3D Streets of Rage 2 (Nintendo 3DS) Second Opinion Review

By Albert Lichi 05.08.2015

Review for 3D Streets of Rage 2 on Nintendo 3DS

It was the summer of '91 when Streets of Rage (known as Bare Knuckle in Japan) made its debut on the SEGA Megadrive/Genesis and it blew people's minds thanks to its sleek and flashy visuals, two-player brutal action and Yuzo Koshiro's unforgettable soundtrack. It was the kind of title that gamers could only hope to see in arcades and SEGA would go on to refine and greatly expand upon the original concept in what many regard as one of the greatest sequels of all time, Streets of Rage 2. Every aspect in the original was improved: larger and more detailed sprites, a more robust combat system among four distinct characters, more attention given to level design and enemy AI and, of course, an even more pulse-pounding gritty score from Yuzo Koshiro. Just how could Streets of Rage 2 become even better? Make it portable and give it an unbelievable stereoscopic 3D effect, along with a slew of extra features! Cubed3 wraps up its knuckles (again) for the legendary SEGA classic 3D Streets of Rage 2.

With an ominous and moody intro that picks up immediately where the original leaves off, 3D Streets of Rage 2 wastes no time setting the mood thanks to its gritty, illustrative, and distinct manga art style that is set to some restrained yet foreboding music. The atmosphere is like that of the crime ridden city of Detroit as depicted in the first two "Robocop" films; lawless and populated by thugs, gangs, bikers, and even ninjas, this is a place that could have only existed in the '80s. Each of the four playable heroes has their class and fighting style, as well as their unique super move that uses a little health, which can be best described as a "desperation attack."

The incredibly sexy Blaze Fielding, who is the most balanced of the fighters, has quick jabs and kicks. Axel Stone is a bit slower but hits harder than Blaze, and focuses a lot on punching attacks. The indomitable Max Thunder, a pro wrestler, is the slowest but also the hardest hitting fighter who looks like he could have been a boss enemy! The last hero is Eddie "Skate" Hunter, who is the quickest (only character who can dash) at the cost of being the weakest. These four souls take up arms against Mr. X, a crime lord who seems to have completely taken over the city, in a rescue to save Adam Hunter (playable in the first game) who is Axel's friend and Skate's brother. The story of 3D Streets of Rage 2 couldn't be simpler: free from any modern day cynicism, it is a simple tale that serves the action and it delivers just that.

Screenshot for 3D Streets of Rage 2 on Nintendo 3DS

The visuals have aged beautifully and the newly implemented stereoscopic 3D effect really breathes new life into these graphics. In some areas, the 3D effect makes everything look like it has been given some 3D geometry. Every character is incredibly memorable, from the generic goons like "Galsia" and "Y. Signal," to the Mad Max-style bikers and Blanka rip-offs - every character is just bleeding with personality and style... In fact, even a lawyer-friendly version of the WWF/WWE's "Ultimate Warrior" shows up as a boss fight. The designs of so much of the game make it like a time capsule of the times where anyone who was growing up in the 1980s will certainly be able to recognise the influences. Even the level design, which is far more varied than the first Streets of Rage, has players brawling in locales like bars, baseball stadiums, and boats. Some of the more exotic or stranger stages take place in what looks like Disney World and the "Pirates of the Caribbean" ride, but none of them are as surprising as the level where the heroes throw down in what looks like an H.R. Giger wet dream.

Just like the past 3D conversions, M2 delivers unparalleled 3D effects when the slider is cranked to maximum. On the New 3DS model, the 3D never falters and remains constant, never slowing down the action and always keeping fluid even when on the "mania" difficulty. Some of the added features to this port include a tag team mode that swaps characters out between lives (capping the maximum lives at four), which is a new way to play this classic so that nobody has to commit to a single character in a play-through, thus, allowing greater variety so the action never gets stale. There is a CRT monitor filter that makes the screen feel like a bubble when the 3D slider is turned up and the option to play both the international and original uncensored Japanese versions. 3D Streets of Rage 2 has pretty much everything a fan could ask for and even manages to appease casual gamers by having super easy modes, as well as an unlockable one-hit kill mode.

At US$5.99, the price is absolutely recommended. This is by far the definitive and best way to play this immortal classic. Timeless visual style, tried and true combat mechanics that hold up to this day, coupled with what is widely considered the finest soundtrack in a videogame, there is no reason why a 3DS owner should be without this gem. The core action is very short, however, it is very replayable and addictive thanks to the music and strong visuals. This was the best beat 'em-up on the Megadrive/Genesis, and now it is the best beat 'em-up on the 3DS.

Screenshot for 3D Streets of Rage 2 on Nintendo 3DS

Cubed3 Rating

10/10
Rated 10 out of 10

Masterpiece - Platinum Award

Rated 10 out of 10

SEGA basically perfected the beat 'em-up formula with Streets of Rage 2 back in the winter of '92. Pretty much every other beat 'em-up after it copied some aspects of it, but never quite matching its majesty. As 3D Streets of Rage 2, this masterpiece can be taken on the go and can be enjoyed in new ways with the finest implementation of stereoscopic 3D. Having the ultimate version of this on portable goes a long way and its immaculate and masterful music from Kuzo Koshiro is guaranteed to get anyone's blood pumping and ready to slam some punks into the pavement.

Developer

M2

Publisher

SEGA

Genre

Brawler

Players

2

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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