Streets of Rage 2 sucker-punches XBLA

Sega Genesis beat-'em-up arrives on Microsoft's downloadable game service without warning, but with online multiplayer.

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Streets of Rage 2 with graphics smoothing turned on.
Streets of Rage 2 with graphics smoothing turned on.

Earlier this month, Sega's Genesis-era beat-'em-up Streets of Rage 2 surfaced on a list of Xbox Live Arcade titles set to be released "in the coming weeks." When Microsoft's weekly missive for Xbox Live Arcade games arrived on Monday and only mentioned Capcom's Super Puzzle Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, it was thought that would be the only new release for the downloadable game service.

That assumption proved wrong, as Streets of Rage 2 also arrived on Xbox Live Arcade today. However, this isn't a straight port of the Genesis classic. The game includes online cooperative and versus multiplayer modes, a graphics-smoothing option that can be turned on and off from the game's pause menu, leaderboards, and achievements.

Streets of Rage 2 follows up on the first game with a story revolving around the same three protagonists. When Adam is kidnapped by the nefariously anonymous Mr. X, it's up to Axel and Blaze to save him. Helping the pair out are two new characters, Adam's younger brother Skate and the muscle-bound Max. As in the first game, players pummel their way through waves of street gangs, making use of a variety of weapons and techniques along the way.

Streets of Rage 2 sells for 400 Microsoft points ($5), $3 less than the 800 Wii points ($8) asked for the offline-only version of the game on Nintendo's Virtual Console.

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