Yū Yū Hakusho II: Gekitō! Shichi Kyō no Tatakai is based on the the manga / anime series Yū Yū Hakusho, which is about the teenage delinquent Yusuke Urameshi, who is appointed as an "Underworld Detective" after being killed in a car accident while trying to save a child's life. His task is to investigate various cases involving ghosts and demons in the human world.
While the first game was a side-scrolling beat 'em up featuring four characters from the manga, the second game is a one-on-one fighting game. The game though does take a different approach than games like Street Fighter, as you do not control the movement of your character, as both opponents stand still. You fight by pressing a combination of buttons to make your character perform a certain attack. The efficiency of the attack depends on two factors: The position of a moving cross-hair on the body of your opponent, which determines the spot you attack, and the amount of energy in a displayed "move gauge" which increases over the time. To perform a special attack, you also need a certain amount of Ki energy which is displayed in another gauge. The Ki regenerates while it's not used further, and without Ki a player is limited to only normal attacks. The triggered attacks are then displayed in an anime style animation sequence showing both opponents doing their corresponding move.
In single player mode (a two-player mode is available via linking two Game Gears), one may either play a tournament or single fight against a character of one' choice. However, not all fighters are accessible from the beginning (the single combat mode also starts with one character less than the tournament mode) and must be unlocked by progressing in the game (progress is saved with passwords). Altogether, there are seven characters to choose from: Yusuke, Kuwabara, Kurama, Hiei, Itsuki, Toguro and Sensui Shinobu.