Streets of Rage
Reviewed by Michael LoCascio
Side-scrolling beat 'em ups have historically enjoyed far
more success in the arcades than on home consoles. For
instance, while Tradewest certainly brought a reasonable
translation of Double Dragon to the NES, there was no way
that a little 8-bit cart could match an explosive arcade
game. And when Capcom eventually brought Final Fight to the
SNES, most gamers were extremely disappointed to discover
that there was no two-player mode, and that certain
characters and levels were dropped from the game. It wasn't
until Sega released Streets of Rage for the Genesis that
fighting fans finally got the arcade-quality action and
graphics that they had desired for a very long time.
Anyone familiar with the aforementioned beat 'em ups will
know exactly what to expect from Streets of Rage. The game
progresses from left to right, and your job is to beat the
daylights out of anyone and anything that you encounter.
There are three different characters that you can choose
from, and while the game provides grades for them in three
different categories (strength, speed, and jumping ability),
they are all pretty much the same - and they can all get the job done.
One of the most appealing aspects of Streets of Rage upon
its initial release was Sega's inclusion of a two-player
cooperative mode (especially after Capcom dropped the ball
with Final Fight). Not only can two players handle the
numerous enemy attackers more effectively, but it was also
possible to combine and pull off some incredible moves that
required the cooperation of both gamers. Speaking of moves,
Sega originally advertised the game as having dozens of
moves that the player can learn to pull off, but Streets of
Rage is really a lot simpler than they made it sound. You
basically have a single attack button; repeatedly hit that
button and your character will pull off a multitude of moves
as he or she bashes on the enemy. Very few attacks in this
game require any sort of technique (the aforementioned
two-player moves are exceptions to the rule). You also have
a limited quantity of "special attacks" at your disposal.
These attacks have absolutely nothing to do with your
fighter; a police car pulls up behind you and launches
missiles at the enemy.
The graphics in Streets of Rage are fairly impressive;
although they're not quite as good as the ones in Final
Fight for the SNES, they also don't cause the abundant
flicker and slowdown that was present in Capcom's title. The
music is superb; the Genesis probably had the worst sound of
any 16-bit machine, but Streets of Rage did a fine job of
showing what the system was capable of.
Like any game in the genre, Streets of Rage becomes
extremely repetitive after a while, even in two player mode.
It's also a very easy game to complete, with most of its
difficulty coming in the end-of-level boss fights. These
bosses can be pretty tough; they can take a beating, and it
usually just takes them a couple of hits to completely
deplete your life meter. However, if you save your special
attacks for these battles, they become relatively easy to
With Streets of Rage, Sega gave a lot of players exactly
what they wanted: an arcade quality beat 'em up with a two
player mode. I still prefer Final Fight myself, but if you
enjoy these types of games, you'll probably be very
impressed with Streets of Rage.
Overall: 8 / 10