Streets of Rage (Sega Genesis/1990)

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Story: 

A powerful criminal syndicate fully manages to take over a happy, peaceful, and productive city. Even the city’s government has been bought out by them.The streets are now rampant with random violence, destruction, shootings, murders, and looting. The city is no longer a safe place to live, day or night.

Meanwhile, three young police officers (Adam Hunter, Axel Stone, and Blaze Fielding) establish their own special attack force in an attempt to stand against the evil criminal syndicate and rid them from the Streets of Rage.

Graphics: 

The character sprites come off as sort of small in a way, but the environments in this game certainly make up for that as they are very colorful and varying in style. Overall, so-so graphics.

Controls: 

The cool thing about “Streets of Rage” is that the controls depend on which character you pick. Blaze is very agile but not very strong. Adam is very strong but not very fast. And Axel has powerful speed and attacks but somewhat weak jumps. All of their attacks can be easily executed, if though there’s not much to talk about. They all have the same moves plus a special attack of their own.

Gameplay: 

Aside from B to attack and pick up items, A for special attack, and C to jump, there is also an option where if you hold all attack buttons together, a special police car will come and offer back up fire power ala rocket powered grenades or fire napalm, that’s if you get too overwhelmed with enemies. There’s eight levels and a boss at the end of each one. The levels range from city streets, bridges, beaches, cruise ships, factories, and Mr. X’s hideout in a luxurious high rise building. By the time you reach the last level, you will fight all of the bosses one last time before battling the final boss and leader of the crime syndicate, Mr. X, where he will ask you to join him as his new henchman (ala the ending of “Return of the Jedi”), leaving the possibility open for you to initiate an alternate ending where you take Mr. X’s place.

Overall: 

This is a game that is ripe for the two player mode, very ripe and extremely fun. Although the graphics kind of suck, that certainly doesn’t take away from the awesome gameplay and the grim tone that the atmosphere sets. The creepy, street-based electronic musicalso shines here and enhances the quality and mood of this game. Also, I must say that this game has a lot of potential for a film adaptation and it’s saddening to see that the idea never came to fruition. Overall, “Streets of Rage” is one of the best and most defining beat ’em up side-scrollers on the Sega Genesis, a must-have game for the system.

Rating: ****

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