Streets of Rage
Streets of Rage

Sega/Shin Force 
| Sega Genesis Review

Sega/Shin Force > Systems > Sega Genesis > Reviews

Shin Force ~ Genesis ~
Streets of Rage | Bare Knuckle
Geoffrey Duke
4 Megabit
Import / Domestic
Aug. 2, 1991
Sep. 18, 1991
Aug. 24, 1991
Beat'em up
6 Button
     > Streets of Rage (a.k.a. Bare Knuckle in Japan) is a side scrolling beat 'em up that was meant to be Sega's answer to Final Fight. While SoR isn't as good as the arcade version of Final Fight, it certainly holds its own against the SNES version and Double Dragon (a great game). Like other games in this genre, you can move up and down 2D locations that create the illusion of 3D via depth with diagonal backgrounds.

     > The Story: "This city was once a happy, peaceful place... until one day, a powerful secret criminal organization took over. This vicious syndicate soon had control of the government and even the police force. The city has become a center of violence and crime where no one is safe."

     > That sounds familiar. Streets of Rage has three selectable characters with powerful martial arts skills waiting to be unleashed. You can choose from Adam, Axel and Blaze who are ex-cops seeking to bring criminals to justice. Blaze is a strong female character who has an athletic body and thighs that are distracting. Together all three heroes endeavor to hunt down the source of this problem and cut off the head of the snake. Some say there are no more heroes in the world. Wait until you meet these three (especially Axel). As is tradition for this genre, much more formidable enemies known as bosses guard the end of each stage.

     > If you're into import games, then SoR is a breeze. Just make sure you have a MegaKey or comparable device.

     > Streets of Rage has smaller sprites than Final Fight but has a darker art style (both literally and metaphorically). The graphics are colorful but serious at the same time. That makes the game more unique (in my opinion of course). Enemy characters are very punkish. Maybe that's not for everyone but this game came from a very different time. 

     > The game has many bosses that are enlarged out of proportion which makes them very foreboding. They literally stand out. The first boss reminds me of the cannibal giants of old that were all slain. You can summon a police car that launches a rocket at everyone on screen which reminded me of Golden Axe (which also has impressive AOE attacks).

     > Aside from the usual punch/kick moves you can unleash combination attacks, grab and throw enemies, or combo attack them to death while in your grip. You can also jump kick (in spectacular fashion), which is great for closing gaps. Take the upper hand by using melee weapons such as pipes, and throw knives that can be picked up throughout the game. This all adds up to form a solid gameplay experience.
     > The music was composed by Yuzo Koshiro who also composed the soundtrack for The Revenge of Shinobi. I can tell from the music alone that he was inspired by both techno and trance. It turns out I was correct (I am somewhat of a music connoisseur). Streets of Rage has techno melodies that easily capture your attention (fast repeating electronic beats with other synthesized instruments added to the mix). Sound effects are a bit rough, but overall the game is good in the sound department. You will know when you hit someone. 

     > The music fades before you encounter a boss at the end of each level and the boss is introduced with music that uses remixed air raid sirens. That creates a great sense of alarm. This track stands out more which was no doubt the intention. That was very innovative.

     > If you love side scrolling beat 'em ups then you should check this out. There are 8 levels, tons of enemies and huge bosses to remove from existence. We need more games and fiction where the good guys win (guys can be a gender neutral term before anyone criticizes me for using it). Evil can never be allowed to stand in the way of peace. You can adjust the difficulty and play with a friend to defeat evil together. If you play in 2 player mode, the game will spawn two bosses instead of one, which will test your reflexes (you can even let a second player die and continue if you want a greater challenge).

     > What's interesting is seeing how the main characters evolve in the sequels compared to the original game. Blaze is always stunningly beautiful even as time goes by. If I were a better man and if she were real, I'd marry her. I think she'd look better in blue though; red isn't my color anymore. I kept you waiting there too long my love. Adam never seems to stay out of trouble despite having excellent fighting skills. Don't worry; Axel and Blaze always have his back. I personally will always rescue the people I love if I have the power to do so.

Bottom Line
     > While Streets of Rage lacks the depth of its sequels, it's worth playing for the sake of completeness. There are some imposing bosses here that you won't find in the other games. If we pretend the sequels don't exist then Streets of Rage is a good answer to Final Fight. Which do gamers remember more? I found it hard to replay Streets of Rage because Streets of Rage 2 overshadows it in every way. Streets of Rage 2 is a work of art, but the original game laid the foundation for it. It was a very solid foundation indeed.
Overall: 9.0 | Graphics: 9.0 | Control: 9.0 | Sound: 9.0 | Fun: 9.0
~ Geoffrey Duke ~


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