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Hitting the Streets of Rage!

So, this weekend I dusted off the old HateBox and decided it was time to actually do some serious retrogaming. I’m not sure if that’s what Queen Victoria wanted, but I imagine she would have supported my decision. So, this weekend I took a poke a beloved trilogy of games from the era of the 16bit wars, the Streets of Rage collection. This was the seminal series of side scrolling beat ’em ups for the Sega Genesis, and at the time of their release, were actually quite advanced, particularly for the music in numbers two and three.

Streets of Rage (1991)
Streets of Rage 2 (1992)
Streets of Rage 3 (1994)

Original System:
Sega Genesis

Streets of Rage: 3/5

Streets of Rage 2: 3.5/5

Streets of Rage 3: 4/5

Streets of Rage: 2.5/5

Streets of Rage 2: 3.5/5

Streets of Rage 3: 3.5/5

Streets of Rage: 2.5/5

Streets of Rage 2: 3.5/5

Streets of Rage 3: 4.5/5

Streets of Rage: Fair

Streets of Rage 2: Poor

Streets of Rage 3: Fair

Fun Factor:
Streets of Rage: 2.5/5

Streets of Rage 2: 3/5

Streets of Rage 3: 4/5

Final Scores:
Streets of Rage: 10.5/20

Streets of Rage 2: 13.5/20

Streets of Rage 3: 16/20


Damn. That was more fun that I thought it was going to be! I moved through the games in order, and you could literally feel the difference as controls improved, especially from SOR to SOR2. The original installment was the most hurting of the trilogy, showing its 1991 programming roots in a bad way. The final installment was, no surprise, the best of the three over all. SOR3 basically did everything SOR2 did, but a bit better. In a surprise move, SOR3 actually dabbled in serious storytelling between stages, and included cut scenes with shifting facial images to lend some emotive weight to the subjects discussed.

On the diversity scale, in honesty, the first game was probably the best. Adam was a solid character as far he went, and the game stuck with that 90’s combo of tight everything for the player characters to wear. Adam was omitted in the sequels, replaced by his younger (like, 13 or so) brother. Eddie “Skate” was not a good replacement to me, since it didn’t really mesh with the series, especially in SOR3 where he was scripted as an adult member of the team, but was still a child sized sprite. Dr. Zan was a confusing entry, who didn’t add anything except some weird cyborg 90’s goodness to the show.

Would I play these again? Yes. SOR2 and SOR3 have unfinished business with me. Especially now that I know there are code unlockable characters in SOR3!

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