Streets of Rage 2 Review

Streets of Rage 2 is one of those classic beat ‘em up games that just about every Sega Genesis owner remembers fondly. Sega’s iOS emulator is also a bit of a classic, in that it’s been around for almost two years and hasn’t changed a bit. Does Sega’s emulator get in the way of another great game?

In Streets of Rage 2, first released in 1992 on the Sega Genesis, you have to work your way to the right through hundreds of tough enemies who are looking to beat you to a pulp, slash you to ribbons, or crack you over the head with a lead pipe three feet long. These enemies don’t listen to reason, just violence, leaving you no choice but to fight back just as viciously.

You can pick one of four different heroes, two of whom were in the first Streets of Rage. Each character has a main attack button, a jump button, and a special move that’s powerful, but also uses up a bit of your health. The genius behind the Streets of Rage series is that you can combine these three buttons to create several different combos and special moves, and each character has their own unique moves and animations. In addition, you can pick up knives, pipes, and other weapons to really cause some damage.

Shoryuken!

For all its relentless violence, Streets of Rage 2 has a wonderful feeling of variety. You’ll travel through a Disneyland-like pirate ride, a secret elevator in the middle of a baseball diamond, and a bar where the bad guys are playing their own beat ‘em up arcade games. The enemies are no less varied, and you’ll face down martial artists, punks, bikers, ninjas, and fat men breathing fire.

It’s a fantastic game, even if it is very difficult, and contains a few leftover glitches from 1992. For example, you can beat up most enemies easily by spacing your punches a half second apart, stunning them in the middle of their animation cycles. Your character also can’t carry weapons between scenes.

The problem, once again, is not with the 1992 game, which is emulated here perfectly. It’s Sega’s emulator, which forces you to deal with clunky onscreen controls that can’t be moved or hidden. Also, there are no extras whatsoever, which is a missed opportunity to reward fans for nearly 20 years of devotion. It’s the same complaint we’ve had with every Sega Genesis game on the App Store so far, including classics like Sonic the Hedgehog 2 and Gunstar Heroes.

One nut shot, coming up.

Sega needs to wake up and realize that their sub-par iOS emulator is holding back their incredible collection of classic games. If they don’t change, gamers will just jailbreak their phones and play ROMs for free on an unofficial emulator instead of paying $2.99 for an official app. Capcom, we should note, has made a similar beat ‘em up, Final Fight, available for free in Capcom Arcade.

Anyone who loves classic action games should play Streets of Rage 2. It’s an amazing game, but Sega should update their emulator and get with the times.

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