Streets of Rage 3 (Sega Genesis/1994)

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Story: 

Mr. X has returned again after being defeated twice. His new scheme is a research company called RoboCy Corp. which is a cover for his business activity. He has hired Dr. Dahm to help him engineer an army of realistic robots to replace city officials so that he can run the city at the hands of a remote control. In addition, his criminal syndicate has wired certain areas of the city to bomb as a diversion for the police.

Newcomer ally, Dr. Zan, has learned of Mr. X’s plans and contacts Axel and co. in an attempt to gather them up and stop the evil Mr. X once again.

Graphics: 

“Streets of Rage 3” continues many trends and traditions that worked and were introduced in the previous “Streets of Rage 2” although with environments and imagery that is far more luscious and detailed (especially the cut scenes between levels and character/enemy faces).

Controls: 

Once again, for the third time and outing in a row, “Streets of Rage 3” follows the same tradition as the first two and bases the controls on which character you select. One new addition, however, is that you and your second player can execute ‘tag team’ moves which were previously unavailable in the first time outings.

Gameplay: 

“Streets of Rage 3” introduces both heroes and enemies that move far more faster thanks to a vastly improved gameplay over “Streets of Rage 2”. This time, your character’s special combos no longer drain your life bar and you can also execute running and vertical moves in order to dodge/avoid enemy blows. You will also earn a life bonus depending upon your performance at the end of each level you complete. You can also make use of traps that were in the original game but absent in the second entry, i.e. throwing enemies down pits or off sides of an elevator. Enemies are now able to pick up weapons just like you have been doing throughout the past two games, they can block attacks and even steal health icons from you to replenish themselves.

Levels this time vary from Coastal Harbor, Night Club, Construction Site, Subway, Syndicate Hideout, Saving the chief of Police, Syndicate Robot Factory, and City Hall. Multiple endings have also made a comeback here – there is a good ending, a bad ending, an alternate ending, and an incomplete ending. The heroes this time around are AxelStone, Blaze Fielding, Eddie ‘Skate’ Hunter, and newcomer, Dr. Gilbert Zan (whom happens to be a cyborg). Max Thunder is disappointingly absent from this game and is not mentioned of whatsoever and Adam Hunter is too busy with his job in the police force which makes no sense at all (the leader of a crime syndicate whom you defeated once with your friends and whom later on kidnapped and tortured you has returned a third time and is up to his old tricks again, hello! Both your friends AND the city needs your help, moron!). Also notable is the option of unlocking secret characters to play as (!) such as Ash, one of Mr. X’s minions whose only available on the Japan version of the game; Shiva, boss character and personal bodyguard to Mr. X from the second game; and finally, Roo, a kangaroo equipped with boxing gloves, blue shorts, protective ankle tape, and a broken leash around his neck (as odd as that sounds).

Overall: 

Unlike its predecessors, “Streets of Rage 3” is a 24 megabit cartridge and is one of the latter games released on the Sega Genesis console. It holds many improvements and enhancements of the superior second game (interactive traps and environments, secret characters, more challenging and smarter enemies, faster and more co-operative gameplay, etc). The story holds somewhat more depth than the second one (although the revenge element for that game was icing on the cake) the poor excuses (or lack of, rather) for the absent of Max Thunder and Adam Hunter is absolutely ridiculously and makes no sense.

Rating: ****1/2

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