Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Streets of Rage 2 (Sega Genesis, 1992)

 
Brawler Week continues as I check out the game that in another universe was called Mike Tyson's Stweets of Wage.



One year after the first game, everything has gone to shit again!

The villain of the first game is back. His name is Mr. X, no relation to Dr. Wily.

This time, he kidnaps Adam! That bastard!

In Adam's place we've got two new characters that play to both of Adam's strengths. First we've got an actual giant slow powerhouse, putting this more in line with standard brawlers.

Second we've got Adam's little brother, who has Adam's jumping ability.

Then there's Axel, a balanced character with powerful special attacks.

Finally, there's the averaged-out Blaze. Only one of these four does Lambada in her spare time, so the choice is obvious.

The game starts with a bang: The Stage 1 theme is one of the best Sega Genesis tracks I've ever heard.

Absolutely incredible track here. When I was a kid and people asked what kind of music I liked, I'd tell 'em video game music, and they often didn't get it. Well, it was stuff like this that made me say that. The right composer could make even 8-Bit games pop off.

The trusty pipe, which served me so well in the previous game, returns.

We get a much nicer rain effect than the previous game as we arrive at the first boss. He stands back and lets you fight his goons, who themselves stay back and crouched until it's their turn to fight.

Once the Shitter Adds(tm) are taken care of, the boss himself is...very very easy to beat, surprisingly. This game in general is MUCH easier than the first one. Not sure if it's because of the faster movement speed or if the enemies are slower to react or what.

The next stage is a construction site. So many brawlers have you fighting at construction sites, for some reason. This guy is a jet-pack wielding jerk who flies around out of reach like Baxter Stockman until you spam jump kicks to win.

We arrive at...some sort of Disney World type place. And like the actual Disney, it's full of dark secrets and nefarious people.

In the arcade, Blaze pays tribute to Miro by smashing an arcade machine and then German Suplexing a dude.

A pirate ship ride is the next step. This is a pretty creative setting for a level, well done.

Next up... a Xenomorph cave? This really threw me off and I thought the game was diving into the realm of sci-fi, like Contra. I think it's just another section of the amusement park, though.

Except you fight this giant alien thing at one point. It's gotta be some kind of animatronic or something, right?

That isn't even the boss. The real boss fight puts me face-to-snout with Redrum from Xenogears. Or as I know him, Claw Man. This guy is the most obnoxious boss in the game and shows up multiple times, but he's still nowhere near as bad as the Clone Duo from the first game (still don't know what to call them). In this first fight his HP is low, at least.

Next stop: The park, as we head to Sega Stadium. Yeah, they really got creative with the settings in this one. It plays better than the first one, too. Combine those with lower difficulty (and no Twins From Hell) and I have no trouble saying this is easily the best game in the series so far. I did like Blaze's very 80's outfit in the first one more, though.

At the baseball mound, I plaster Big Ben with a pipe swing. He probably flew over the stands and landed somewhere on Lansdowne Street.

The boss here has you in an arena fight with a wrassler. Not sure if this is Ultimate Warrior again.

Jump kicks are something foes in this game seem to have a lot of issues avoiding. Unfortunately they also do very little damage compared to most games with jump kicks.

Next, I wield a sword in a boxing fight with Popeye. I'm going all over the place in this game. And on that note...

The boss theme. Another great freaking theme. Is it as good as the boss theme in the first game, though? I don't know. It's a close battle between them.

Next we end up at the beach, where my foes are enjoying their Spring Break by FOIGHTIN.

Claw Man 2. That looks like an enemy base in the background there, so I must be closing in on the end. The key in these games is to not lose too many lives early on, and take full advantage of any healing items you find. This often means leaving a health item laying around until you take more damage so as not to waste healing. That said, this game is much more lenient than the first, so you don't need to tightly plan how you play it.

Blaze fights the LEGION OF DOOM.

Next boss: A pair of robots. I thought I was in for it, until I realized they're more annoying than difficult. The Sisters of Destruction would annihilate these two.

The final stage has you fighting a bunch of boss reduxes, sometimes multiple at a time. The last one is yet another Claw Man and the worst one yet. He took off like five of my fifteen lives.

Mr. X shows up here with his new accomplice: Shiva. And it's safe to say Shiva is the muscle of this operation. Will I even fight Mr. X this time?

Shiva is an absolute badass and attacks with some very cool martial arts moves. They did a great job making you want to play as him, from this fight alone. In Streets of Rage 3 he's the secret character that you can play as with a code, though he isn't canon to the story (i.e. he hates the good guys).

I was actually surprised to have to fight Mr. X after that, because Shiva seemed like such a final boss. Much like the previous game, Mr. X is much easier than the fights before him. He does the exact same things here, running to the corner and firing his machine gun.

The main issue is getting rid of the Shitter Adds(tm). Also, I make heavy use of Blaze's special attack here, as it completely wrecks his health meter. In the previous game, specials cleared the room and had extremely limited uses. Here, specials target one foe, and you can use them as often as you want, but like other games in the genre they drain your health.

Adam is rescued and reunited with his brother, and that's it for this one. Bring on the next one! I'm interested in knowing more about this Shiva character.

We'll see how 3 and 4 compare to this. So far, it's the best game in the series, and probably one of Sega's best games of all time. Seriously, this has to be a top 10, maybe top 5 game for the Genesis. I'd put it second only to Phantasy Star 4 myself on the system, but most Sega fans would likely argue for the inclusion of Sonic 3 and other Sonics above it.

Another ludicrously good soundtrack here. The box art is interesting again, as we can see Blaze (looking completely different from the game) Sweeping The Leg. The most brutal move in martial arts, as fans of The Karate Kid know.

The first stage theme in this game really got me going for Brawler Week. That song could wake someone from a coma. Bring on the next game.



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