers and mean business, yo! Scott unknowingly also has some powers that don’t come to light until he has to beat ’em up. He and his friends band together to combat them evil forces so he can do more smoochin’ and less beatin’ up.

Scott Pilgrim is a side-scroller game. You have the choice of playing one of four characters, including Scott and Ramona. Each character has a different talent or super-power. As you go through a chapter, you are presented with a new ex which has his own power that you must defeat. Of course, while beating ’em up, your health depletes. As you travel through and defeat the exes’ minions, you can collect loonies and twonies that you find scattered around, which can be used in between battles to do some shopping: for food, drink, videos and reading material. Each item you buy contributes to your overall health and welfare, allowing you to exude more energy to beat those exes up. The battle scenes are challenging, but fulfilling, especially if you play this in multiplayer like I did (you can play with 4 friends if you want to!).

The game pays homage to SNES gaming with its side-scroller game-play that uses 16-bit type graphic animation from the SNES era. When you first start the game, you can’t help but notice similarities to Super Mario 3’s chapter screen. The game is based on the comic book series (which is awesome, btw) and loosely based on the movie. The game also is set in Toronto, Ontario, so those who know Toronto will be familiar with the TTC buses that Scott, et al. have to dodge as they come speeding up the road, or other well-known landmarks like Casa Loma, Rogers Centre and CN Tower. I played this game on the PlayStation 3, but it is also available on the Xbox 360.


Fun, different and highly recommended. Scott Pilgrim Vs The World: The Game is a great comic book / movie / video game tie in. Fans of the series would not be disappointed.

Scott Pilgrim Vs the World: the Game
Publisher: UbiSoft / Universal
Released: 2010