Thursday 17 December 2015

Streets of Rage (Master System review)

Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1993

Streets of Rage is a PAL exclusive beat-em-up that was also released on the Mega Drive and Game Gear worldwide.

This version only supports one player and your mission is to take down a criminal organisation over the game's eight stages. There's three characters to choose from (Adam, Axel and Blaze) and each has their own attributes in terms of Power, Jump and Speed. The entire move set from the Mega Drive original is still intact and on top of the standard punch and kick attacks you can also body slam, suplex and throw enemies. There's a few weapons you can pick up too that do massive damage such as knifes, bats and glass bottles. The action feels very fluid and it's seriously impressive how close the gameplay feels to its big brother on the 16-bit console. Each stage looks almost identical and one cool feature is that the whole screen shakes when you body slam an opponent due to the ferocity of the attack! This port doesn't come without its annoying quirks though as grappling is weirdly difficult to perform at times and there's also no grace period when you're knocked down meaning enemies can repeatedly gang up on you and drain your life-bar. Special moves are also frustrating as to call in your cop buddies you first need to pause the game (on the console itself) and then hit Button 1 or 2; it's jarring and taking your hand off the controller to pause can lead to lost lives. Personally, I would have preferred to hit both face buttons to activate these special moves in favour of the rear attack. All of the bosses are here though including an exclusive enemy in a cape and top hat who fires missiles at you! The music still sounds incredible and the sound effects are all very faithful.
Streets of Rage is a remarkable port of the 16-bit classic and Sega should be commended for including just about everything from the original. It does have a few flaws that affect the gameplay but overall Master System fans should be extremely happy with what's here.
Random trivia: The Master System also received a port of Streets of Rage 2 which was released in 1994.

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