Top 5: Must-Play Sequels

Being number two has its advantages.

5. Shenmue II

The first Shenmue supplied gamers an amazing taste of what an open breathing world can be in the realm of game design. Sure, the first entry did many things right, but the second entry took the best of what the original had to offer, and expanded its scope with a more in-depth story and gameplay, as well as vibrant locations to explore in Hong Kong.

While the sequel did everything right in terms of improving the quirks of the original, it did one thing that until this day still lingers: it left fans wanting a resolution. The ending to the second game was an amazing cliffhanger, and a true testament that a great story alongside an amazing technical masterpiece of a game could actually exist and be produced on the Dreamcast hardware.

Shenmue III should be on it’s way soon (seeing as SEGA met their crowdfunding goal), so we will know how the entire story ends soon enough.

4. Sonic The Hedgehog 2

While we all loved and adored the initial entry to this franchise, the second game improved on every aspect of the first offering. From being able to charge Sonic up for a boost in speed, down to the addition of Tails as a complementary player, Sonic The Hedgehog 2 came out swinging hard in an effort to get you to forget about the first.

The centerpiece to the improvement: the addition of Super Sonic, which is a fantastic hardcore incentive to actually collect the Chaos Emeralds.

Another nice addition was the head to head multiplayer race mode, although by admission, does get repetitive pretty fast. With that stated, for the era in which the game was available, it was a nice bonus to have.

While some will say Sonic 3 locked up with Sonic & Knuckles is the pinnacle of the franchise, the second entry pushed the series into a positive direction.

3. Power Stone 2

The first Power Stone was by far, one of the most original fighting games of the arcade era. So, how do you make the sequel stand taller? By expanding it’s gameplay participants to 4 players, and adding more chaotic elements that made for one of the most addictive and memorable games, be it at home on your Dreamcast or in the arcades. The console version takes the crown in terms of which version was superior due to the features that felt right at home with being a console entry, such as a great use of the item shop to make things interesting in your adventure mode. The usage of VMU to trade items with other players, and to set your own item lineup for use on original battle mode also made gave the game interesting flavor.

The most memorable aspects of the sequel that definitely puts it ahead of its initial entry: the interactive stages, and all of the hectic action that can occur when you mix 4 players and the items that become accessible as the fights progress.

Even though the sequel is absolutely fantastic, Capcom has done nothing more in terms of a new entry based on the franchise. The most obtainable release of both the inaugural title and the second can be found on the Power Stone Collection for the PSP.

2. Mega Man 2

The sequel to the first Mega Man game is usually the entry that everyone is most fond of. While many remember the first one as difficult and nearly unapproachable, the second entry, even in it’s hard difficulty setting, just seemed more tolerable. The improvements on stage composition and music pushed it to a grander level compared to it’s predecessor, to the point in which Mega Man 2 simply out-shined the initial offering.

Everything about this second entry is absolutely memorable. The Robot Boss fights were fun. The FINAL Boss fight feels epic. The journey to experience it all, simply felt magical and adventurous, while retaining the sci-fi  futuristic theme one would expect from a such a setting.

Eight more core entries followed Mega Man 2 (nine if you want to count Mega Man & Bass), but in the end, this second entry is still the most endeared of them all.

1. Street Fighter 2

Welcome to the top.

Go play the original Street Fighter, and you’ll know why the sequel takes top honors on the list. Simply put, EVERY category you can think of is massively improved from the first, to the second entry.

An amazing roster.

Responsive gameplay.

Fantastic visuals.

From top to bottom, Street Fighter 2 made you forget that the original ever existed, to the point where Capcom seems to rarely even mention it, and has never bothered to currently re-release it outside of the Capcom Classics Collection Vol. 2 (there are ports that came to other retro consoles such as the TurboGrafx-CD and Commodore 64, but your best bet is to seek out the Classic Collection Vol.2).

Street Fighter 2 continued its march towards improvement and greatness with updated versions such as the Champion Edition which allowed you to play as the additional 4 Boss characters, as well as the massively loved Super Turbo, which added an incredible amount of balance (outside of playing with Akuma) and the stylized super finish mechanics that are a staple on every fighting game by Capcom, and for that matter, in the industry in general (Fatal Fury did it first, but Super Turbo added serious style to the feature).

It’s an absolute phenomena that has sparked the spirit of head to head competition, be it in your home, arcades, online or the grand stage known as EVO.