Streets of Rage 2

aka: 3D Streets of Rage 2, Bare Knuckle II, SoR 2, Streets of Rage II
Moby ID: 6633
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Description official descriptions

After Axel Stone, Blaze Fielding and Adam Hunter destroyed the evil Syndicate leader, Mr. X, the city became a peaceful place to live, and each one of them followed their own paths. One year later, after their reunion, Adam's brother Sammy returned from school to find their apartment in a mess, and Adam nowhere to be seen, and after calling his two friends, one of them notices a photo of Adam chained to a wall, next to someone they knew very well - Mr. X, who returned to turn the peaceful city once again into a war zone. Now, Axel, Blaze, Sammy, and Axel's good friend Max, a pro wrestler, must head out to stop Mr. X once again...hopefully for good...

Streets of Rage 2 differs from the previous title in several ways. There are changes in both graphics (characters now are bigger, more detailed and with more animation frames, and scenarios are less grainy) and gameplay (the rocket move was replaced by a special move that doubles in offense and defense along several new moves), along other new features such as life bars (and names) for all enemies and the radically different new characters.

Spellings

  • ベアナックルII - Japanese spelling

Groups +

Screenshots

Promos

Credits (Genesis version)

31 People (25 developers, 6 thanks) · View all

Main Planning
Planning
System Design
Main Program
Main Enemy Program
Enemy and Demo Program
Music Composers
Sound Effects
Sound Driver
Project Management
Object Design
Main Design
Background Design
[ full credits ]

Reviews

Critics

Average score: 83% (based on 50 ratings)

Players

Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 179 ratings with 11 reviews)

Great fighting game

The Good
I liked choosing from 4 characters whose abilities were very different, and useful. The enemies were each unique. There was the regular kind of grunt guy that would only throw a sucker punch, then there were the kick boxers and the huge bosses.

Co-op was the best way to play the game. The sounds were great as was the music. A friend and I played through this game on all 5 difficulty settings many, many times.

The Bad
There is nothing that I can think of...

The Bottom Line
One of the best fighting games for the Genesis.

Genesis · by The Holy Moly (19) · 2004

The dev team have managed to hit the sweet spot between diversity and simplicity

The Good
Gosh, where to begin...

Let's start with the controls. First of all, all of the characters are controlled more or less the same way. (save for special circumstances like Skate's overhead throw or Max's inability to pole vault over enemies) That is you learn the controls for one character, you pretty much know the controls to another character.

What this means is that the entry barrier to learning a new character is actually fairly low. But this doesn't mean the characters don't PLAY differently. Oh no sir. That cannot be more different from the truth.

In fact, considering the control scheme is so uniformed, the characters play like night and day in terms of tactics and strengths.

What's even crazier is that despite this massive differences in gameplay, ALL of the characters are viable even at the highest difficulty.

Which leads to me to my next point: the difficulty.

I have never seen any game able to ramp up the difficulty so smoothly with such drastic differences. Try playing the game on hardest and then on Mania (the highest difficulty). The difference is HUGE. And yet, the game does an excellent job prepping you for it so that the skip in difficulty is not one that will just overrun you and make you throw down your controller.

Often times, you will get a situation where the added difficulty is just giving the players more numerical disadvantages and the enemies more numerical advantages. This game? The enemies will actually behave differently depending on the difficulty level. Higher level enemies will be far more efficient in their movements and attacks, and will try their best to surround you ASAP.

Which leads me to my next point, the AI.

For a game with this fairly simple attributes (simple by today's standards), the game AI is incredibly well put together at pushing the limits on those attributes.

The AIs all react to situations differently, and you can tell they have wildly different personalities, which combined with their existing movesets, make those differences even more stark.

Combining all of these attributes together, and you have a brawler that has rock solid tight gameplay, with incredible polish. This is one of those games that deserves to played again and again, not because each time you play you see new content, but because each permutation you make (i.e. character and difficulty) creates a whole new experience on the game.

For a game that only uses 3 buttons, it is incredibly deep because it is apparent that the devs have really made sure every move they put in there is accounted for in the game play experience.

In a lot of games, people will just add more content just to add more. But this game is a textbook example on how to use what you have and make it all count.

Designers now a days can learn a thing or two from games like this.

The Bad
one minor nitpick: the attributes you see in the character picking screen is more or less useless beyond the speed and stamina attribute. (The rest are highly dependent on the move you're using and the fashion you play) Imagine playing Street Fighter, and seeing a "strength" ranking on ryu's profile. Sure, you can certainly do that, but chances are it will mostly be irrelevant and meaningless. It's not even useful as a barometer for beginners because it doesn't even tell you that much. i.e. what does having a high "technique" score mean?

The Bottom Line
This game is the textbook example of milking every bit of game play out of a relatively small set of attributes. A lot of games out there will add more for the sake of more, not realizing it doesn't always add to the game play experience. This game is different.

Chances are, you will never find a better brawler with this streamlined of a system.

Genesis · by Elliott Wu (40) · 2010

Is This the Best 16-bit Brawler?

The Good
So, who do you feel like playing as? Max, Axel, Blaze, or Skate? The choice has it's temptations, and I'm sure each fan of this game has their favourite. And that is understandable as they all have their offerings. Max is a Samson-esque figure with devastating power; Axel is the all-American hero-type; Blaze is the beautiful female player with a penchant for kicking; Skate is your inline enthusiast with agility and attitude. I've simplified these characterizations a little unfairly, but this is only a fraction of what the game offers. It doesn't matter who you select, "Streets of Rage 2" is a balanced and fun side-scrolling "beat-em-up" set in a gritty, urban environment - the "Streets of Rage" themselves I imagine.

The first thing I really enjoyed about this game was the soundtrack. Yuzo Koshiro takes us through these concrete jungle and back-alleys with his catchy and moody early House 'tracks. Although this style of music is pretty well obsolete, there is a great synergy between your character, what you are doing and where you are doing it. The music, which varies respectfully throughout the levels, adds an almost dreamy and catatonic impulsiveness, and, seeing as the entire game is set at night (am I right in saying this?) the music holds another level of believability. It adds an impression of a sub-culture of drugs, violence, and an after-dark underworld. The enemy appear almost like a disease as they continuously appear in your way.

The game-play itself, although deeply repetitive, is really well done. The "beat-em-up" has pretty much disappeared from modern games, and so "Streets of Rage 2" offers a great insight into this forgotten or superseded genre. Although there are no "Dead or Alive"/"Tekken" style button combinations to memorise and perfect, this game has it's modest share of violent combos. Remember that it 1992, there was no audience for insanely intricate customisation or player/character identification; rather, "Streets of Rage 2" gave players a feeling that their punches and kicks were landing square and true. This is the first game I remember playing that instilled a feeling of Power (capital "P"!) when you let fly on one of these punks or thugs. Not to mention the satisfaction of a two-player brawl where anything and anyone goes (flying).

Graphically, "Streets of Rage 2" shows the Megadrive at it's peak. Although fairly comic book in it's art design, the environments, characters and limited animations are top-notch. It's surprising that a game with quite simple animation conveys such potent feelings of connection between fist and head. On that note, it must be said that the collision-detection is spot-on; this can be painfully true when cornered by some of the giant-like shirt-less Karate experts!

The Bad
The main problem that I have with this title would be in the repetitive nature of it's game-play. It must be said that the level designers probably put as much effort in as anyone else out there at the time did, but by todays standards you find yourself repeating scene after scene of ultra-violence. (But, again, this has a strange hypnotic and exhaustive feel to it also!) You visit many different environments it must be said, but when all you do is walk left-to-right within them, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference if you're in a nightclub or a maniacs mansion - it's just a different backdrop.

The Bottom Line
For an action game, this has got to be one of the best 16-bit titles out there. I can't think of any other games that surpass "Streets of Rage 2's" all-roundedness. Some may look better, some may play better, but none combine the elements as successfully as this New York-based brawl-fest. (Why do I say New York? Well, the Twin Towers are visible in one of the levels). So, pick your man and hit the streets - Mr. X is at it again...

Wii · by So Hai (261) · 2008

[ View all 11 player reviews ]

Trivia

Cut fighting moves

In early beta versions of Streets of Rage 2, Axel had two very different (and familiar) attacks: a move VERY similar to a Shotokan Dragon Punch, and...a Shotokan Hurricane Kick?

Looks like Sega axed them for good reason: legal action from Capcom for unauthorized teachings of Shotokan moves to their characters. (Shotokan, by the way, is the fighting technique Ryu, Ken, and Akuma use in Capcom's Street Fighter series).

MC.K

In Stage 1, there is an enemy called MC.K who only appears once in the entire game. He is worth about 10,000 points, much more than any other non-boss character.

Music

Yuzo Koshiro claims to have been influenced by early 90's European club music while producing the soundtrack for SoR 2. This is mostly visible with the music in the first part of level 4, which bears an uncanny resemblance with the dance hit Move Any Mountain by The Shamen, released two years before.

References

  • Two fat thugs in the game are called Talk and Wanter. They're named after Talk Uchimura (Planning & System design) and Wanta (Project management).
  • Before the Round 4 Stadium, you can see a sign that says "It's like Boo!". This may be a reference to "Fat Boo" from Dragonball Z, which looks an awful lot like the SoR2 character Big Ben.
  • The character Skate resembles DJ Boy (from the game DJ Boy, another side-scrolling beat-em-up game). This arcade game developed by Kaneko was later published by Sega on the megadrive. In fact, Sega changed the name of the character from 'Sammy' in Bare Knuckle 2 (Japanese release) into Skate in Streets of Rage 2 (US release) and the US publisher for the Megadrive conversion of DJ Boy was the company "Sammy".
  • It's no coincidence that the fat enemies in the game often go by the name of 'Heart'. It's a reference to the popular manga Fist of the North Star (Hokuto No Ken), which featured an extremely overweight martial artist also called Heart.

Version differences

  • Sammy "Skate" Hunter was renamed to Eddie "Skate" Hunter in the U.S. and European versions of the game.
  • Max Thunder, the hulking pro wrestler, doesn't appear in the 8-bit versions (Game Gear and SMS) of SoR2.
  • Only in the Japan version, the final boss smokes a cigar
  • In the US version, the jump kick animation of Blaze was changed. Originally her legs are wider apart and reveal her panties.

Awards

  • EGM
    • 1993 Buyer's Guide - Hottest Video Game Babe (Blaze)
    * Retro Gamer + September 2004 (Issue #8) – #64 Best Game Of All Time (Readers' Vote) Information also contributed by [Luis Silva](http://www.mobygames.com/user/sheet/userSheetId,61998/), [MasterMegid](http://www.mobygames.com/user/sheet/userSheetId,44055/) and [Sciere](http://www.mobygames.com/user/sheet/userSheetId,30979/)
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    Contributors to this Entry

    Game added by Satoshi Kunsai.

    Windows added by Duduzets. PlayStation 3 added by Lain Crowley. Nintendo 3DS added by Michael Cassidy. iPad added by Rik Hideto. Nintendo Switch added by Kam1Kaz3NL77. Game Gear, SEGA Master System added by RKL. iPhone added by Sciere. Linux, Macintosh added by Foxhack. Arcade added by Kohler 86. Wii added by gamewarrior. Android added by Deleted. Xbox 360 added by Ben K.

    Additional contributors: chirinea, Sciere, Alaka, lights out party, LepricahnsGold, Patrick Bregger, Starbuck the Third, Thomas Thompson, Jo ST, Harmony♡.

    Game added June 7, 2002. Last modified February 13, 2024.