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Streets of Rage 2 (Xbox 360)

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11 Reviews

Manufacturer: Sega / Genre: Action / Release Date: 2007 / Xbox Live Arcade

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    11 Reviews
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      31.12.2011 12:52
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      A 2D scrolling beat em' up game on Xbox 360!

      == STREETS OF RAGE 2 (Xbox Live Arcade) ==
      Streets Of Rage 2 is a side scrolling beat 'em up whch was released back in 1992 by SEGA but now its also available on the Xbox 360 for download via Xbox Live. To get the game you must have an internet connection with your Xbox 360 signed up to Xbox Live, a gold membership and 400 Microsoft Points to purchase the game for download. 400 points is around £4. The game is just the same as the old versions of the game but you can actually play online with friends or other online gamers. This Xbox Live Arcade version was also published and developed by SEGA. If you don't have an Xbox you can always get the game on one of the many consoles and systems its available on.

      === STORY ===
      The game does feature a story but its the type of game where you wont really follow what happens in the story and its the type of game where you just want to get stuck into the action. The game takes place one year after the events of the first Streets Of Rage game and all three of the characters from that game meet up and talk about what happened and how they put an end to Mr X. The next day Skate (younger brother of an old character) tells Axel that his brother has been kidnapped and a photo of him was left on his door. The photo showed Adam chained to a wall with Mr X stood next to him. Now Axel, Blaze, Skate and a professional wrestler that goes by the name of Max must take on the criminals that have taken to the streets again, find Adam and put an end to Mr X once and for all.

      === GAMEPLAY ===
      Streets Of Rage 2 is a fun game to play and it does get quite addictive after a while. This version of the game is exactly the same as the first version of the game released back in 1992 with only the online feature added and achievements. At the start of a single player game you can choose your difficulty setting to suit your skills but note the game can be very hard on certain settings. You also have to choose how many lives to start with if you so wish or you can just start with the normal amount. After that you are given the choice to pick a character out of four different characters with each one having their own fighting styles and combos. Also each character is better than another at certain things such as power, speed, jumping, technique and stamina. The four characters are Axel, Blaze, Skate and Max and they are all reasonably good. My personal favourite is Axel mainly because he looks good and is from the first game too.

      Your health is displayed in the top left corner of thye screen as are your points and special abilities you have left. The special abilities can be used if you get surrounded or for when you are up against a tougher enemy. Now the game is side scrolling and most of the time it involves you going from left to right through so many sections and fighting numerous enemies at once. To defeat enemies you can punch, kick or even throw and you can also combine them to make a good combo to defeat them easier and quicker. You also can press a certain button to unleash a devastating move to deal more damage to the harder enemy but the only problem it takes a little of your health for doing it. There are a lot of different types of enemies that you will come up against and so many different bosses where sometimes there will be two identical bosses at the same time making it harder. The thing is with the bosses they tend to go off screen now and again to make it harder for you and make you think what they're going to do next.

      As you progress through the levels you will come across many things such as objects that can be destroyed that might contain items and also weapons which can be used to defeat enemies. Things like phone boxes, barrels or even bins can be smashed to find items or even weapons. there are quite a few weapons such as knives, glass bottles and even steel pipes that can be used to demolish your enemies. You can also find items such as money bags which increase your points total, food to heal some lost health and even extra lives. You will also gain more lives when you reach certain milestones in your score total. You will also visit different stages where you will take on many enemies and fight your way through to the next stage. Streets Of Rage 2 also features online play where you and a friend or someone you don't even know can team up together to tackle the main story. Its an old game but its still a lot of fun.

      === GRAPHICS & SOUND EFFECTS ===
      Okay so Streets Of Rage 2 is a 2D side scrolling beat 'em up game but in respect to its age the game still looks quite good and is definitely still playable to some degree. Online play is weak because hardly anyone plays the game now but if you have friends who have the game then you can easily team up with one of them and take on the story because its a lot of fun and still looks great. The levels look good and pretty well designed and there aren't many stages that look the same in the game which is a bonus. Also the four main characters couldn't look any different from each other which is another bonus. We have Axel who is a tough looking cookie, Blaze who is a fiery foxy lady with speed and a lot of anger, a professional wrestler who is huge and can pummel enemies to the ground with a single blow and Skate who is a young boy that fights with roller skates attached to his feet. Overall the graphics aren't the best but to be fair its not important to a game like this because its a classic!

      Something that just seem to never get old is the sound effects to Streets Of Rage 2. The music to the game is very similar to that of the first game, and the third game which was released after the second obviously. The music doesn't at all let the game down and actually makes it more entertaining. Also the fighting sound effects are also quite good still and definitely make the game more playable. Also when you're playing on different stages and in different weather conditions the game does sound much better especially with the way the rain pours down and sounds through your TV. Online sound effects are pretty much the same but with two people it gets more hectic and probably better. Both the graphics and sound effects to Streets Of Rage 2 are still very interesting for an old game.

      === DIFFICULTY & LONGEVITY ===
      To be honest the fact the game has a difficulty setting which you can change every time before you start a new game is great. However the game still can be quite hard on the easiest setting if you only choose a certain amount of lives and continues. The game can be proper hard on the hardest setting even if you start with the most lives and continues you possibly can. Also enemies are much harder on the harder settings and this is an arcade style game so its supposed to be harder. The length of it isn't the best but the way I look at it is that I was playing the game when it first came out in 1992 and I'm still playing it now but on the Xbox 360 so it could be seen as a game that can last a lifetime. There are only a total of 8 stages to Streets Of Rage 2 and most can be over within minutes but the fact the game is playable over and over and over again is brilliant. Therefore I believe the game is good in terms of length and even better for the difficulty so it will last a long time.

      === PRICE ON XBOX LIVE ===
      The prices of the game on Xbox Live seem to change quite often for an Xbox Live Arcade game. I got the game a good 4 or 5 years ago on Xbox Live for around about 800 Microsoft Points. The game then got reduced to 600 and shortly after that 400 which is great value for such a good game. I'm not sure the exact price now but its between 200 and 400 which is still cheap and worth it. Its definitely a game worth having and it only takes a little space of your Xbox 360 hard drive around 30MB which is brilliant. Overall its cheap and barely touches your hard drives space so you can still fit hundreds of games on.

      === FINAL THOUGHT ===
      My final thoughts on Streets Of Rage 2 are really good and its definitely a game I have admired for many years and still find the odd few hours to have a bash on it and to be fair I still enjoy it as much as I did when I first played the game. I also love the fact the four characters are very different and I also love the fact its an arcade style beat 'em up which they don't make many of nowadays. Also this game is a classic which makes things even better because we all like a good classic game to play and maybe this is for you too.

      You can also play VS against a friend but this mode is boring as well as stupid. It doesn't work at all and definitely something to avoid.

      I would definitely recommend the game especially if you like action packed games and especially if you're a fan of the Streets Of Rage series. Streets Of Rage 2 is available on Xbox Live Marketplace but the first and third game aren't which is a shame to fans of the series. Overall though I would recommend the game because its fun, addictive and very enjoyable.

      Streets Of Rage 2 is a solid side scrolling beat 'em up game that i would give a reasonable 7/10!


      Review is also on Ciao under the username: MrBrightside1987!

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        14.09.2011 14:50
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        still a fun game on the megadrive collection

        Early inthe 90's the streets of rage trilogy kicked off with streets of rage then followed that up swiftly with streets of rage 2 (known as bare knuckle 2 in japan) The game consists of four availible players two of which were new from the first game Max thunder a wrestler and Eddie "skate" hunter (sammy in japan) which is the brother of adam a cop from the first game. These two newbies team up with the two other originals Axel and Blaze.

        The games itself is your typical left to right sega game that pits you agains loads of street thugs fat baseball players the odd flying maniac and a few kung fu experts and the odd annoying women with an electric whip and filling them in sums up the basics of the game.

        Its amusing that many of the people you fight have the same name as each other they look the same and dress the same and there is roughly only 15 opponants (if that) that vary. The people you fight have a health bar in this game unlike the first where that was reserved just for the first and its weapons have changed slightly such as no more baseball bat and now each character has its own "sepcial" move as opposed to the police car from the first.

        The typical funky soundtrack is there while you walk about breaking heads and its nice to see women get equal rights to a arse kicking too as they are some of the more annoying opponents with their hig heel jumping kicks.

        Round 1: Downtown
        Round 2: Bridge Under Construction
        Round 3: Amusement Park
        Round 4: Baseball Stadium
        Round 5: The Ship
        Round 6: Mr. X's Private Island
        Round 7: Munitions Plant
        Round 8: Syndicate Stronghold

        These are the eight rounds you work your way through to get to fight Mr x at the end where the only ending is the good one where you save adam and escape the island you are on.

        I find it amusing how now every game is scrutinised for age restrictions but here we have a prime example of a game that was sold to young kids where the object is to beat up everyone even women with knifes and poles and no one cared.

        Overall i think this was a good upgrade from the first and in some respect better than the 3rd in the trilogy. I even remember that there is a extra life in the bottom left corner of the first level and same again when you exit the truck later on.............. I played this game nearly 20yrs ago.... how sad is that

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        02.09.2011 17:30
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        Buy or download this game, grab a friend and go take down Mr. X!

        'Streets of Rage 2' was originally released on the Sega Megadrive in 1991. This follow-up from the original was much improved and very popular among gamers of the time. It has been ported onto several consoles since then and is part of the Sega Megadrive Collection of games. When I saw my cousin play the game on her Megadrive I was intrigued and later downloaded the game through the Wii's Virtual Console to enjoy.

        The story is a basic one. The three cops from the first Streets of Rage- Axel, Blaze and Adam- defeated evil guy Mr. X and brought an end to the crime and corrupting in their city and have since returned to new jobs. However Mr X wasn't really dead; he captures Adam and crime returns to the city once again, worse than ever. Axel and Blaze get together, along with Adam's younger brother Skate and professional wrestler Max, to save the city and rescue Adam. It's linear but then again this is a 90s side-scrolling beat-em-up where a complex plot isn't necessary. At least it continues straight off from the first game and doesn't seem to have Mr.X returning from the dead as some kind of robot, like in Streets of Rage 3!

        Gameplay is straightforward. You (and player 2 if you have a controller ready) choose your character from Axel, Blaze, Max or Skate and then go through side-scrolling stages beating up the various enemies that come in your way. To help you get through the onslaught various items appear on the ground as either foodstuffs (to restore health) or weapons like pipes or katanas (to temporarily equip). You start off with 5 lives, three continues and 100 seconds on the clock which is extended after beating a wave of enemies and you move forward in the level. If you lose all your lives and continues, or run out of time, then it's game over.

        When you get to the end of the level and defeat the boss, you get bonus points to your score can be accumulated into extra lives. Each character has a basic attack which can be stringed into a combo, a jump attack, a special move and an even more powerful special move which takes off some of the character's health when executed. There's also the chance to throw enemies (or player 2 if they're in your way) onto the ground for damage. Controls are very simple and it's easy to grasp how to do each move and combo.

        The characters all differ in style and in the character select menu the games does give indication as to what each character specializes in. Axel is the most balanced, Skate is very fast but weak in terms of power, Blaze is slightly slower but more powerful with a better special move and Max is basically a tank- slow but strong. In my case, I usually pick Axel because his special move ("Grand Upper!") is very powerful, attacks many enemies if they're close together and is easy to utilize against quick moving bosses. On the other hand, Skate is very difficult to control because, as his name implies, he skates quickly around the level too fast for my liking and barely does any damage.

        SoR2 is very hard. If certain kinds of enemies appearing in droves don't knock you down then the tough bosses will. It's by no means mind-numbingly impossible, but considering you cannot save between levels in a Megadrive game (though ported versions will by all means let you suspend your play or make a save state) this is quite the challenge to keep all your lives and continues available. Your timing when attacking enemies is the key to success here, as is utilizing the right moves to take down certain ones most easily. I find it difficult to beat the last levels even on Normal difficulty and have only managed to beat Mr X on the final stage through co-op play (and by that I mean one of us is dead by this point). To think that there was an even harder level in the original Japanese version...

        Anyway, the graphics in Streets of Rage 2 are obviously dated by our HD standards but still for the time they were pretty good. Each stage is very different from the other as your protagonists move from the city streets to Mr. X's island, and they're very colourful and with a bit of attention to detail as you move through the place; far from being the same backgrounds painted over and over again until the boss, you in fact move through different buildings and modes of transport in the same stage. The enemy sprites are repeated throughout the game but it's just used to distinguish between the different sets of criminals coming at you. Animation is slightly choppy especially when attacks connect with notable slow frames, but character and enemy movement is smooth enough. Now the game's soundtrack is excellent with tunes that completely match the stage. The first stage which, as I mentioned, takes place on the streets is very edgy and reminds you of the thugs you have to beat into the ground. Furthermore the boss music is brilliant as a haunting tune that ups the tension so you know for sure that the enemy you're facing is much more powerful than those you've come across in the level (even if they do appear in later stages). Can't really say the same for the small voice acting and sound effects in the game, which includes shouting out special moves ("Grand UPPER!") or an enemy grunting when they've "died"; they do the job but get pretty annoying after a while when you're facing several foes at once.

        Overall Streets of Rage 2 is a very good game and is worth purchasing in some form. Completing the game should take 1.5-2 hrs in one sitting and will be a decent amount of time well spent. It's certainly a worthwhile beat-em-up that is not only enjoyable but also fairly challenging. This is very much recommended.

        (Also on Ciao under the username Anti_W)

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          22.06.2011 11:08
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          A technical upgrade on the first game and one of the finest 16 bit fighters ever.

          Just like movies, when a good video game comes out you can be sure that a sequel will follow. It's therefore no surprise that a second Streets of Rage game hit the store shelves two years after the original took the world by storm. If you've read my review of the first game you'll know that it is one of my favourite side scrolling beat em ups of all time. I gave it a maximum rating of five stars which I am sure Sega is well chuffed about. Five stars from yours truly is on par with receiving an Oscar after all. Could the follow up game fill the original's big boots (used for kicking faces) or would it be join the gargantuan list of disappointing sequels? Let us find out.

          STORY

          Streets of Rage 2 takes place a year after the first game. Life is all sunshine and lollypops for Axel, Adam and Blaze after they freed their city from the grip of Mr X's criminal syndicate. Unfortunately for our heroes all good things have to come to an end (it's the reason why Crème Eggs aren't available for an entire year.) Mr X (not to be confused with the mutant professor) is back and wants revenge. Hmmmm in retrospect they should have locked him up in a cell for his crimes. Beating him up and leaving him on the floor unconscious, at the end of the first game, to recover always had the potential of coming back to bite you in the posterior.

          Anyway, Mr X rebuilds his criminal empire and sets his master plan into motion by kidnapping Adam. Why pick on the black guy? Isn't all those years of slavery bad enough? Axel and Blaze will not stand for these racist deeds and set off to Mr X's island compound to free their buddy. Two martial artists against a legion of thugs hardly seems like a fair fight so what do they do to even the odds? Call the cops? Enlist help from the army? No they ask Max the wrestler and Adam's young brother Skate to join their crazy crusade. Yeah... I'm sure a guy who is proficient in fake fighting and a scrawny kid will be a big help.

          PRESENTATION

          Due to my limited vocabulary I am useless at describing graphics and sonics in great detail so let's bunch them together under the category of "presentation." Needless to say I will never venture into the food critic game. I would struggle to type anything beyond "it tastes nice." How other reviewers can write bible length articles on such things and make them interesting is beyond me. I look in awe at their thesaurus like descriptive powers.

          Getting back on topic, the game's graphics are a marked improved over the first game. The character sprites are considerably bigger affording them greater detail. They also seem to have stepped up their game in terms of animation making the fighters' attacks look much more flashy. In terms of sound Yuzo Koshiro delivers the goods once again with a brilliant electronic soundtrack including some familiar tunes from the first game. The sound effects are however poor. Some of the yells the characters holler sound heavily digitized and they should have made more of an effort to vary the noises made when wrecking destructible objects. Whether you smash a bin or arcade machine it all sounds like shattering glass for some reason.

          GAMEPLAY

          For this review I'm not going to go into too much detail on how the game works and rather concentrate on the differences between Streets of Rage 1 and 2. This is a side scrolling beat em up after all so there isn't much to say. If you've seen one you have a good idea what to expect. You move from left to right hitting enemies until you reach the level's boss. Pounding him into submission takes you to the next stage with the cycle repeating itself until you encounter Mr X and make him say uncle. If you've played the first game you shouldn't have too many problems as the combat is similar. You'll mostly be bashing one button to attack and occasionally moving in close to grapple/throw a foe.

          Despite the similarities between the two games there are a few tweaks to the Streets of Rage 2 engine which make the combat more refined. One new addition is that you now get energy bars for the enemies you face. This is may not sound like something major, but it does help with tactical decisions during the heat of battle. One quick glance at the top of the screen shows how close an opponent is to death which should help you decide what moves to unleash. For example why waste time grabbing someone and getting surrounded by his buddies if his health is low indicating that one quick punch will suffice to bring him down.

          In this game we are also introduced to special moves for each character which can be a big help in a pinch. Pressing the special attack button executes the move, but it depletes your health so it is not something you can abuse. These specials replace the smart bomb attack from the first game. My how I will miss the ability to summon a police car with bazooka to kill all enemies on the screen. In retrospect I can see why they replaced it though as the smart bomb was overpowered and looked ridiculous on certain stages. One other unique move players get is a dash attack which you pull off by taping forward twice. It's spectacular like a special move, but doesn't cost any energy so feel free to spam it to impress the chicks.

          CHARACTERS / WEAPONS

          As I alluded to in the introduction the roster of playable characters has increased in this edition from a trio to a quartet (yay foursomes are always fun.) In terms of characters not only has the quantity increased, but also the quality. In the first game the three heroes all played virtually the same with only their appearance distinguishing them. This time round the selectable characters feel different thanks to their unique special moves. Returning this time round are Axel and Blaze who are good all round choices. Making up for the loss of Adam is Max and Skate. Max is a slow moving powerhouse whilst the nimble Skate can cruise around enemies faster than anyone thanks to his rollerblades.

          To finish off I should mention the weapons you can pick up on your travels. Using these will extend your attack range and increase the damage you deal out. The arsenal available include melee weapons like swords and pipes along with knives which can be thrown from range. The stun gas from the first game doesn't feature in the sequel, but who cares (it was kinda naff.) I'm not sure if the gas was responsible to dazing enemies or if they just dozed off at being hit by such a dull weapon. I am however sad to see that beer bottles don't feature in Streets of Rage 2. I liked the shattering effect in the first game when you cracked one over someone's skull (hope they were empty as I despise wasting booze.)

          OVERALL

          I'm going to be controversial here and give Streets of Rage 2 a lower rating than the original game. This may sound weird as technically speaking the sequel is superior in almost every way. Visually it looks better and as mentioned before it boasts more playable characters. In terms of gameplay it also sports a broader selection of enemies (you start off with the familiar looking lackeys from the first game, but by the time you reach the latter stages you'll be facing anything from robots to spiky haired guys with jetpacks.)

          You can even argue that the level designs are better this time round as levels are broken up into stages. Instead of one long level you'll find that each stage is broken up into different sections (for example you may start in a baseball ground, before moving onto a hidden elevator and then finishing up in an underground base.) So why am I giving this a lower grade than the first game? Ultimately it boils down to personal taste. For whatever reason I find the original has more charm. I can count the number of times I have played Streets of Rage 2 on one hand, but couldn't fathom a guess as to how many times I have beaten the original.

          I think my memory of this game is tarnished by the first time I borrowed it off a friend. I beat it on my first go which left me feeling "is that it?" Sure the first game wasn't tough once you mastered it either, but I saw the game over screen a few times before besting Mr X for the first time. That's not to say that Streets of Rage isn't an excellent title. If you like retro fighters it is a must have. You'll get the most enjoyment out of it with a friend as the co-op is a blast. There's also a duel mode to challenge friends one on one, but I hardly touched it as the combat is nowhere as deep as Streetfighter 2.

          To conclude, this is a fine beat em up. If you've played the original to death the sequel is the natural next step up for your face punching needs. Four stars is not a five star Oscar, but it's still a respectable Golden Globe.

          Review also posted on Ciao.

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            03.09.2010 21:31
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            A solid beatem up that still holds its own against new arcade contenders

            I am sure most gamers my age or older have fond memories of the Streets of Rage series and sadly the second instalment was the only one that I ever saw to completion back in the day. Now Streets of Rage is on the Xbox 360 Arcade. I was a little worried at first that it would not hold up to the memories but I was pleased to see it was a foolish thought.

            Streets of Rage 2 on the 360 still holds up well, as far as pixel graphics go it is pretty elite, the detail of the characters and the use of lighting on the backgrounds is superb, back in the day before they could make light spots in Photoshop and suchlike. The sprites and animations are brilliant; the way characters get thrown and hit each other is still great and visually the game is a ot brighter and bolder than before.

            Beating the huge boss guys is still as satisfying as it used to be and just as crazy, I mean some of the guys must be like ten feet tall or more. I am not certain but the enemies are certainly tougher than before and I believe one or two have been added. The addition of life bars is nice too, so that way you know when an enemy is likely to hit the ground for good.

            Streets of Rage 2 has been changed in a number of waves one of the main characters before has been replaced with Max a hard hitting huge hulk of a bloke and Skate a little kid on, well you probably guessed it, skates. One has brawn and is slow and thuggish whilst the other has speed.

            You can now also do powerful attacks that drain a little of your life when used, so that you have to be wise in using your ultimate power.

            As far as beatem-ups go this is still a solid classic and holds its own against other side scrolling retro looking wannabes, such as Castle Crashers and Scott Pilgrim. If you haven't got it is well worth a try if you like your retro games. It also can be played by two people on the same console which with a lot of games now is steadily becoming a rarity.

            Streets of rage 2 can also be played online but it is unstable in my experiences and they also added an online versus mode, which seems unnecessary and to be quite frank rubbish. The versus mode is very basic and doesn't really have any depth of a one on one beatem up.
            If you are looking for good retro fun or want to randomly beat in hordes of thugs, this game is for you, but if you are looking for something slick and modern or a game with some online features you probably won't be too pleased.

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              31.08.2009 23:32
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              See description

              Streets Of Rage 2, a sequel to the very good original Streets Of Rage game on the Mega Drive.

              This game brings everything you get from the first one, the mean street brawling, the boss fights at the end of each stage, the great looking graphics, and Axel and Blade, the characters that made this game great.

              There are a couple of things in this game that dissapoints, one of which is the removal of the character Adam which is'nt such a big sadness to see him gone, and the special button function to bring out the police cars that fire missiles to annihilate opposing thugs has also been removed, but these are made up for by introducing a new Character, a much musclier heavyweight looking guy called 'Max' and Adam's son named Skate who is a little boy packed with speed and energy.

              You also get the special button replaced with a powerful combo attack instead of the police helping you out.

              Enemies that you come across are more tougher, a new wave of punks, robots and tough guys await you. They have bars of life showing you when they have almost been beaten.

              Weapons have also changed, some removed like the baseball bat, and the knife can be thrown.

              They have also improved the look of the game graphically, its a mass colourful and bolder improvement to the bland style of the first game, everyone looks a lot more life-like and tougher, the whole game just looks wonderful.

              The same great music style is also present in this game, only difference is they are different songs.

              This shouldn't be for kids though as it is still what i would regard a form of violent behaviour, it can set a bad example for kids, and really only should be played by adults who know better.

              You'll like this game if you love platformers, and like to go round beating things up in a game, this sure will go down a treat when you play a 2 player game arguing that you wanted to nail that guy, or why your team-mate hit you for no reason, this game is pure classic fun.

              This game can be downloaded on XBOX LIVE and also the Sega Mega Drive Collection game for this console (also available on PlayStation 3, it can also be found on the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis, Nintendo Wii's Online Virtual Console, the and toned down graphic versions on the Sega Master System & Sega Game Gear. So if you think you may have missed out on the Mega Drive cartridges of this game, then there are quite a few versions of this game out there.

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                28.07.2009 00:29
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                a smashing beat'em up which looks a straight port from the old megadrive game

                its good to see that the xbox live arcade titles are bringing back some of the old megadrive classics. i am pleased to report that streets of rage 2 still manages to capture the magic of the original version.

                play alone or co-op with a mate, you can be one of 4 characters as you fight your way through each level. for those of you who never played the original this game is a sort of a level based beat'em up where you fight numerous opponents and some pretty awesome bosses and you try to rescue a former member of your crew.

                they have kept the soundtrack exactly the same from the old megadrive effort but one thing that i did find a little disappointing was the graphics. this like the soundtrack, are pretty much a straight port from the megadrive. it would have been nice if, as they did with the recent street fighter xbox arcade title, give it a bit of a face lift.

                on the whole this is still a great game and anyone hoping to relive the nostalgia of the megadrive incarnation won't be disappointed!

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                  11.07.2009 17:47
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                  Even better than the original classic- a fantastic game

                  The original Streets of Rage was a massive hit when it came out, combining as it did for-the-time stunning graphics and some excellent beat-em-up style gameplay. The sequel improved upon the formula in every way imaginable, with souped-up graphics that are amongst the best of any megadrive game ever made, smoother animation with lots of new moves and loads of new enemies and sub-bosses.

                  Setting out once more to save a city from the grip of a sinister crime synicate, You can again play as the athletic, karate-trained Axel or the acrobatic female cop Blaze, although Adam from the first game is missing, having apparently been captured by the evil Mr Big. Instead you can choose to play as his irritating kid brother Skate, who flies about on rollerskates punching his enemies in the groin and leaping onto their shoulders and smacking them repeatedly around the head. This addition to the game is an especially silly one, and I always avoided playing as Skate as I found him both annoying and less fun to play as than the other characters. Finally you can play as Max, a huge musclebound wrestler who moves pretty slowly but makes up for this with his raw strength.

                  As well as the various thugs, criminals and martial artists that were present in the first game you also get to fight against kickboxers, electric-whip-wielding dominatrixes, knife-throwing punks, robots with laser attacks and swinging maces and bikers who try and run you down on their motorbikes and have to be fly-kicked off before you can beat them senseless. There are some interesting new bosses too, including a huge bald boxer with a mean headbutt, a burly bartender, a jetpacking mad scientist, a wrestler who's a dead ringer for the Ultimate Warrior and even, bizarrely, Blanka from Streetfighter 2. The final battle has you going up against a tommy-gun-wielding Mr Big, as in the first game, but, like everything else, it looks a lot better this time around.

                  The levels are similar to the original, including streets, a ship, a theme park, a weapons factory and a half-constructed bridge, although the levels are broken down into different sub-sections here which helps keep things from growing stale. The gameplay is essentally the same as in the original but with some interesting amendments- things are a lot more fast-paced this time around, and the control you have over your character is even more responsive, whilst there are often more enemies onscreen at any one time than in the original. Enemies all have health bars now, exactly the same as in Final Fight, a game by which Streets of Rage 2 is clearly heavily influenced. You can once again get bad guys in headlocks, piledrive them into the ground, or throw them over your shoulder, as well as take them down with knives, drainpipes and shirukens. The 'super-weapon' attacks of the first game have been replaced here by special moves which are guaranteed to get you out of trouble but also sap a little of your energy each time you use them, and this works well, as the attacks of the original game tended to break up the flow of the game as they paused everything for 8 or 9 seconds, and of course there were always moments when you would hit special attack when you meant to just hit punch, which could be very frustrating. Some of the new special moves are great, especially Axel's move where he batters enemies repeatedly with a deadly combo of left and right hooks.

                  Streets of Rage 2 still looks great today, both in graphically and animation-wise, and remains instantly playable. Oh, and the music is great too. There's very little I can think of to criticise about this game, and it just might be the best beat em up of its kind ever made.

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                  11.06.2009 11:45
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                  Improving on excellence.

                  Note:
                  This review is for the version as featured on the Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection, not the X Box Live version. Though it's written looking back at the Sega Mega Drive version in comparision to the original Streets Of Rage/Bare Knuckle game. If anyone deems this the incorrect category, I'll request dooyoo to lock it and I'll suggest the Mega Drive version for the site, as there is with the other games in the franchise.

                  On the back of the excellent STREETS OF RAGE the follow up, Streets Of Rage II (Bare Knuckle 2 in Japan) was a huge step forward and an even bigger success. The second game is often referred to as the pinnacle of the series as it seemed to improve in every way on what many enjoyed so much originally. The game was released 1 year after the original with a release in 1992, a time gap the story line of the game also makes a relation to.
                  To start this article I'm going to issue a SPOILER WARNING for the first game in the series, the following paragraph will ruin the ending of the first game for those who never completed it. It may wish to be avoided by the readers wishing to complete the first game for the story, despite the fact it's 18 years old, for those reading it, all it does is set the scene for this game.

                  The game is set a year after the original in which saw the trio of Adam, Axel and Blaze defeat the evil crime syndicate and their leader Mr X. To celebrate the anniversary of that momentous occasion the trio meet up after having net seen each other for a while, they'd all gone their separate ways. Adam had rejoined the police, Blaze had become a dance teacher and Axel had become a body guard in the intermediary time. The day after Adam's brother Eddie "Skate" Hunter comes home to see his house ruined and a picture of Adam in chains at the feet of Mr X, who's crime syndicate had come out of the woodwork and were again taking the streets back. The game then see's the fearless foursome of freedom fighters (fighting for Adam's freedom after all) END of SPOILERS..
                  The original pairing of Blaze and Axel both return as playable characters accompanied by two new heroes, "Skate" and Max. Like its predecessor the characters each had their own traits, which became more obvious during this game than the original. In the original one of the complaints was that Axel and Adam were too similar in moves with Blaze's move set being by far the most unique. The sequel saw a totally new move set, taking the originally limited move set (of around 10 moves) and replacing it with much more complex moves and the Blitz specials.

                  In this game the stats were altered from an A or B rating for Power, Jump and speed to a star rating (1-3) where 3 stars equal great and 1 is poor.
                  Axel is a good all rounder, with a poor jump, but great technique. He uses a lot of kicks and punches and is the best player for the beginner as he's fast enough and powerful enough to look after himself.
                  Blaze is the only girl from the group and is much like Axel in being an all rounder, with average stats right across the board she doesn't have a real weakness. Blaze uses quite athletic moves like back flips.
                  The first of the new characters is "Skate" who is a teenage on skates (hence the name), who's the slickster of the group. Skate has top speed and jump stats but the worst stamina (how well he takes a punch) and power. His moves focus mainly on his speed and the fact he's a light weight teenager.
                  The final new character is the wrestler Max who is the direct opposite of Skate, with no speed or jump, he makes up for it with power and stamina both being "maxed" (see the pun) out stats. Max's style of play is based around heavy hitting and lots of throws, though he cannot vault over an opponent.
                  Added to the game (as previously mentioned) were new "blitz" moves replacing the special "police" back up of the previous game, which again added a sense of individuality to each character. The uses of these use up 1/12 of a life bar, but inflict huge damage and can take out a host of enemies in one turn (most notably Max's "Thunder Tackle" and Skates' "Double Spin Kick"). This addition to the game was a hugely welcome addition to the previous game, where the police back up seemed relatively "samey" and only depended on which player (1 or 2) you were as opposed to being character specific.

                  The game like it's predecessor is a simple "side" based scrolling "brawler" (word take from the X Box Sega Mega Drive Collection description of the game, as personally I'd describe it as a Beat 'em up). The game is similar to the Final Fight and Golden Axe (also a Sega developed franchise) games, though see's a huge jump up in overall quality from the original SoR game (which it's self looked much superior to the original Golden Axe), the games improvements include:
                  The normal baddies now each having their own life bars, something that was originally limited to just the end of level bosses. To those reading this review it may not seem like much, but to those who have played the game, they will realise just how brilliant this addition was.

                  The game made full use of the bigger cartridge by expanding the original 5 "normal" enemies into a much wider cast of around 13 normal enemies. Going from normal punks in the early levels to giant fat guys (reminiscent of the fire breathing Boss from level 4 of SoR), jet pack using enemies and robots. This in turn gives the game a much wider scope of variety.
                  The levels are where the real improvement is though, going from the 1 scene type of the original stages where you started at the beginning of the act and fought the boss at the end. The levels in SoR are broken up into pieces, for example the games opening level starts out on a familiar cityscape similar to the opening two levels of the original. Then the player goes through a bar in the second part of the level proceeding to the back of the bar and the court yard. In the court yard you face the levels boss Barbon (who was the Barman/Barmon of the previous section of the level).

                  The also updates the relatively monotone graphics of the previous game, which often made each level look the same through out (for those who don't know what I mean, play any level and look at the back ground of that level, it's pretty much the same from start to end). This game shows off much improved graphics especially in the "Amusement park" level where a brilliant fog effect is added. The colours look smoother, brighter and more eye catching, the bad guys look better and of course the good guys look better.
                  The weapons of the original are back once again, with the silly pepper taken out, whilst the lead pipe and knife return. The game then adds a ninja knife, the bizarre and almost useless grenades and the excellent Katana sword which is awesome.

                  The game also adds a "duel" mode to the main game which sees 2 players face off in a more typical 1 V 1 contest. The fighting system and characters to use are identical to the main game and the mode should be seen as effectively a bonus mode to decide who really is better you or your friend. The game mode was a fun addition that was also seen in Golden Axe, was an enjoyable side attraction, but nothing Capcom (Street Fighter) or Midway (Mortal Kombat) were to be worried about.
                  A bizarre note about this is that the fighting mode was technically 3-D with players able to move left and right up and down (the screen) and also able to jump. Although it shouldn't be confused with true 3D beat 'em ups it did have what Mortal Kombat failed to until MK4 on the N64 in that respect.
                  Overall the game the game improves over the original in every way, with it being bigger, harder (no not like that...), prettier, more complex and overall a much more complete game. It is effectively a sequel that mixes only the best bits of the original then adds a host of new ingredients, mixes them to perfection and serves on the beautifully with the best china your family has. The game ends up being a bona fide gaming classic that still stands tall as one of the greatest mixtures of violence and fun, that proves yet further that gaming of the past actually relied on being fun.
                  The few flaws of the original (such as graphics and lack of moves) have been rectified wonderfully well with the characters each feeling totally different unlike the previous game where the characters felt quite samey.

                  The game does have one big annoyance with me though, that is the box art of the European release which shows the 4 playable characters. It shows Max as being bald, a bit of a weird one but it always confused me as a child so I'm unwilling to let it sit.

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                    10.04.2009 19:56
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                    A visceral and intense side-scrolling beat-em-up

                    Streets of Rage II is an innovative and original beat-em-up which helped to define the genre, alongside both its predecessor and its sequel. While fairly playable on the Xbox 360, it is best enjoyed on the Sega Megadrive.

                    For those unfamiliar with the format, the Streets of Rage games entail a succession of side-scrolling levels each culminating in fighting different kinds of bosses, suitable for one or two players.

                    There are a lot of new enemies on Streets of Rage two, as well as some re-worked variants on the original. These include standard thugs, professional wrestlers and boxers, fire-breathing fat men, electric whip-brandishing dominatrixes, robots, ninjas, samurai and even, a blatant clone of Blanka from Street Fighter!

                    Alongside the all-round fighter Axel and gymnast Blaze from SOR I, the player has the option to play as Max, a professional wrestler who is slow-moving but packs a hell of a punch which is rivalled only by his over-the-top bravado and machismo, and also Skate, the kid brother of Adam from SOR I, who runs and jumps around on rollerskates, jumping on enemy's backs at punching them in the back of the head!

                    Personally I find Skate very irritating, and not in keeping with the violent and visceral themes of the game.

                    It is a lot more fast paced than its predecessor, with many more enemies on the screen at any given time, and rather than the bazooka-toting reinforcements in SOR I, each character has a unique special move which can be used offensively or defensively but takes up a small portion of health every time it is used. If implemented correctly however, it can be well worth it.

                    Like the rest in the series, SOR II's two-player co-operative mode falls short, as there is often a big problem in having to avoid punching, stabbing or beating the other player senseless with baseball bats as you fight off your opponents.

                    The level design is much more cartoony than SOR I, and not nearly as realistic, but is certainly just as much fun!

                    This is the definitive beat-em-up series, and a must-have for any fans of retro-console games. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

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                      18.03.2009 23:20
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                      An essential piece of video game history

                      Streets of Rage on the Megadrive was simply immense. Superlatives simply cannot do it justice, it is as simple as that. If you were an original owner or player, then you must surely understand I am not exaggerating.

                      So, the inevitable announcement of a sequel brought squeals of joy from Megadrive owners all over the world. The graphics looked brighter, the sprites bigger, new characters, new enemies, new weapons! For any young boy, this was a dream come true.

                      My memory is failing me these days, and according to Wikipedia, part 2 was released in 1992. I was given this as a gift for what must have then been my eleventh birthday. I was the first amongst my peers to own it and absolutely rinsed this game.

                      Mr X was mistakenly thought to be dead, but he is back and meaner than ever. This time he has new henchmen ready to kill for him. Once more, you must take to the Streets of Rage and dispatch them!

                      As before, you can play solo or with a friend choosing now from four characters. Adam has been captured, and his younger (and rubbisher) kid brother Skate enters the fray, Axel and Blaze return alongside Axel's wrestler friend Max. As before, characters have different levels of strength and speed, with individual moves available.

                      Purists and long term fans are split over which installment is better, part one or part two (everyone agrees that part three was dire). Part one had a deliciously dark and downbeat feel to it, whilst part two takes on a Final Fight-esque cartoon style. In this sequel, gone are our police comrades with their car and projectile attacks, instead, each character have Street Fighter type special moves, which in true beat em up style, drain your health when used.

                      Each character has two of these. One is a standing attack which will hit characters on each side of you. If you use this, but do not hit anyone, then you do not pay a health penalty. The other attack will attack enemies further away, but will drain health regardless of impact. These new attacks are certainly good fun. Max's shoulder charge absolutely massacres certain bosses, whilst Axel's are probably most aesthetically pleasing.

                      Additionally, by pressing fowards twice and attack, you will perform another special move, Axel's Grand Upper (or Where's the Car? as we liked to call it)is particularly damaging and impressive.

                      As before you have the medley of other attacks such as flurries, grab attacks, throws and jump kicks (Blaze's lets you see her knickers as the media were delighted to point out at the time) Thanks to the dash attacks, it is easier to take out quicker opponents with Max than it was for Adam in the previous installment, which makes it a less frustrating experience.

                      The whole game is better animated than ever, the sprites are larger and a joy to watch. We are graced with more enemies too, although the usual practise of pallete swapping colours is still standard procedure. The bosses are once again larger sprites and pretty fiendish, especially on higher difficulties (the jet pack boss and robots can be particularly stressful). A slight criticism is that these bosses are repeated a bit too often, but that is pretty standard fare for beat em ups, so cannot complain too much really.

                      The backgrounds are brighter than before and the stages are generally longer. As with the first game, we are given the usual stereotypical locations- factories, lifts, streets, hideouts, beaches. The beach in particular has some awesome animation and graphics.

                      As before, the audio is stunning. Special moves are accompanied by digitised speech and impact sounds. Hits connect and goons die with suitabley satisfying effect.

                      This sequel feels easier than the original game. Certain moves make it far easier to progress (the Grand Upper in particular seems to stuff a lot of enemy attacks). As before there are several difficulty levels as well as the impossible Mania mode to unlock, should you be capable of completing it on hardest.

                      Fighting your way through the streets of rage is made easier with various items hidden under barrels and boxes. Some give you extra health, lives or are weapons with which to attack the enemy. The arsenal has been extended from the first game and you can now choose whether to hurl a weapon as a projectile. Weapons such as the katana do huge damage, accompanied by a satisfying swiping noise.

                      As before, a game like this is far more fun when played with a (supposed) friend. As with all of the best beat em ups, you can hurt each other with a misplaced (or deliberate) punch, flying kick or thrown knife. My brother and I had countless fights in real life due to stolen turkeys or grabbing a gold bar that was rightly mine, or a punch thrown which ended a life. Teaming up as God intended is nowhere near as much fun as being a bit underhand and ensuring your own survival. One thing missing is the ability to hurl your partner at the enemies as you could in the original. These team attacks added a bit more depth to proceedings (especially if you kneed them in the head a few times before chucking them) and are a strange omission.

                      In addition to the single player mode, you can also play a two player duel, similar to that found in games such as Golden Axe. Strangely, this does not have a one player version, but instead you battle against a friend. As with Golden Axe, it lacks depth, especially compared the like of Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat.

                      I love the vibe and atmosphere of the first game, I much prefer its darker tone. It is a shame that Sega removed so many great elements for the sequel. Where are the team attacks, the pepper pot, the police car!?! On the flip, the game is bigger, longer and has more replay value thanks to the larger roster.

                      Both games are rightly regarded as classics, and are essential purchases for the system. This is a rare case of both games being worthy purchases, as opposed to one game in the series far outshining the rest. Go. Play. Now.

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                    • Product Details

                      Special fighting moves for characters and unique weapons add to the excitement as you fight your way to the Syndicate's stronghold.