Streets of Rage 3
Streets of Rage 3

Sega/Shin Force 
| Sega Genesis Review

Sega/Shin Force > Systems > Sega Genesis > Reviews

Shin Force ~ Genesis ~
Streets of Rage 3 | Bare Knuckle III
Geoffrey Duke
24 Megabit
Import / Domestic
Mar. 18, 1994
Mar. 17, 1994
Mar. 20, 1994
Beat'em up
6 Button
     > Streets of Rage is a side scrolling beat 'em up that was meant to compete with Capcom's Final Fight (originally in arcades and was later converted to the Mega/Sega CD). Like in Final Fight, players can unleash deadly martial arts attacks and combo attacks on armies of human and inhuman combatants, and can choose from a number of different characters with unique abilities. The third Streets of Rage game, (a.k.a. Bare Knuckle III in Japan) was the last on the Genesis and formed a trilogy that defines the console even to this day (much like Sonic). As with other games in this genre, players can move up and down colorful 2D backgrounds that create the illusion of 3D via diagonal graphics. 

     > The third and final game was one of my favorite Genesis games due to improved graphics and the fact that Shiva is a secret playable character (if you hold B down after defeating him). He was the second to last boss in Streets of Rage 2 who was dressed in a black karate outfit and had some awesome rising and mid-air-sweeping flaming kick attacks. The game also introduces a cyborg main character. It's strange because if this setting has advanced technology then why is everything reduced to a fist fight? No matter. Sega had to take the series forward into new realms somehow. You could summon a police car with a rocket launcher in the first game so maybe this isn't too much of a stretch....

     > Blaze is even more beautiful than before. One might wonder how that's possible. She has a curvier body and looks less like a rigid statue. She's still wearing a mini-skirt to distract both friend and foe. Axel returns as well. He looks rougher and more muscular. In other words he looks more battle hardened. Graphically, the models have improved but the art has changed slightly. I think there's a bit more detail in SoR 3 than in SoR 2. The main characters look less rigid and less statuesque. The game even makes a boxing kangaroo playable if you defeat its owner without killing it. The art has taken a strange turn here... I have to admit. Still, the game generally remains true to its roots. There's an awesome trio of armored samurais that remind me of the last boss in the Genesis version of Shadow Dancer.

     > Once again familiar enemies return, only slightly larger. Animations are fluid like the game itself. SoR 2 is definitely sharper which gives it an edge here, but that's a small price to pay for tons of relatively large enemies on screen at the same time. Overall the character animations are better than Streets of Rage 2, but some of the character designs might be questionable. The graphics only really lose points because the Genesis was starting to show its age towards the end of its life (unlike the Saturn which came much more to life towards the end). Like before, there are tons of clones as well, but as you might be aware that's par for the course for games such as this.

     > This is the same as before. There are combo attacks and single decisive attacks and AOE attacks which are all very easy to implement. You simply hit attacks one after the other or hit different D-Pad directions in conjunction with different attacks etc. You can also jump attack and/or grab enemies whom you can either combo attack to death or throw (and through others). Like before, you can pick up different weapons such as poles that hit harder than normal attacks to sweep enemies away faster. Overall the game shines here like before.

     > The sequel has made some improvements in this area. Now you can roll up and down the screen or run left or right with a quick double tap in the chosen direction which makes the gameplay even more fluid. The game definitely feels more interactive than its predecessor.

     > The music is well-paced and fitting. It's not as good as the previous game though in my musical opinion. A lot of the music sounds like pure techno (which has fast repeating wavering beats with electronic instruments). SoR2's music sounded more melodic. The end of stage music from the previous games is still there to maintain tradition in glorious epic fashion, on top of the same sound effects from before. Graphics-and-sound-wise there's a good sense of continuity as opposed to seeming like a completely new game.

     > Sega changed the voice-overs for special attacks into rougher and different versions of their former selves. The best example is Axel's "Grand Upper" Dragon Punch-style attack was changed into "Bare Knuckle", which sounds really rough and muffled. All I have to say is: no comment. Otherwise the sound effects are like before. You hear punch and kick sounds as well as other attack sounds. You know when you've hit someone or something. It's rather satisfying.

     > I'd say this is more of the same tried and true gameplay with some graphical and artistic alterations that players may or may not like. What the hell is a boxing kangaroo doing in this game? That seems lighthearted and gimmicky. Streets of Rage 2 gave us metal Blanka. It seems 2 is where the series peaked. 3 lost its soul a bit. The action can be intense however. There are more robotic enemies this time, and timers where players need to defeat enemies on time. You won't make it very far if you aren't fast enough. I know many people love this kind of gameplay. The game has bad endings if you don't make it to your destination in time, which is quite innovative for this genre. This gives the game more replay value because characters start to come to life.
Bottom Line
     > Streets of Rage 3 lives in the shadow of Streets of Rage 2. The second game was perfect. We all know it. This is one of those strange situations where the sequel isn't as good as the previous game but is still great. At least Sega took this sequel seriously unlike the travesty that was Golden Axe III.
Overall: 9.2 | Graphics: 9.3 | Control: 9.5 | Sound: 8.5 | Fun: 9.3
~ Geoffrey Duke ~


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