Michael Jackson reference in Streets of Rage 2?

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Michael Jackson reference in Streets of Rage 2?

Post  Cosmo on Tue Jul 10, 2018 6:18 am

As far as I am aware, such a thing has never been pointed out. But is it just me, or does it seem Barbon's bar is a reference to the bar featured in Michael Jackson's Moonwalker music video of Smooth Criminal? Sega isn't exactly innocent of MJ references, all the way down to having the license to his name and getting him to both work on music in one of their games, and even an entire game based on the man himself, with his actual input involved. But it seems there may even be one in SoR2 that we have (understandably)overlooked. Although the design isn't 100% exact, that is not to say it needs to be identical to reference it heavily.

I will post Smooth Criminal Full and Smooth Criminal Single version for viewer's reference, namely because one shows more, and one has better picture quality. And Barbon's Bar cut out of a larger image found online showing the entire stage.

Looking at it, i notice the following similarities.

1. The wall design behind the desk is pretty much identical save for a few small details (Barbon's bar lacks the mirror in the middle)
2. It is a pretty big sized bar with an upstairs, not to mention the upstairs seems to have some level of visibility (although they chose to shadow the upstairs out in SoR2) considering the railing.
3. The brick has kind of an arch design with a smaller room behind it containing pool tables and the stairs to the upper floor. I can't quite tell if they are on a slightly higher plain than the main floor. I used to assume it was just the lighting.
4. The tables and chairs use the same design as each other.
5. There seems to be two different notable light sources coming from the ceiling. In SC, there are softer lamp lights, and there are harsher spot lights casting visible rays onto the ground. Barbon's bar has the same thing going for it.
6. The flooring in the video is made up of wooden planks, though it appears to be more so in the back, the full video gives a view of the main room showing it uses the same flooring as well.

Now there are liberties taken, obviously, and I am well aware that it may just be a coincidence. To be fair, this is kind of a for fun topic, but it is interesting how close some aspects are, with the wall behind the desk being the first similarity to grab me. But the smooth criminal that struck me personally is actually outside of the bar. The flyers on the wall before going into the bar. I used to think they were some kind of 1920s Dick Tracy type of deal, but after noticing the possible MJ reference, and also taking into account the cream white and lavender color scheme, maybe that's supposed to be another nod to MJ? considering he has that type of hat on, and it is possible that is a suit jacket he has on, and not a trench coat like I used to think it was for so many years?

Again, I am willing to accept I am crazy or looking too hard into things, but hey, it's fun to pick out, at least for me. LOL


Last edited by Cosmo on Tue Aug 28, 2018 5:06 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Michael Jackson reference in Streets of Rage 2?

Post  Kimono on Sat Jul 28, 2018 7:26 pm

@Cosmo: You are right, some references to Smooth Criminal are more than obvious Razz
I just want to show you a preview of Moonwalker for SOR:



I hope you like this character Smile
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Re: Michael Jackson reference in Streets of Rage 2?

Post  Iceferno on Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:39 pm

It's certainly plausible, even if not officially confirmed. I think the diagonal parts of the stages were inspired by Moonwalker Arcade.

Kimono wrote:
Might you have been inspired by my remix upload at 0:12? Wink

Nice looking project btw. Keep us posted.

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Re: Michael Jackson reference in Streets of Rage 2?

Post  Cosmo on Tue Aug 28, 2018 4:37 am

FIRST OFF, MUST NOTE I SEEM TO HAVE ACCIDENTALLY POSTED THE WRONG LINK FOR SMOOTH CRIMINAL FULL, BUT THE LINK HAS NOW BEEN FIXED.

Iceferno wrote:It's certainly plausible, even if not officially confirmed. I think the diagonal parts of the stages were inspired by Moonwalker Arcade.

Funny you mention that, because I watched playthrough of it recently and noticed it has similarities.

Also, the building in the alleyway seem to have referenced moonwalker as well.


Again, not exact, but it certainly looks like a deliberate reference. Also helped me realize this whole time that this alleyway isn't closed in and you can walk past the building you emerge from, though i get the feeling everyone else has noticed this already, but not me. LOL
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Re: Michael Jackson reference in Streets of Rage 2?

Post  Iceferno on Tue Aug 28, 2018 10:10 am

Oh yeah, they had that chainlink fence at the far right of the Barbon section. But it looks so weak that any of the characters could just smash through it. It was also kind of funny how long that section was stretched in the 8 bit versions.

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Re: Michael Jackson reference in Streets of Rage 2?

Post  Maria Lourenço on Sun Sep 02, 2018 4:19 am

Cosmo wrote:FIRST OFF, MUST NOTE I SEEM TO HAVE ACCIDENTALLY POSTED THE WRONG LINK FOR SMOOTH CRIMINAL FULL, BUT THE LINK HAS NOW BEEN FIXED.

Iceferno wrote:It's certainly plausible, even if not officially confirmed. I think the diagonal parts of the stages were inspired by Moonwalker Arcade.

Funny you mention that, because I watched playthrough of it recently and noticed it has similarities.

Also, the building in the alleyway seem to have referenced moonwalker as well.


Again, not exact, but it certainly looks like a deliberate reference. Also helped me realize this whole time that this alleyway isn't closed in and you can walk past the building you emerge from, though i get the feeling everyone else has noticed this already, but not me. LOL

i knowed that area was familiar!

and the SOR2 ending music had some semelhance in the MJ music "Man in the mirror!
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