Thursday 17 December 2015

Streets of Rage (Mega Drive / Genesis review)

Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1991

Streets of Rage is a beat-em-up that also appeared on the Master System and Game Gear.

It supports 1-2 players 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 move set is varied 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. All of these give you tons of ways to tackle each level and it's extremely enjoyable when you throw an enemy into a pit for an instant kill! Once per life you can use a Special Attack where the action stops as you call in your cop buddies to rain down fire on the bad guys! It's satisfying but it does bring things to a halt and it's understandable why Sega removed this for the sequel. Although most of the stages scroll along left-to-right the final two levels switch things up to stop the brawling getting stale; Stage 7 sees you boarding an elevator to climb the enemy HQ building while taking out waves of thugs, and Stage 8 is a boss rush area that scrolls in the opposite direction. The bosses are tons of fun to fight, again due to their variety, as you'll face off against wrestlers, large fire-breathing guys and even twin sisters! The graphics are awesome with cool weather effects and animation; I love the neon lights in Stage 1 and the city skyline you see from the bridge in Stage 4. The music is some of the best on the system with high-octane dance songs and more sombre downbeat tracks that perfectly suit the atmosphere of each level.
Although Streets of Rage was bested by its sequel it's still an amazing game that holds up extremely well today. The combat is so enjoyable whether you're playing alone or with a friend and even if you're not a fan of the genre you'll probably still find many things to like due to its superb, high quality gameplay.
Random trivia: This is the only Streets of Rage game where Adam is a playable character as he was eventually replaced by his brother Skate.

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