Saturday, 19 December 2015

Streets of Rage 2 (Game Gear review)

Developer: Japan System House
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1993
 

Streets of Rage 2 is a beat-em-up that was also released on the Mega Drive and Master System.

 
It supports 1-2 players (via a link cable) and your mission is to save Adam and stop Mr. X from taking over the world. Axel, Blaze and Skate are playable (Max was removed) and on top of your standard brawling there's weapons you can pick up including a lead pipe, knife and bat. The action is slower paced than the first Game Gear title but that's a good thing! Whereas everything moved too fast in the first game here you feel in total control and can plan your strategy. Special attacks are now available and the double-tap attack using the d-pad is also here. One minor annoyance is that when you punch an enemy they usually fall to the floor with a single hit so combos are tricky. The issue of having no grace period when you've been knocked down hasn't been fixed and often you'll lose an entire life as you keep being attacked when trying to stand up. The level design is very faithful to the Mega Drive original and includes familiar sights like the bar scene, park, pirate ship, forest and elevator stage. Some things have been rearranged though as instead of appearing on the city bridge the biker gang are seen in an exclusive underground cave filled with lava; there's also a new Stage 5 with exploding robots and pyrotechnics. Both are really well designed and remind me of Contra (1988, NES). Unfortunately there's only six of the Mega Drive's eight stages so it's missing areas like the baseball stadium. The bosses are similar except there's a new alien in Stage 3 that fires laser beams and transports itself. The music sounds phenomenal and the developers did a great job reimagining the 16-bit originals.
 
Streets of Rage 2 is an improvement over the Game Gear original and just about every flaw has been corrected. It still has a few niggles but the controls are better, the gameplay is more finely tuned and the move set is broader making for some incredibly satisfying beat-em-up action.
 
 
 
Random trivia: The game has a hidden Level Select option; find out more here.

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