Streets of Rage (Sega Genesis)

July 7, 2007 by · 1 Comment 

Streets of Rage - Title ScreenStreets of Rage - Choose your characterStreets of Rage - Two player

What’s this?  An early ’90s Genesis side-scrolling beat-em-up that doesn’t suck?  I originally intended to review Golden Axe, but it was so awful that I just couldn’t bring myself to keep playing.  (I’ll have to play it when I’m in a more masochistic mood, I guess.)  So when I decided to play Streets of Rage instead, I had low expectations.  It had been a while since I had played the game, so I couldn’t remember much and wasn’t sure what I was getting into.  I had fond memories, but I had the sinking feeling that those memories were of Streets of Rage 2, not the original.  Thankfully, it turned out I was right, and the game is pretty playable.

Streets of Rage is Sega’s response to Final Fight and is another entry in what used to be an extremely popular genre.  Streets of Rage, Final Fight, Double Dragon, River City Ransom, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Altered Beast, Golden Axe… What the hell were we thinking back then?  I guess we really liked walking to the right and repeatedly pushing the punch button.  Streets of Rage is no different.  Like the rest of the group, it’s pretty much a simple button-masher with very little in the way of depth.  You can walk, jump, kick, punch, summon special attacks, pick up weapons, and… Well, that’s about it.  Oh yeah, occasionally you’ll grapple someone.

You can choose from three characters and go it alone or team up with a second player to traverse eight stages, each with its own unique boss.  You’ll face a variety of enemies like “generic thug,” “punk guy,” “girl with a whip,” “slightly different colored generic thug,” “kung-fu guy,” and the all important “punk guy with different colored hair.”  I really like the enemy designs, I just wish there were a few more of them.  But I guess palette swapping was de rigeur in the 16-bit generation…  Oh, and another stereotype it falls into to pad out the gameplay without designing more levels or enemies is the “face all the bosses again, this time back to back” stage towards the end of the game.

I guess what I’m getting at is that Streets of Rage is not original.  Not at all.  But that doesn’t make it a bad game.  On the contrary, I like it quite a bit.  The graphics are appealing with detailed backgrounds and interesting character designs, (though the level design definitely peaks with the first stage) the controls are very responsive, and the music is actually quite good for a Genesis game.  I guess it just goes to show that not every game has to innovate — a polished version of a tried and true genre can be fun, too.

Final Thoughts: Streets of Rage is a step above other Genesis beat-em-ups that came before it.  It’s not the least bit original, but it’s one of the more polished entries of its genre.  If you like beat-em-ups, you’ll like Streets of Rage.  If you don’t like beat-em-ups, you won’t like Streets of Rage.   It’s as simple as that.

Streets of Rage - Boss 1Streets of Rage - Boss 2Streets of Rage - Special Attack

YouTube Pick: (via Nharox)

Game Data

About Tim
My name is Tim. I live in Chicago, IL. I'm a retro gamer.


One Response to “Streets of Rage (Sega Genesis)”
  1. Steve says:

    Oh how I hate how beat ’em up’s will throw that boss barrage at you on the final level. It’s damn lazy.

    Most prefer part 2 but I’ve always liked this one better. I have fond memories of playing this with my old best buddy Nelson back in the day. I remember one Saturday night I was over at his place and lots of his family members came over, I think it was like a reunion. Anyway he and I fired up a SOR game in the middle of the living room, and by stage 3 everyone gathered around (the males anyhow) and was fascinated by the music, carnage and graphics. Looking back, I can almost smell the innocence of it all. A small part of me, to this day, longs for those golden days again. Although I play retro games mainly for their pure playability/fun and lack of 30 minute cutscenes, a part of me does it for the nostalgia as well.

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!