Streets of Rage 2 (known in Japan as Bare Knuckle II: Shitō he no Chinkonka
(ベア・ナックルII 死闘への鎮魂歌, lit. "Bare Knuckle II: The Requiem of the Deadly Battle") exploded onto the Genesis/Megadrive in late 1992 and was quickly hailed as an absolute classic. The game used Sega's new 16-meg cartridge (double the size of the original game) and was intended to be their answer to the SNES version of Final Fight.
Anyone who played the game quickly saw where that extra memory went. Gone were the tiny sprites and grainy backdrops of the original. Now the graphics were huge, highly detailed, well-animated and easily of arcade quality. This showcased what the Genesis/Megadrive was capable of and showed that it was still a serious rival to the technologically superior SNES.
The character roster expanded to 4, with 2 new characters; Max and Skate. All the characters had a large selection of individual moves and were now quite different to play. New special moves replaced the old rocket special attack and led to much smoother gameplay as players could now fight their way out of a situation without wasting a special attack. Wisely, the new special attacks cost energy, so players could not just walk through the game using them.
As well as more characters to choose from the number of enemies pitted against the heroes increased also. New, more interesting enemies with special attacks of their own were added alongside the old ones to create some formidable opposition. New weaponry was introduced to liven things up further. The 8 levels were much longer, more ambitious and with multiple scenes.
A 2-player Duel feature was also introduced, which allowed players to just fight each other one-on-one in a Streetfighter-style best of 3 battle. This was a feature that Sega had included with similar Genesis/Megadrive side-scrolling games such as Golden Axe and Alien Storm. Although it wasn't particularly fun to play, it was an interesting addition none the less.
Streets of Rage 2 is a perfect sequel. Usually videogame sequels, like with movie sequels, are rehashes of the original. Not so with Streets of Rage 2. Everything from the original is improved and expanded to create one of the best games of the 16-bit era.
Original Release Dates:
Mean Machines Sega Review - View PDF scan
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