Welcome to the new guide for unlocking “High Score” for Streets of Rage 2. I will be perfectly honest: this achievement isn’t easy to unlock and this guide will not lead to instant success. In fact, it may take you multiple tries to unlock this achievement (for the record, it took me three playthroughs). Before jumping into the action I recommend playing through the game on Normal just to get a feel for the game’s levels and the different enemy types. You can also grasp the game’s controls.
In order for the achievement to unlock, start up a new game and go to “Game Settings.” Select “Hardcore” and you will see that the number of lives you will begin with is set to 1 and the difficulty is on “Hardest.” Fear not, since that is only the second hardest difficulty in the game. Just so you know: if you ever have to continue the game (run out of lives) you will have to restart from your last save. Continuing will reset your points. Now, it is time to select your character. Out of the four, my recommendation would be Axel. It is entirely possible to get this achievement with any of the characters but Axel is probably the most basic character (even if Blaze’s stats tell us otherwise). Max and Skate are probably the worst characters to play as. Max may be the strongest but he’s very slow and has a very large hit-box. Skate is small but barely does any damage.
If I were to use the simplest explanation possible, I would say that in order to acquire points you’ll have to kill enemies. While this is true, some people want some more meta-information. Every time you press the attack button (B with default controls) without a weapon in your hands you will gain 20 points. You will receive more points depending on which weapon you have available (example: Knife = 50 points per hit, Pipe = 70 points per hit). Killing enemies will give you different amounts of points depending on which enemy has been defeated. There isn’t much of a point to explaining which enemies give what-amount of points since the way the game is structure, you will have to kill almost every enemy anyway. There are certain enemies, however, who have unique names but look like standard enemies. They will grant more points that usual.
Killing enemies will be the primary way of unlocking points, but there are other means of adding points to your score. There are two types of collectables which will add points. Money bags will add 1000 points and gold bars will add 5000 points. The health and 1-up items do not grant additional points. At the end of each stage, there will be three bonuses you can unlock: Clear, Time, and Level. The Clear bonus is for completing the level with as few deaths as possible (I believe). The Time bonus is based on what your timer was at when the boss of the stage was defeated. If the time was at 64 seconds, your time bonus will be 6400. The faster you can defeat a boss, the more points you can receive. The Level bonus is straightforward: Beat the level and gain points for doing so.
Given that the game only has 8 stages, it is your goal to hit at least 100,000 per level. The score can be achieved before the end of the game (it unlocked for me halfway through the last level). I do not have a “best” method for getting points but it is always a good idea to not die. While dying in this game will be inevitable, given the difficulty, you will have to do your best to save your lives for the endgame. The last levels get ridiculous when it comes to the amount of enemies on screen. The last thing anyone wants to see if being out of lives and being within 100,000 points of getting the achievement.
Like with most games styled after arcade games, you can gain extra lives by getting more points. The following scores will grant an extra life:
- 20,000 points
- 50,000 points
- Every 100,000 points after 50,000 (150,000, 250,000, etc)
Depending on how many points you’re getting, you’ll get 3 extra lives in the first level and at least 1 other life per level. Fortunately, there are some 1-up pick ups available. They are:
- Stage 1: As soon as you start there is a mailbox in the lower left corner. Walk to it and press attack to pick it up.
- Stage 2: After exiting the truck, it will be hidden in the upper left corner.
- Stage 3: In one of the barrels on the pirate ship
- Stage 3: When fighting the alien head jutting from the wall, it will be in the lower middle of the screen (the foreground will be blocking it)
- Stage 7: It will be in a barrel between two conveyer belts
If you have enough lives on hand you may notice that the number of lives never goes above 9. If you gain an extra life at 9 lives, you will still earn it despite the number not changing. It is a good idea to keep a good number of lives. Running out of time will make you lose a life, so you’ll have to move quickly through each section.
TIPS, TRICKS, AND GENERAL INFORMATION
The “One-Punch” Method: By timing your standard, weaponless attacks you can actually stun certain enemies. Pretty much, tap the attack button once every half second or so (don’t button mash; if you’re doing a combo with different attacks you’re doing it wrong). Some enemies will get stuck in a stun and can be defeated like this. This is particularly useful against enemies directly in front of you or one-on-one fights. The only bad part is that you’re vulnerable to being surrounded and punched from different directions. This method will also eat away at your timer
Not losing health with special attacks: This is a particularly risky move, but it is possible to use special attacks without losing health. The down side to this is that your health must be low enough that you’ll die in one punch. I’d avoid using the special attacks (Y button with default controls) altogether.
Luring enemies: Sometimes, enemies will go off screen and stay away from you for a while. If you want to quickly have them return, have your back face them. Enemies tend to move very quickly to you if your back is facing them and this will lure any enemies that are off screen.
Grand-Upper (Axel Only): The Grand-Upper move (Forward, Forward Attack) is the main reason I play as Axel. It is a handy move that deals a fair amount of damage and can knock most enemies in front of you away of you. Each punch within the Grand-Upper grants more points than the standard punch as well. It can hit multiple foes too. (And before anyone corrects me, the move is called Grand-Upper in this game but it is Bare Knuckle in Streets of Rage 3 :P)
Land on your feet: Some enemies have this nasty habit of grabbing you and throwing you. When you’re being thrown, press up and Jump before you land to land on your feet. You will not be damaged from the throw by doing this. If you’re being thrown, you will damage and knockbackany enemy in your path.
Throwing weapons: To throw a weapon, press Jump and Attack at the same time.
Get in the habit of saving: This version of the game has a lovely save state feature. I would recommend using all three slots per level. One spot should be used for the beginning of the level (just in case you need to restart the whole thing). The other two can be used where appropriate. Save often (like after every fight) and don't be too upset if you have to reload a save.
Stay relaxed: The game's AI can be infuriating and certain areas of the game will upset you to no end, but you should take breaks to maintain a clear state of mind. Sometimes being angry makes the game harder for you than it should be.
I have recorded a video of me playing through the first level on the Hardcore setting but I am not pleased with how it turned out. I might get around to making a better version of it this weekend. Basically, the video will illustrate everything I have mentioned above. While it is not in my intention to go through the entire game again to gain 800,000 points (I don’t want people getting ideas that my videos will lead to instant success), if there is a sufficient enough demand for videos I can try making some.
Hopefully this version of the guide provides a bit more information than the last version.