hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

RetRose Tinted: Streets of Rage 2

4:36 PM on 09.09.2008 // Conrad Zimmerman

Like many, I've been playing a lot of Castle Crashers in the last couple of weeks and it has me thinking about other 2D brawler games I've enjoyed over the years. When these games were popular, I played every one I could get my hands on. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles series, The Simpsons arcade game, Double Dragon and the landmark, cult classic River City Ransom were all considerations for this week's RetRose Tinted.

I settled on Streets of Rage 2 because I probably played it more than any other game of its type. It was a pack-in title for a Sega Genesis bundle when my neighbor across the street decided to step out of the 8-Bit era. We played it constantly, to the point where we knew every level backwards and forwards and had completed it with every character many times. To this day, I can still recall the locations of nearly every hidden 1up and weapon.

It's been a while since I really gave it serious play, however. I picked the game up for Virtual Console when it was released some time ago, gave it a short run-through and then moved on to other things. Join me after the jump as I take a closer look back at what I remember as one of the finest examples of the 2D brawler genre.

Streets of Rage 2

Streets of Rage 2 is one of the first brawlers I can remember playing where the characters had distinct strengths and weaknesses that weren't exclusively limited to how much damage they inflict versus the amount they receive. They're all balanced in their own way, with Axel and Blaze being a little more middle-of-the-road, while Skate and Max are more severe extremes.

In addition to characters being faster or stronger than others, there are subtle differences as well. Skate, for example, is the only character to have a dash at their disposal and can use it to drop multiple enemies with a rolling dive. Blaze is a much more competent knife-weilder and uses them in a two-hit combo that throws enemies to the ground.

Streets of Rage 2

The movesets are pretty impressive for a game from the early nineties with only three buttons on the controller. Standard attacks are, of course, a combo with a varying number of hits depending on the character. Max only swings a few times in a combo and has a pretty limited range but every strike hurts. Skate, on the other hand, chips away at opponents and is better for keeping villains on the ground.

Each character also has two special attacks that offer different advantages. Simply pressing the special attack button alone launches you into an attack that clears away enemies that have been ganging up on you if you start to become overwhelmed. Holding a direction and pressing the button instead attacks with a powerful move that can inflict a considerable amount of damage if it lands. Both special attacks will drain a little bit of your health, so there's some strategy involved in when to deploy them.

Streets of Rage 2

In addition, everyone is able to grab enemies, and the majority of opponents can be grappled with. Once held, attacks change depending on which side of their body you are facing. You can switch your orientation by flipping over their shoulders. This allows you to change up your attacks and maximize damage by chaining moves together. I think my favorite move in the game involves Skate jumping up on to the shoulders of an enemy and pummeling their head repeatedly.

One of the most entertaining aspects of the game lies in its environments. Instead of opting for the standard areas we've come to expect from the genre (such as slums, sewers and factories), Streets of Rage 2 ventures just a little bit into the absurd. An entire stage is set in an amusement park and you'll pass through a pirate-themed ride and a very strange locale clearly derived from the Alien films. I think my favorite is the baseball stadium where the pitcher's mound descends into a hidden base. It's just a little surreal to be fighting in the brawler cliche of an elevator when it is designed in such a way.

Streets of Rage 2

Enemies have a good amount of of that surreal quality as well. Sure, there are the standard street punks to beat on, but things quickly take a turn for the wierd. Motorcycle gangs wearing neon outfits festooned with tiger stripes and fur lining start showing up. Morbidly obese men in trucker hats breathing fire are another example.

With the exception of thee boss enemies, every boss becomes a standard enemy-type as the game progresses. They don't have a significant decrease in their health either (some will even have more) and you can be assaulted by multiple bosses from different levels at the same time. Fights become brutal affairs in the lead-up to the final confrontation, with swarms of bad guys assaulting you from all sides.

Streets of Rage 2

As a brawler, Streets of Rage 2 is pretty deep but I don't think I can play it anymore. It hasn't aged as well as I would have hoped and the pace isn't nearly fast enough for me now. I constantly felt like I was walking through deep snow with how slowly the characters move. The music is really repetitive and annoying, to the point that I had to mute my television to prevent myself from just turning off the game.

In many ways, I think Castle Crashers may have ruined the experience of classic brawling games for me. It has demonstrated practically every element that makes for a good game in the genre, packaged it in an attractive design and offered an incredible amount of replay value. In the face of that, it's hard to look at any game in the genre the same way again.

Conrad Zimmerman, Moustache
 Follow Blog + disclosure ConradZimmerman Tips
An avid player of tabletop and video games throughout his life, Conrad has a passion for unique design mechanics and is a nut for gaming history. He can be heard on the comedy podcast () and str... more   |   staff directory

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Niero Desu avatarNiero Desu
That time when Mr. Destructoid went to Vegas [img][/img]
SirDavies avatarSirDavies
As someone who hasn't played the MGS series at all, should I play it by release date or story order?
Vuster avatarVuster
Been watching a good friend play the Metal Gear game on twitch soon. I will say I can understand the appeal 100% and Kojima knows how to make a great piece of work. I think will hold off on a new pc and get this if this keeps up!
FlanxLycanth avatarFlanxLycanth
So I can plug any headphones I want into my PS4 controller. If said headphones have a mic, will it work in chat?
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
Gee whilikers, guys. I might just explain where I've been and what I've been up to while I've been gone. That'd be a good topic for a c-blog getting me whipped back into shape, right? I'ma try to write more, so expect more of me in the future!
bloma avatarbloma
Just bought Fez for xbox 360. Playing it on my 58 inch plasma. What a beautiful game.
OrochiLeona avatarOrochiLeona
So there's a chance more MKX characters are being revealed today. Now, I'm not saying you *should* cross your fingers and say a prayer for me to get my waifu Sindel just, y'know, it would be monstrous of you to make me cry with your lack of love & support
StriderHoang avatarStriderHoang
Just so you know, I've been a Huge subscriber for a few years but I thought I had until the end of September to cancel it. So I've opened an inquiry for the refund, which is on tinypass' end of things by the way.
techsupport avatartechsupport
I once posted that Total Recall was the best movie ever made. I would like to make note that Starship Troopers is a close second. Carry on.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
I put too many peppers in my sausage and potatoes. My asshole is on fire. I want to cry when I wipe. But it was good.
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
One glorious Japanese twitter user made a custom LBX of one of my favorite Kamen Riders: [img][/img] It's like getting peanut butter in chocolate but with small robots and spandex banana men!
SeymourDuncan17 avatarSeymourDuncan17
I feel terrible for not reading most of you beautiful people's blogs. Let's just say my passion is writing, not reading :s
techsupport avatartechsupport
People can debate GOTY all they want, but the real question is: D-Horse or Roach?
Mr Knives avatarMr Knives
I'm dragging myself away from my PS4 long enough to say that MGS V is pretty darn awesome so far.
Myles Cox avatarMyles Cox
Down with that PAX Pox. Auhhhghghghhhh
Shinta avatarShinta
MGSV: Sneaking into a heavily guarded Russian military base in Afghanistan at night, slashing throats while listening to this. [youtube][/youtube] Comes off like a perfectly planned scene in a Scorsese movie or something.
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
Tortilla chips: The only food I know and love to betray me by deciding to flip to a bad angle and stab me in the gums.
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
I'm ok with Namco shutting down Soul Calibur: Lost Souls, as long as they keep Ace Combat:Infinity running. Love that game and just hit 3 million credits.
ScreamAid avatarScreamAid
Holy fuck I feel new again. I've been on hiatus for a while and haven't been up to writing. I might just jump back into things after I relearn things here. Does anyone even remember me? Like damn it's been a while.
Jed Whitaker avatarJed Whitaker
In MGS5: The Phantom Pain, Solid Snake dies from lung cancer from all those years of smoking. #FakeSpoilers
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -