System: Sega Genesis
Title: Streets of Rage
This game, I only vaguely remember getting introduced to. A friend of mine in elementary school had a Genesis and this game. He told I should try it with him and I did. This was back in the days when side-scrolling brawlers were in the height of their popularity. I am not sure who I chose or and I can not remember much of how well we did that time, but this was my introduction to what would become my favorite side-scrolling brawler series: Streets of Rage.
The city has been taken over by a Crime Syndicate. It simply moved in one day and before anyone realized, they had their hands in the government and the police force. 3 young police officers, Adam, Axel and Blaze, don’t stand for it and take off to fight their way through to the mysterious leader of this Syndicate.
Each of the characters have their own unique style of striking. While it all amounts to about the same combination, how they do it is very satisfying. Each attack moves smoothly into the next without any trouble and the enemies can be challenging in their own right, call sometimes for a different approach than just punch-in-face/body-until-they-fall-over. It also helps that there are weapons either carried on by foes or found in the Storage Containers of the stage. These can do a lot of damage to enemies, sometimes multiple enemies at once. Sometimes, it is a lot easier to defeat very annoying foes with the use of the Pipe or Bat (simply because you cannot walk up to them too easily and punch them repeatedly). A final note is that character strength effects a few things in game play, namely what enemies your character and heft and throw. Only Adam of the trio has free access to all the enemies for this option. Alex and Blaze lack this particular ability so be warned with the Big Guys, you’ll know them when you see them.
It is good to have a friend with you. Sure it doubles the bosses (one for each of you!) and enemies, but then there would not be enough gangsters for the pair of you to beat up. You can also beat-up your friend too, so this means watching what you punch, most of the time.
The controls are very simple honestly and in this kind of game, that is a good thing. You can grab your opponents from the front or behind, slam them into the ground, head-butt them or just beat them with your knee (more dependant on character there). The “A” button should be saved for emergancies or when the boss is kicking your butt. It called in a squad car who fires off some ranged attack (either a Gatling gun or Bazooka) which kills all standard enemies and takes about a fourth of a boss’s health. “B” is your attack button, use it often and well. “C” simply is jump.
This game actually shows off a little bit. The characters look pretty good, many of the backgrounds offer up something (even a stage on the beach with sporadic showers). The levels vary a bit if they have segments, giving a nice change of scenery.
Sound Effects & Music
While the sound effects can get a bit dull, the music is some of the best stuff there is. I have numerous remixes from this game for that explicit reason. The tracks lend themselves well to that in addition to at least not grating on you while you play through the game. They change often enough you usually won’t get bored with one particular song (save the Boss Theme, that one is actually a little old now)
This game is considered on par with Final Fight, I cannot really call it “Obscure”
This is a great brawler series for the Genesis. Having played both Streets of Rage and Final Fight I can say that with confidence. I will always have fond memories of this game as it really got me into this style of game, more than Altered Beast ever did (a few directions of movement can make a huge difference). This is a game that makes good with what the Genesis could do.
Story: 81% It is there and it adds some flavor
Gameplay: 78% Solid, if basic
Multiplayer: 87% A friend makes it that much better
Controls: 86% Simple enough, easy
Graphics: 82% Decent for the era
SFX & Music: 79% SFX okay, music great
Obscurity: 51% Yea, I think I know it
Overall: 80% A good entry into the series