Use the controller's d-pad to move your chosen character around. You can set an extra button in the options menu, under the "EXTRA JOY" setting. This lets you map a button to for using a special attack.
This game is a scrolling beat 'em up. The objective is simple: enemies will come onto the screen and you need to defeat them. Clearing one wave of enemies lets you move on through a level where you'll encounter more thugs. At the end of each level there is a boss who must be beaten to move on. Use every move at your disposal (see the characters page for how to do them) and every weapon you can find to win. You can tell how much health an enemy has as when you start attacking them their life bar appears beneath yours.
There are three different weapons in Final Fight 2: tonfas, 2x4 pieces of lumber and knives. To pick up a weapon, move over it and press the attack button. Any character can use any weapon, but each of the three characters has a preferred weapon. Maki is best with the tonfa, Haggar excels with the lumber and the weapon of choice for Carlos is the knife. Maki and Haggar will always throw the knife when the attack button is pressed, but Carlos will keep a hold of it, letting him stab enemies. If you take a hit whilst holding a weapon, you'll drop it. Sometimes you can pick the weapon back up, but other times it will vanish.
If you are surrounded by enemies, press the attack and jump buttons together to perform a special attack. Special attacks will hit enemies either side of you, but at a price: you will lose a little bit of health whenever you use one. As mentioned previously, it is possible to map a button on the controller for a special attack by setting it in the options menu.
Throughout the game you'll come across objects to break open, such as barrels. Doing this will reveal items, such as food (which will refill your health gauge when collected) and points items. Move over an item and press the attack button to collect it.
If you are knocked down, your character will eventually get up. However, if you mash the attack and jump buttons, your character will get up much faster. You will sometimes need to do this, as the Andores have an attack they can use on you when you are knocked down.
If you run out of lives, the continue screen will be shown and you have a few seconds to continue. If you do continue you'll be given a short amount of time to select a character. The game gives you 6 credits, with each credit giving your 5 lives. Continuing will start you at the beginning of the current round you were on.