Tuesday, 14 February 2012

The Classic Game: Streets of Rage II (Sega, 1993)

When Final Fight burst on to the scene in 1989, Capcom had a winner on their hands. Originally envisioned as a sequel to Street Fighter, it quickly evolved into one of the best side scrolling brawlers ever made. Sega wanted a bit of this pie, and so made it's answer in Streets of Rage a mere 2 years later. With its great music, intense action and good looking graphics, it became a hit, and so Sega being Sega, decided to make a sequel the next year, building on it's large fan base. Streets of Rage 2 picks up a year after the events of SoR. Adam, Blaze and Axel go their separate ways, until Adam is kidnapped by Mr.X's henchmen, leaving Axel and Blaze to go and rescue their friend. Joining them on their head splitting, groin kicking, Grand Upper throwing rampage is Adam's kid brother Eddie "Skate" Hunter and the wrestler Max Thunder.

First up, the graphics have gone through a major overhaul. They are larger and more detailed than the original. Evey character has facial responses when ever they are hit, or when they throw a punch. Even now, it still looks a gorgeous game some 20 years after it's original release (bloody hell, has it really been that long??). The levels are varied, including a fight on an uncompleted bridge, a theme park (which bares a background that looks suspiciously like Disneyworld!), a boat and a bar with smash-able objects. The enemies are varied as well, with one of the thugs making a comeback from SoR.

Gameplay-wise, it plays exactly the same as its predecessor, with punches, kicks, Grand Uppers, flying kicks and Punch Flurries being thrown about willy nilly. It has also been made a bit harder as well, and its noticable from level 3 (especially when you have to fight the boxer on the boat). But, it doesn't matter if it's harder, because it still plays like a dream. The controls are quite responsive, and if you press the punch button fast enough while plying as Axel, you'll do a higher kick after the original combo. The music has also been upgraded as well, and is easily Yuzo Koshiro best work, which will have you tapping your toes while playing.

All in all, the best of the series. It's more of challenge, it looks and sounds awesome and plays like a dream.

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