Streets of Rage 2 New Era fan port updates old game with new features

There aren’t many widely celebrated classics on Sega Genesis/Mega-Drive quite like Streets of Rage 2. The beat-em-up classic exclusive to Sega’s 16-bit juggernaut still holds up perfectly well the way it is, but some fans have set out to modernize the game in Unity 3D with some amazing new enhancements, made through reverse engineering.

Streets of Rage 2 New Era is a brand new fan-developed port of the original game for PC and Mac that builds on it with new 4-player multiplayer, widescreen, and even online co-op. It is a complete experience currently at version 2.0 at the time of this writing. The game requires you to have an original Streets of Rage 2 ROM file in order to play. This is only to get around the legal issue of making the game freely available while Sega, the rightful copyright holders, still sell Streets of Rage 2. New Era does not rely on emulation to run or enhance the game. It recommends that you buy Streets of Rage 2 on Steam where, along with every other game in the Sega Genesis Classics Collection, it comes with a freely accessible ROM file ripe for the taking in that collection’s installation files.

Check in after the break for extra info. Otherwise, head to the game’s web page to download the game.

Streets of Rage 2 New Era’s biggest new feature is the 30th Anniversary mode, where the bulk of this game’s new enhancements shine. Most obvious is the new widescreen format, which expands the viewing area of the environment rather than stretch the image like emulators might do in order to fake widescreen for games made before widescreen displays became commonplace. This is especially important for the new four player mode. Now four players can get together and use all four of the game’s heroes at once. Extra colors are available for each character too, similar to fighting games, in case two or more players want to use the same character. If you can’t gather multiple friends in person, there is also the new online co-op mode. Players can set up public and private online rooms. Other additions include game replays, achievements, bugfixes and speedrun features. Most of these features bring the game closer to Streets of Rage 4 in terms of modern functionality and should make the game more accessible to fans of that modern sequel.

Outside of the anniversary mode, there is also a Classic mode which reverts the game back to 4:3 view and eschews the bugfixes and achievements. Besides that, the other new features are still there, including the four-player mode. This is just to keep the game closer to how it originally was. There are also some extra options for both the Anniversary and Classic modes, including full controller remapping, TV screen filters, scanlines, a lives sharing feature, and the choice between redone and original colors.

Later updates are due in the future, with version 3.0 planned to include extra customization options, including the ability to add your own custom playable characters. No doubt, that last one is for fans of the many romhacks of Streets of Rage 2 that switch the main characters out with other characters. For years, this brought in everyone from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Simpsons, the River City Girls, and Sonic and his friends.

If this all sounds wonderful to you, hurry on to the Streets of Rage 2 New Era website and download the latest available version for your computer. If you need the ROM file, you can support Sega by buying the original version of SOR2 from Steam, then look in the Sega Genesis Collection’s game folder on your computer for a folder titled “Uncompressed ROMs” and locate the Streets of Rage 2 ROM file within. Although the Sega Genesis games on Steam are already very cheap, the entire collection is frequently discounted if you ever want more of them or their ROMs. (As a matter of fact, the entire collection is already less than $25 USD as of this article’s upload date.)

Have you tried Streets of Rage 2 New Era? What do you think of it? Do you appreciate fan efforts like this to improve an already beloved classic game? Are you a fan of Streets of Rage 2 already? Let us know in the comments below.

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