Streets of Rage 2

Master System

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 7

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 6

Overall: 6

It's a reasonable expectation to go into the Master System port of "Streets of Rage II" and expect basically what you have on the Game Gear. That is, unfortunately, not the case. Adding in different levels and dropping some background details due to slightly less powerful hardware is fine. Making it so two bikers in purple tights can beat down the player is not.

The engine used here is a good one, no doubts about that. The hit detection is pretty solid, there's a plethora of moves (more than included in the handheld port by far), and it feels a lot like the 16-meg Genesis version. Those are very big positives. Add in almost Yuzo Koshiro's entire classic soundtrack in toned down form and it seems like a winner already.

Then you make it inside the bar in the first stage where you meet up with a whip-toting chick. It seems the AI in this port was programmed to do nothing but relentlessly beat you down with jump kicks. Once into the corner, you can kiss at least one life goodbye. Things only get more infuriating when you meet up with the jet pack guy (girl?) who is simply impossible to hit without some form of dumb luck.

Also gone is the ability to play the game cooperatively. That likely would've helped a little bit on those difficulty issues (which, for the record, occur even on the easiest setting). The entire game barely follows any of the other renditions, completely changing the stage structure after the first level. Since there's really nothing else to do except walk right, that doesn't really matter. It's just something different for those that have played this game to death elsewhere.

The sprites are exact rips from the Game Gear game. That's a good thing. They sport decent detail and on the Master System, more animation too. The backgrounds take the biggest hit, which could likely be why everything has been changed, in order to avoid trying to cram too much detail into a small package. What's here is fine with the boat stage featuring a nice parallax ocean behind it.

All of the sound effects have also been carried over. There's nothing remarkable here as all voice samples have been removed, though that's not really all that surprising. The music, just like the stages, has been shifted all over the place. Some of these tracks are completely new and it's difficult to tell if Koshiro had anything to do with them. They sound fine, but there was plenty of music to go around. Why change it in the first place?

This is a disappointment on multiple levels. Fans of this series should still check it out without question since it does have the oddball levels. Everyone should probably just head to the Game Gear if they're dying for 8-bit "Streets of Rage." There's little reason for this port.


Go to Digital Press HQ
Return to Digital Press Home

Last updated: Sunday, March 20, 2005 09:08 AM