Friday 18 December 2015

Streets of Rage (Game Gear review)

Developer: Ancient
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1992

Streets of Rage is a beat-em-up that was also released on the Mega Drive and Master System.

It supports 1-2 players (via a link cable) and your mission is to take down a criminal organisation. You can only choose between Axel and Blaze (Adam was omitted) and both have their own attributes in terms of Power, Jump and Speed. The move set is varied and on top of the standard punch and kick attacks you can body slam, suplex and throw enemies. There's a few weapons you can pick up too such as knifes and bats. Unfortunately, the gameplay leaves a lot to be desired; for starters everything moves too fast as if you're on roller skates and the sprites are incredibly small making it hard to tell what's going on! For some reason you can't punch enemies while you're grappling them but to be honest punches and kicks are useless as enemies either interrupt your patterns or walk away. Button presses are frequently ignored too so the combat feels sluggishly unresponsive. There's no grace period when you're knocked down meaning enemies repeatedly gang up on you and drain your life-bar before you even have a chance. Special moves don't exist here even though the Master System managed it with Pause + any face button. Unlike its 8-bit counterpart it's also missing stages 2, 3 and 7 so there's no Elevator stage which was one of the main highlights of the original game. The final boss rush level is here but bizarrely it scrolls from left-to-right instead of the usual reverse. Most of the bosses are present but they take far too long to defeat and after a few minutes you're just praying for the battle to end! The music is decent but it doesn't sound anywhere near as epic as the other versions.
Streets of Rage on the Game Gear almost feels like a Lite version of the beat-em-up classic. It's a real grind with barely any enjoyable moments, dodgy controls and flawed gameplay mechanics and my advice is to stick to the Mega Drive and Master System games instead.
Random trivia: A sequel called Streets of Rage 2 was also released on the Sega Game Gear in 1993.

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