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Title: Streets of Rage 2 (4th review)
Rom Player: Gens
Reviewer: Mike Grace

Synopsis: To start out, this game is probably the reason I enjoy so much random violence in the world. Imagine walking down the street, seeing some damn punk kid with a bad hairdo and a crappy name, and bam! He's on the ground with a lead pipe between his eyes, just because he looked threatening! ONLY IN AMERICA CAN THAT HAPPEN! Anyways, to give some background information, this is the sequel to Streets of Rage, the original. It's pretty much the same plot line, but you have more options in the game. First off, you have can play with 2 people (Editorís note: 2 player capability did exist in the first Streets of Rage), the game has many more moves (which will be discussed later), and 2 new characters. The original characters (Axel and Blaze) are there, but with 2 more characters named Max and Skate. Personally, I enjoyed Max. The guy's fucking HUGE! HE DID BODY SLAMS ON GUYS HIS OWN SIZE, FOR CHRISTSAKES! He's a friend of Axel and Blaze, and a semi-pro wrestler, and got dragged into the story because he's a nice guy or something. Now, Skate, he's probably the most annoying character in the game. He makes a "mou-kee-hee" sound every time he does an uppercut with his feet. Yes, feet. Not that I hate the kid, but I mean, who fights with skates on?

Now, the unimportant storyline: Skate's brother and sister were kidnapped by Mr. X (or some other ominous name), and he's fighting to get them back. and so, he finds Axel, Blaze, and Max, and together they go and kick the shit out of those damn inner-city punk-assed kids (Editorís note: The real storyline is this: Adam, one of the playable characters from the first game, is kidnapped by Mr. X, and his friends, Axel, Blaze and Max, along with his brother, Skate, come to his rescue). All the characters also have some badass moves, too. For instance, each character has a "special" that does a lot of damage, but drains some of their energy. Blaze has some kind of "magical-blow-torch-that-burns-you-but-not-me" thing that is kinda cool. Axel has his infamous (and impressive) "fists of fury". Just him doing his special made me want to be a pro boxer, kicking the shit out of my classmates in elementary school for no other reason than I can. Then, there's Max, the best player in the game. He does his "run-dash-tackle" thing that, if timed correctly, will beat the shit out of anyone in front of him. Then, there's Skate. His special makes no sense, both physically and according to the laws of physics. He "drill kicks" his enemies. If you've ever played, you know what Iím talking about. He jumps into the air, twirls around, and "drills" himself into the enemies. It looks like the programmers ran out of cool ideas for special moves, so they gave him some kind of hybrid thing they saw on "Xena, Warrior Princess" the night before. But Iíll give it an A for effort, because the rest of the game rocks.

There are about 8-10 stages in the game, and 3 levels in each stage, totaling to about 30 or so levels. Each level is pretty much the same: kick the shit out of evil here, make a teenager cry there, and generally commit random acts of violence and random acts of cruelty. It's for those same reasons the game kicks so much ass. There's also a boss at the end of each stage. Generally, they are pretty easy until around the 6th or 7th stage. From there, itís survival of the fittest. You gotta be a master of this game to beat it, no questions. The hardest levels are stage 9 and the final level. In stage 9, you get generally HUGE guys that actually fight back (all the inner-city kids are dead now, thanks to you, so they bring in the big guns). You fight from the bottom of an office building up to the top, where you end up fighting 2 robots that can kick major ass. MAJOR ASS! But you're not done yet; you get to ride the ELEVATOR OF DEATH AND PAIN! You literally get tested by the programmers again. Every boss and underling you've ever fought pops up either from the elevator doors or falls down the shaft to fight you. And once you think that's over with, you have to fight the bossís bodyguard. He's got the same skills as most ninjas, except that he is beatable, but only after a lot of swearing and button mashing. But once he's dead, you only have to kill Mr. X. He's cake when compared to the other bosses (like the jetpack guy, the robots of death, the professional kick boxers, etc.) but with one catch: they kept a bunch of those "inner-city" kids in the main office, and they fight you while you try to kill Mr.X, and to make it worse, Mr.X has a machine gun that hurts like a bitch. But once he's dead, you get the over-used "happy-ending-slide-show" thing that takes about 3 days and has the same musical score as "monkeys on meth tied to piano's" and "the very best of amputated limbs on the saxophone". Once thatís over, you enter your name into the high score, and you can play the game again.

Now, the game has various weapons that make it much better than the first one. You get a knife, a pipe, a sword, a shuriken, and grenades. All of the weapons can be thrown, but it takes some practice to do. But I strongly recommend NOT getting near grenades. They're coated in some kind of grease that makes picking them up harder than hell, so don't do it. Health comes in the form of food: apples give you some, while turkeys give you full life. It's common sense, even in the videogame world, that meat is much healthier than any fruit or vegetable. You also get to have the ability to try to beat up your friends on a head-to-head challenge, but this gets pretty boring after a while, and it's the same cheap tactics of cornering (knocking down your opponent and standing over him so he can't fight back when he stands up again). Throughout the game, you also meet interesting underlings and mini-bosses. Underlings are only there to make the game longer, and to let you vent all your frustration on all those damn inner-city punks. "You go to goodwill, huh? BAM! Iron pipe to the skull. Your parents are on welfare, eh? SMACK! I just broke your face on my knee! All your personal affects are in that shopping cart, you say? CRUNCH! I just made a footprint on your forehead!" Oh yeah, it's almost as good as crack! The mini-bosses are also really fun to screw with. "Big Ben", a mini-boss, is about 500 pounds and belches a flamethrower at you, while jogging. I don't care what you say, at 2 a.m. and after 2 boxes of Coca Cola, watching that is FUCKING HILARIOUS! "Jack Knife" is also kinda cool because all he does is drop knives every time you hit him, allowing all sorts of hilarity to ensue. You also get to fight ninjas, but these aren't the cool ninjas that are good at killing. No, they tend to prance around in their girly jumpsuits with some kind of metal objects in their hands. I guess they were the ninjas that went to the public schools, and thus were taught to do nothing but prance and threaten. They are not only a bad influence on both the ninjas aura of respect and fear, but a disgrace to the entire gaming world in general.

Best Cheats: Harder and Easier Difficulties
At the screen where it says 1 player,2 players,duel,and options highlight options and while you are highlighting options press A+B+start at the same time and at the options screen go to difficulty and flip through the difficulties and you will see 2 new difficulties and the new difficulties are Mania and Very Easy.

Level and Lives Select
Go to the main menu. Hold down (A) + (B) on controller 2 while selecting Options. You can now select how many lives you start with (up to 9) and which stage to start on.

Pick the same character
At the title screen, hold Right and B on controller one, hold Left and A on controller two, then keep holding those buttons on both controllers while you press C on controller two. Select the ''2 Players'' game and you'll find out that you and your friend can both pick the same character.

Game Play: 9
Graphics: 8
Music/Sound: 9
Originality: 6
Overall Rating: 8


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