Let’s get this out of the way right from the start because it’s the first thing most people are going to want to know, is this sequel to the iconic scrolling beat’em up as good or better than the original? Answer… Nope! Ok now we have that behind us let’s get on with the business of actually reviewing this game shall we?
Set shortly after the first game Mayor Hagar is still in politics but Guy and Cody have gone off to either go on honeymoon or do some more intense training, the Mad Gear gang after all have gone away never to return right? WRONG! In secret they are re-building and decide that those who once stood against them will now pay the price so in order to teach the good guys a lesson what do they do? Do they walk up to Mayor Mike Haggar and shoot him in the face on the steps of city hall? Nope. Instead the returning Mad Gear gang decide that kidnapping is still the best way to get what they want so they take Guy’s girlfriend 'Rena' and his Sensei 'Genryusai' hostage, considering that Guy isn’t even in this game this makes absolutely no damn sense at all, good going Capcom.
So you choose your difficulty and assign your buttons in the rather bland options screen and off you go, I choose Normal as it’s the default on any game plus I wanted to enjoy the game not prove a point. The characters on offer this time round are Guy’s girlfriends Sister called 'Maki' and some dude who Hagar knows called 'Carlos' who owes him a favour and of course Mayor Hagar himself, the reasons behind why exactly Guy and Cody don’t come back are nowhere to be seen at all. I choose the new guy Carlos Miyamoto because I wanted to see his move set etc.
The game begins with a thumping soundtrack, not Streets Of Rage tempo but still very good, the SNES is working it’s usual magic here for sure even if the overall sound does come across as travelling through walls to reach you (something most SNES games have to deal with; blame Sony, its their sound chip after all).
The speed of the game itself is clear to see straight from the off, both your character and those of the enemies really do zoom around the screen it’s definitely faster than the original. As I work through the first level I can see the small cameo from Chun-Li from another of Capcom’s franchises Street Fighter 2, she is in the background eating what looks like rice, nice stereotype there boys.
The first level and indeed as you find out the more you play the game every other level is split into 3 areas and it’s all standard stuff for this type of game, you move along fight some bad guys then once they are gone an arrow tells you to carry on, to be fair at times it’s a little boring however every single side scrolling game has something like this so I wont hold it against Final Fight 2. There’s a slightly stronger enemy during the second area and a boss type encounter at the end of the third area and again this is cut & pasted into each level afterwards, like I said before it’s all standard.
On completion of the whole of the first level that iconic map comes up on the screen and flashes to indicate you have secured that area again just like the original game and then you get a bit of story text to introduce you to Level 2, you don’t however get this story cut scene at the end of every single level which is a massive shame as things like that help to break up tedium. What you do get twice in the game is a bonus round that gives you the chance to increase your overall score, the higher the score the more extra lives you will earn so it does have a point to it. The first special stage is smashing up a car, the second bonus stage is destroying barrels, seriously Capcom, get some new ideas please!
The game itself as I hinted at earlier moves very smoothly, the animation is very good, colours are vibrant for most of the levels however character definition for some enemies is a bit off as sometimes what looks like a woman is in fact a man, something you can tell from the name on their health gauge. What’s really good however is how the games enemy A.I. means you can’t just stand them in a corner and cheat kill them like you can do in games such as Golden Axe etc, they will move around quite a lot and sometimes catch you in a pain sandwich.
Now the game map shows that there are 6 levels in total each with at least 3 areas so that’s technically 18 stages which may seem like a big game but because of the difficulty being quite low even on normal I flew through this game with ease, sure I used a couple of continues however the continue itself lets you keep your overall score so getting extra lives is a breeze. The only gripe with using the continue is that you have to start the particular area again from the start, it could have been worse though, it could have made you re-start the level itself, thank do it didn’t. In the 16-Bit era games would quite often freeze the screen and allow you to continue from the exact moment you died this game doesn’t and it’s both a good thing and bad.
After about an hour I had completed the whole game, rescued everyone seen the quite pathetic end sequence and it was all over, I doubt I will play it again soon on my own however the 2 player option on a higher difficulty setting turned out to be a vastly superior experience for sure.
Like I said this isn’t the original game, it has none of its iconic features the levels are nowhere near as interesting or varied and it does feel like a game devoid of it’s own identity for sure, the enemies are essentially the same as well which is a huge shame and some of the original ones have been completely removed. The end boss fight is also stupidly easy.
On the plus side however it actually is a solid fighter, the framerate is great, the soundtrack is mostly superb although a few tunes repeat themselves which feels like it was maybe rushed towards the end but whilst your playing it it is a lot of fun and that’s important. I can quite easily see this getting serious love when played with a buddy on the hardest difficulty setting and I regret not doing this for the review, however after experiencing it for a short time after it’s clear it transforms it to the game it was meant to be so my final score takes all this into account.
Verdict:- As a single player game this is pretty decent, its smooth, its got a tight control system and all 3 characters do stand apart regarding moves to make sure you play with each and get some last ability. It is however far too easy on normal and needs to be set to hard mode for sure and with an extra player it becomes a whole different beast entirely
It’s not the first game but that’s not a crime, the story is rubbish but it’s a lot of fun to actually play and is one of the better scrolling beat 'em' ups for the SNES, I recommend giving it a shot for sure, why not eh?
Second Opinion:- Considering how bad the Super Nintendo port of the first game was, the second game was always gonna be better, turns out it's way better!
Nice graphics, varied locations and a decent soundtrack combine with a fluid and fast game engine that also allows for two player co-op fun. This is how beat em ups should be on 16-bit consoles.
Transbot Scores:- 8 out of 10