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Streets of Rage 2: What Did Critics Say Back in 1993?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on July 30, 2014   |   Episode 75 (Show Archive)  

   

Streets of Rage 2 (Genesis)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

After showing up the mighty Final Fight, Streets of Rage returned with an even more explosive 16-bit sequel. Streets of Rage 2 featured a brand new look and a few fresh faces, making this Sega's biggest brawler yet. Were critics still excited by the beat-em-up genre in 1993, or were they more excited about the next Street Fighter installment? We dig through old issues of GamePro, Sega Force, Mean Machines, and Mega Play for the answers.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

Streets of Rage 2
[ Company: Sega | Console: Genesis ]

GAMEPRO (February 1993)
5 out of 5

"Stacked against the Final Fights and Super Double Dragons of the world, Streets of Rage 2 more than fends for itself. Sixteen megabits of great, improved graphics, massive sprites, top-notch audio, and multitudes of moves make it the 165-bit [sic] side-scrolling street fighter to beat. Would-be Genesis heavyweight champs, this game's right up your alley!" -Slasher Quan

SEGA FORCE #16
95% out of 100%

"It's finally here! The first 16 Meg cartridge to grace the MD! So pick up your joypad, phone up your friends and get ragin' 'cos SOR II is the best thing to happen to MD owners since the rise of a certain blue hedgehog. It's the hottest release of '93 and set to become classic. As actions speak louder than words, all that's left to say is Streets Of Rage II is totally fantastic!" -Paul

MEAN MACHINES
(The Essential Sega Guide)
92% out of 100%

"Streets of Rage II is the ultimate cartridge beam 'em' up on the Megadrive. The graphics are superb, with huge sprites and great animation. There's also loads of enemies attacking at once. Sound and presentation are of an equally high standard, and the gameplay is just superb, especially in two-player team mode. You couldn't want more from a beat 'em up." -Jaz

SEGA FORCE #16
92% out of 100%

"I've waited ages for this! At long last, SEGA FORCE gets the official finished cartridge! Streets Of Rage II's gonna be a huge success. I can see the Chest Chamber in months to come full of tips for this conker! Okay, so the hype's not as grand as good old Sonic's, but Streets Of Rage II deserves a place in any gamer's collection. Well done, Sega -- A smart product.!" -Ade

MEAN MACHINES SEGA #3
90% out of 100%

"Streets of Rage II is a truly arcade quality beat 'em up from Sega! And when I mean arcade quality, I mean a game that actually beats the spots off any Neo Geo beat 'em up! Streets of Rage II is simply the best beat 'em up you can get for a console (it's a bit unfair to compare it with Super NES Street Fighter II because they're different games). My only gripe is that it is too easy in EASY mode -- leave it in NORMAL mode and you're in for a highly challenging, mega-quality game! Buy it NOW!" -Rich

MEGA PLAY (February 1993)
84% out of 100%

"This is definitely one of the best games in this genre for the Genesis. The graphics are very good and the animation superb. The music is complex and upbeat, and the sound effects are great. The moves are simple and there are enough techniques to keep it from getting repetitive. A solid cart." -Martin Alessi

MEGA PLAY (February 1993)
80% out of 100%

"This is a solid action fighter with a good variety of moves and weapons. However, I found that the special moves gave you too much strength and made the game too easy. Less power and more technique would have made it more challenging. Still, it's a solid two player game." -Howard Grossman
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 90% - Even with Street Fighter II and its clones hogging the spotlight, critics seemed excited for Streets of Rage 2. Sega Force couldn't wait to call the game "totally fantastic," and Jaz from Mean Machines says argues that "you couldn't want more from a beat 'em up." By 1993 the idea of a two-player beat-em-up wasn't that novel, but Streets of Rage still impressed the critics with its good looks and vast array of moves.

Not everybody agreed that Streets of Rage 2 came back bigger and better. Mega Play called the game a "solid action fighter with a good variety of moves and weapons," but they complained about it being too easy. This was echoed by several other magazines, including Mean Machines. Even with that complaint, no critic gave the brawler a score lower than 80%. And while Streets of Rage 2 didn't match the original's 91% average, it came incredibly close. Even with Mega Play's two lukewarm scores, Streets of Rage 2 averages an impressive 90%.

STREETS OF RAGE VS. FINAL FIGHT - ROUND 2: After surprising everybody in 1991, Streets of Rage 2 came out swinging. As it turns out, Sega could have dialed it back and still clobbered Capcom. As far as the critics were concerned, Final Fight 2 was a big disappointment. While Die Hard Game Fan loved it (even giving it an inflated 93%), most critics were less thrilled. The lowest score came from SNES Force and Nintendo Magazine System, which gave the game a miserable 58%. Final Fight 2's average was 71%, nearly twenty points away from Streets of Rage 2.

ON FRIDAY'S EPISODE: Get ready to complete the trilogy, because the Review Crew will be looking at Streets of Rage 3 on Friday. Was this a fitting end to the beat-em-up series, or were critics done with this style of fighting game? Tune in on Friday for all the answers. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!

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