Streets of Rage is your typical side scrolling action beat ’em up that was the Genesis’ answer to Double Dragon but fare surpassed it in every respect. Like Double Dragon, though, this game has you moving left to right and kicking the crap out of anything that gets in your way. Unlike Double Dragon you have three different characters to choose from on your quest to take down Mr. X. Each of the characters are rated in three different categories; Strength, Speed and Jumping. It doesn’t matter what character you choose as they all really play the same.
In Streets of Rage you can go solo or add a friend for a completely different experience. Not only can two players handle the numerous enemy attackers more effectively, but you can work together and do some really great combo moves using both players, if your timing is correct. And speaking of moves ...
Sega originally advertised Streets of Rage as having dozens of moves that the player can learn to pull off, but is really a lot simpler than they made it sound. If you find the situation is becoming too hairy then you can use a Special Attack where a police car pulls up behind you and launches missiles at your enemies.
Graphic wise, Streets of Rage is very “neon” looking. If I didn’t know better I would swear that Joel Schumacher directed this game! The characters are smaller than those in Final Fight but are well drawn for a Genesis game and there is no slowdown even when the screen gets filled with enemies. Unless you hate “neon” then you shouldn’t hate the graphics at all!
A really big surprise is the music, it is actually quite good. Even thought the Genesis probably had the worst sound chip in the 16-bit era, Yuzo Koshiro somehow was able to create some absolutely brilliant tracks for the game. For those of you who don’t know, Yuzo Koshiro also did music for Y’s, Actraiser and Shenmue. If you are a fan of his you will want this game for your collection.
Like any game in the genre though you will find that Streets of Rage will become repetitive as you progress in
the game. I also found the difficulty wasn’t balanced correctly as you will soar through one level only to find your butt being handed to you repeatedly during boss encounters. Save those Special Attacks for bosses!
Overall Streets of Rage is a very good side scrolling fighter and holds it’s own against the arcade boys like Double Dragon and Final Fight. And if that isn’t enough goodness for you then check out it’s two official sequels and a possible fourth installment coming soon!