With the announcement of the long-awaited return of the Streets of Rage series, the news of Streets of Rage 4 was welcome news for fans of the original trilogy. The last release of Streets of Rage, being Streets of Rage 3 was way back in April 1994! (Yes I feel old!)
The main console where Streets of Rage had its glory back in the day was on the SEGA Megadrive (Genesis in the USA). For those of you who are not as old as me and don’t even know that SEGA used to make game consoles, the SEGA Megadrive was the 2nd generation console SEGA released after the SEGA Master System. The Megadrive was SEGA’s most successful console and went head to head with the Super Nintendo in the early 90’s.
Streets of Rage
The first Streets of Rage was released in August of 1991. This game featured 3 characters, Axel, Blaze and Adam. My favourite was Axel. As the controllers were simple back then, the control system was simple and effective. You moved your character with the D-pad and you had an attack button, a jump button and a special attack button where upon pressing it a Police car would come and fire an all enemy destroying missile to help you out of a tough spot. Streets of Rage 1 was very similar to Capcom’s Final Fight (a side scrolling beatem-up) which was released in the Arcades in 1989. It was like SEGA saw Final Fight and thought let’s make our own take for our home consoles. Streets of Rage 1 was addictive and a joy to play.
Streets of Rage II
Arguably the best in the series, Streets of Rage 2 took the successful gameplay formula from the first game, tweaked it a bit, added much better graphics and a killer 90’s Club music inspired soundtrack to create one of the best side-scrolling beatem-ups ever. They also added new characters Skate and Max, removed Adam and kept Axel and Blaze to have 4 characters. A bonus in this game was they added a versus mode which allowed you to play against a friend in Street Fighter 1 on 1 style with the 4 characters. Speaking of Street Fighter, in Streets of Rage 2 you didn’t have the Police car to call upon with its missile as you did in the first game, but they added some more moves including a RYU/KEN style Dragon Punch move. Streets of Rage 2 played like a dream and the soundtrack is iconic still to this day.
Streets of Rage 3
The third entry was only available on the Megadrive and was pretty underwhelming. Although the graphics were slightly improved, in my view the game lacked the feel of Streets of Rage II. The music was radically changed from the previous versions and didn’t work nearly as well. The controls were the same as the second game and the story was worth a play through, but it just couldn’t stand up to the king of the series, Streets of Rage II.
Streets of Rage 4
With the announcement of Streets of Rage 4 and looking at the trailer (see below) I am very excited to see if they are true to the Streets of Rage II style but with obviously better graphics and maybe a few surprises. Only time will tell but I am surely looking forward to giving it a go.
If you haven’t tried the Streets of Rage series I highly recommend you do. A Streets of Rage compilation was released on the Xbox 360 and is playable on Xbox One via backwards compatibility. Or you can grab the recently released SEGA Mega Drive Classics on Xbox One or PS4 as it has over 50 Classic Megadrive games including all 3 Streets of Rage titles!
Editor’s Note: The 3 Streets of Rage gameplay pics were taken via the Xbox One from the backwards compatible Xbox 360 version of the Streets of Rage Compilation.
Craig Cirillo is an avid gamer and has been gaming for many years, from back in the Atari 2600 and Commodore 64 days until now with his Xbox One S and PS4 Pro. Craig had ownership stakes in 2 previous websites, Gaming Obsession Australia and All Age Gaming. He enjoys all types of games with his particular favorites being the Gears of War series and the Street Fighter series.