Streets of Rage 2 review - Sega Megadrive

Read Original Review PDF for Streets of Rage 2

Streets of Rage 2 box artAfter Axel Stone, Blaze Fielding and Adam Hunter destroyed the evil Syndicate leader, Mr. X, the city became a peaceful place to live, and each one of them followed their own paths. One year later, after their reunion, Adam's brother Sammy returned from school to find their apartment in a mess, and Adam nowhere to be seen, and after calling his two friends, one of them notices a photo of Adam chained to a wall, next to someone they knew very well - Mr. X, who returned to turn the peaceful city once again into a war zone. Now, Axel, Blaze, Sammy, and Axel's good friend Max, a pro wrestler, must head out to stop Mr. X once again...hopefully for good...

Streets of Rage 2 is a major improvement over the previous title. Changes in both graphics (characters now are bigger, better detailed and with more animation frames and scenarios are less grainy) and gameplay (the rocket move was replaced by a special move that doubles in offense and defense along several new moves), along other new features such as life bars (and names) for all enemies and the radically different new characters make the game one of the definitive titles of Sega's 16-bit console.

Overall Score90%

Retrospective comments


If you haven't yet played Streets of Rage II then you are in for a treat. Simply put this is probably the best scrolling beat-em-up available on any console. Yes it is that good!

Sega didn't do just a lazy update of the original - this sequel got the full treatment. So what's new? First two new characters in the shape of cumbersome muscleman Max Thunder and Adam's little bro Eddie AKA 'Skate' (No Adam though). The inclusion of these new characters really helps to balance the gameplay out. Each character plays quite differently so it adds more variety to the game than the prequel. Gone is the silly special weapon of a police car firing missles at the bad guys upon request (which served to break the gameplay with a 5 second cutscene). To replace this new 'special' moves have been included which can help get the player out of a tricky situation. Double tapping the D-pad in the direction you a produces a special move such as Axel's uppercut, with a press of the special weapon button you can produce two powerful energy sapping moves depending if you press forwards or not.

The fighting mechanics are improved greatly with more scope for combos and tag team shenanigans. The baddies are tougher than ever with crazed motorcyclists, sword wielding ninjas and Blanka style beasts for you to dispatch into next week.

The music is as awesome as ever with the genius of Yuzo Koshiro writing the score. There's a techno vibe which works so well with this type of game. The sound effects are great too. You will have no complaints in the visuals department either, the animation is lovely and smooth, no slowdown even with 10 enemies or more are on the screen at once, the character sprites and big, bold and colourful and the backgrounds are some of the more detailed you will see on the Megadrive.

For a game which was released in 1992 this game feels as if it has not aged at all. It is really the definitive 2 player scrolling beat-em-up and deserves to be in every gamers' collection.

Lady Michiru - 15 Jul 2008, 00:43 GMT

Bare Knuckle 2 Rules the Street.

Blaze Fielding is my favourite character to use.

Tris Wicks - 05 Nov 2008, 07:02 GMT

Yes after years i realized Axel was shouting "Bare Knuckle!" when launching his uppercut but i would have much preferred him to shout "Streets of Rage 2!" as i like to, when out punching prostitutes and street punks.

Tony - 29 Jan 2009, 06:23 GMT

This game was my favourite of all three Streets of Rage games and I keep hoping to see a truly worthy remake come out for the current generation of systems. So far Saint's Row 2 seems to be a good remake, in a sense with the flowing combat system in it though minus the special moves and attacks of the SOR games.
It would be great if one day a really, really good developer can bring back the SOR series and do it right.

Godpikachu - 08 Feb 2009, 03:32 GMT

This game was, and still is, the dogs bollocks, even though its over 10 years old.
Few other side scrolly fighting games before or since have surpassed this, it had spot on graphics, ridiculously addictive gameplay, and sported one of the mega drives best sound tracks.

All of the characters were easy to use, but tricky to master, thus quadrulping its replay value.

Hell, i still dust off my old MD and slap this piece of classic gaming gold into the slot and fiddle with it a bit, then once ive finished doing that i play the game.

Stayrsaigh - 21 Mar 2009, 21:48 GMT

If ever there was a game that honestly took ever aspect of the original and improved on it it's this one! Every gripe, every flaw and even stuff that was fine on its own in the original was improved apon! I first saw this game on a free video with a magazine (The name escapes me!) and my jaw dropped, but the actual game was even better and months flew by with this ultra cart! It actually did put the mighty Final Fight to shame and I'm talking about the arcade version! Like Shinobi III this is again a classic example of what Sega developers could do with their 16-Bit machine to really show it off and annoy the competition!

RHYS - 26 Dec 2009, 14:00 GMT

One of the best games ever made. Only 90%???????

yo_soy - 01 Mar 2010, 14:38 GMT

My first ever wages, £45, were spent on this and I had to give up smoking as I couldn't afford it.

Pete C - 08 Mar 2010, 00:43 GMT

@Tris Wicks
He shouted 'Grand Upper' in SOR2 and 'Bare Knuckle' in SOR3. You got it wrong.

Stuart - 12 Aug 2010, 16:22 GMT

This should have got more than 90%. MMS was very harsh on this. I would personally have thought 96%
It still is one of the world's best scrolling beat'em up, probably only beaten by Final Fight but not by much.

tom richards - 30 Apr 2011, 20:51 GMT

mint game, brillant

Ninjah1982 - 17 Apr 2013, 15:04 GMT

Come onnnnnnnnn! Surely 90% is way underrated! What's wrong with these reviewers, were they drunk or something? 95%+ EASILY!

panch - 29 Feb 2016, 13:44 GMT

Yes 95% +++ and I tell you why- I spent the afternoon playing Neo Geo and afterwards put SOR2 on and it looked, sounded and played so good it actually impressed me more, better than Burning fight anyday, I even preferred it to Final fight back in the day. My score 98%- nothing on the MD looks or sounds as good.

Mean Machines Sega
Beat 'Em Up Sega Megadrive
Buy today!

Mega Game

Streets of Rage 2

Streets of Rage 2

Streets of Rage 2

Streets of Rage 2

Streets of Rage 2

The Mean Machines Archive Sega Megadrive Reviews Super Nintendo Reviews Nintendo Entertainment System Reviews Sega Master System Reviews Amstrad GX4000 Reviews Nintendo Gameboy Reviews