Streets of Rage 2, released in Japan as Bare Knuckle II: The Requiem of the Deadly Battle (ベア・ナックルII 死闘への鎮魂歌 Bea Nakkuru Tsū: Shitō e no Chinkonka), is a side-scrolling beat ’em up video game published by Sega in 1992 for the Mega Drive/Genesis and developed by an ad hoc team of several companies: Sega, Ancient, Shout! Designworks, MNM Software and H.I.C. It is the second game in the Streets of Rage series, a sequel to Streets of Rage and followed by Streets of Rage 3.
The game introduced two new characters: Max Thunder and Eddie “Skate” Hunter, the younger brother of Adam Hunter from the original game. A commercial and critical success, it is commonly regarded as the best entry in the series and has been considered by Matt as one of the best games of all time.
Though Streets of Rage 2 plays very similar to its predecessor, it improves and refines much of the gameplay. The biggest change is the replacement of the original special attack, which was calling a police car to damage all on-screen enemies, with individual special attacks performed by each character, that depletes some of their health. Each playable character’s move list has been expanded and edited to make them very individual to play instead of similar with different handicaps.
Enemies are also improved; all are given life gauges (previously only bosses used them) and names, and like the selectable characters, given bigger and more individual movesets. There are many new enemy types, including biker, ninja, kickboxer and robot.
There are also changes to the weapons that can be picked up. The knife has been tweaked, so the player can throw it at will, whereas in the first game it could be thrown by accident by the player; as a trade-off, the thrown knife now does much less damage. A kunai has been added, with the same functionality as the knife, thrown by ninja characters in the game. The baseball bat from Streets of Rage is replaced by a katana, which performs the most damage of any weapon in the game.
Aside from the differences in weapons and enemies, the characters themselves are given some special abilities and handicaps. In addition to their traits and individual moves, the characters now have a “semi-special move”: a powerful, non-energy-draining attack, performed by double tapping a direction and pressing punch. Skate has a unique ability to dash when a direction is double tapped, a feature carried over to all characters in Streets of Rage 3.