Streets of Rage 2 is the best beat-em-up game ever. No game has come out since its release to knock it from its throne. Now granted, not too many games that are released these days are beat-em-ups, but this game is still the best one around. This is also one of the best Sega Genesis games and the best game in the series (of which there are three).
The gameplay in Streets of Rage 2 is simple, but fun. You attack, jump, and use the occasional special attack to bail your ass out of hairy situations. You can mix up gameplay by pressing the attack button a few times then quickly jumping and finishing the combo that way. With two players, you can throw off of each other to attack enemies. You can also grapple with an enemy and take them out that way. The gameplay is fun and simple, which is what counts the most in a game. But, it's not just fun, it's good as well.
The soundtrack is one of the best ever to be put on a Genesis cartridge. The songs sound like techno music. It's a little odd to be walking around beating ass and listening to techno, but it works incredibly well. Every song fits in well and works for each stage. The soundtrack should be sought after for any one who really likes techno music. I bet you could put it on at a party and people wouldn't mind listening to it...it sounds that good.
The story and characters in Streets of Rage 2 are really neat. Basically, the story is that you are still after the boss that you were after in the original Streets of Rage. He is still at large and you are looking for him with your team. Your team goes through anyone who stands in their way to find him. The characters in Streets of Rage 2 are close to the original. Axel and Blaze return for the sequel, but Adam does not make it. Instead of Adam, we get his son Eddie, who rollerblades. The fourth character is a retired wrestler, Max. The cast is pretty well rounded and seems to have a likable character for everyone to use. In Streets of Rage 2 you basically go through level after level, beating up goons to get to your arch enemy. It's simple and generic but for the time, it was pretty good stuff.
The difficulty is pretty easy. You can choose to play it on very easy or extreme mode. You get what you pick; very easy is a breeze and extreme is a freaking nightmare at some points. The only difference in difficulty settings in the game is less lives, more enemies on the screen, and how much health the bosses will have. The learning curve is very easy. With only three buttons to use it's pretty hard not to understand the game.
Overall Streets of Rage 2 is the king beat-em-up game. Nothing has come close and it's looking scarce for a game to come along and top it. The closest any fan of the series will get to a sequel is Beats of Rage for Dreamcast which wasn't released and can only be obtained via downloading. If you're new to Genesis games, look for Streets of Rage 2, you won't regret it. It's a memorable experience for anyone who picks it up.