RetroMana: Streets of Rage 2

RetroMana: Streets of Rage 2

You know, I was thinking to myself, what does this website need? Well then, like a ton of bricks falling off a crane from above, it hit me. We need a retrospective, of course. So begins RetroMana, a most-likely weekly look back at gaming classics, flowing from the fingers of me, Dan Curtis. In celebration of week one, I thought it would be fun to look back at one of my all time favourite games, Streets of Rage 2.

What Is It?

Alas, some of you poor individuals will be blisfully unaware of the existence of the Streets of Rage franchise. For those of you who fall under that category, I feel very sorry for you. However, being the nice chap that I am, I’m here to tell you all about the glory that is Streets of Rage 2, and why you should play it immediately if you haven’t already.

Streets of Rage 2 is a classic, side-scrolling beat-em-up released way back in 1992. It graced the Sega Megadrive (that’s Genesis if you’re Americanized) with its presence, and given the fact that I was about five when I first played it, I probably shouldn’t of been playing it at all. However, after one game, me and my friends were hooked – we would take it in turns to play through the co-operative mode time and time again, only stopping every so often to beat one another to death in the game’s battle mode. It was awesome. It was new. It was exciting.

Even to this day, I still look fondly back at Streets of Rage 2. It really is one of my favourite games of all time – there’s just something so ridiculously fun about the whole thing that it keeps you coming back for another go time and time again despite only having 8 stages. Incidentally, this title is available for download on the PSN, so there’s not really any excuse not to enjoy its delights!

Express Your RAGE!

Within the game, you’ll get to choose from a selection of four characters. These are the highly balanced Axel, the fast and furious (and skimpy outfitted) Blaze, the ridiculously fast but weak Skate and finally, the beast of a man that is Max. The latter of these looks like a truck. He’s just that damn muscly. Each character plays differently and has unique moves exclusive to them and you’ll no doubt have your favourite within a few playthroughs. For me, its Axel, who just seems to kick the backside of anyone in sight when I’m using him.

Speaking of kicking backsides, you’ll be doing that a lot in Streets of Rage 2. A wide variety of enemies ranging from the dreaded knife-carriers to robots that are far too fast for their own good and whack you with big spiky maces are awaiting you on the battlefield of Streets of Rage 2, and within each unique stage you’ll have to battle scores of these enemies in order to progress through the level itself. Each enemy (and you) have a specific health bar which must be drained by repeated wailing upon said enemy until they fly across the screen with an eleborate death cry. Clearing a specific screen of enemies will then cause the game to present you with a handy ‘GO!’ icon which implies you can now move on to the next area and resume your beating up of criminal scum.

The stages vary extremely from one to the next. One minute you can be sweeping your way through a quiet park, and the next you can be in an underground fighting arena being attacked by a wrestler who doesn’t like you much. There’s also areas including a giant bridge (as seen above, complete with motorbike enemies), a sandy beach and jungle and even a factory. They make little sense from a story standpoint, but each stage presents its own obstacles, unique enemies to fight and maintains a fast and fluid gameplay experience that, in my opinion, was one of the best examples of its time on the Sega Megadrive.

Better by far than the first Streets of Rage and also better than the lackluster Streets of Rage 3 due to the better characters and better presentation, Streets of Rage 2 is a classic title that any discerning gamer should play at least once in their lives. For extra fun, grab your nearest friend by means of a big grabbing stick/your own hands, plonk them down with a controller in their hands and get ready to experience an extremely enjoyable co-operative experience that you’ll both find an absolute blast from beginning to end. Oh, and if you get through the entire game in one sitting, I salute you, as this title can be extremely difficult to play through. This comes from a time before the invention of saves and checkpoints my friends, so be prepared to be challenged.

If you were active on the gaming interwebs over the past year, you may have also spotted some news about a certain Streets of Rage Remake also circulating the net. The inner nerd rejoiced in me at hearing the news of this fan-made title coming out, but alas the joy was short lived as Sega presented the game makers with a cease and desist order after just a few days of the game being released. Look it up though and see the incredible amount of detail these guys put into the game – if there was ever a worthy contender for best Streets of Rage, this remake may well be up there with the very best, Streets of Rage 2. It essentially combines the first three games into a game worthy of the modern era, creating a branching storyline with multiple endings, about five new characters, new weapons, new game mechanics, all the while keeping the same classic visuals of Streets of Rage, as well as re-rendering classic stages from the franchise as well as some brand new ones.

Well that about wraps up my brief look at Streets of Rage 2. I hope I’ve convinced you of its brilliance, but if not, why not watch a video and becomes more convinced?

[youtube id=”AbAcWZxxMBE” width=”600″ height=”350″]

Comments are closed.