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Streets of Rage (Genesis)

84
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.0
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Luis Silva (13294)
Written on  :  Jul 21, 2006
Platform  :  Genesis
Rating  :  3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars

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Summary

Interesting start

The Good

It's hard not to start without mentioning the soundtrack by Yuzo Koshiro. For a console that was pretty much laughed for the poor sound abilities, having one of the best soundtracks in the history of videogames is no easy feat. Still, you've probably heard so much about the soundtrack that it's almost pointless to go in details on how not only it sounds good, but also fits the mood of the game perfectly, so for the sake of brevity, I'll just say it's rated "5".

Gameplay works fine for most of the time (except a couple of parts mentioned later), and it's perfectly possible to define a strategy and apply it without much problems. Two player interaction makes things a lot more interesting, as combination moves and avoiding hitting the partner during the 7-opponent brawls surely open the strategy of the game. Characters are different enough to force different tactics, mostly based on hitting power (Axel and Adam) or Jumping and Speed (Blaze). Some scenarios include traps (such as industrial presses or pits), and mastering the use of them (or the spot to launch a punk from the elevator in the seventh level) is a shortcut on the way to victory, and let's be honest, very amusing.

The Bad

While I love the genre, SoR does one of the things I usually loathe - the way women are portrayed in these ga... oh wait, nevermind. Still, using the same boss twice, the second time with a second added and both with a different colour palette is a cheap way to increase the overall difficulty level. Honestly, I can only image what went in the heads of the good people at Sega: "Hey now, we have the boomerang guy, the fangs guy, the wrestler, the fat guy and the cheap re-use of one of the main character sprites. Now what?". Well, as expected, once beaten they return in later levels with slightly different colours. In fact, pretty much of the 8th level premise is fighting bosses. All over again.

Graphically, while not being horrible, the game is lacking a bit of polish as backgrounds are a bit grainy and characters without much detail and animations lack a couple of frames here and there. However, we're talking about the first game in the series, so it can be excused. A final mention goes to gameplay. First, the lack of a dash button make some enemies such as the fat man very hard, and generally slow and over-reliable on "strafing" to approach certain enemies. Second, the special attack. While all mighty and powerful, one should ask if it makes any sense. I mean, why can't our guys just storm a level, speeding and running over the punks using the car? And how can the bazooka be so accurate not to harm friendlies in site? Thankfully, it was replaced by a more useful move in the second game of the series, so like the graphics, it can be excused (but penalized in score) again.

The Bottom Line

In the end, while still being one of finest examples of the Mega Drive's early titles, it had most shortcomings sorted out in the second and third (the original Japanese version, at least), and can't hold a candle to them. However, when placed against similar titles for the platform, it still manages to be one of the best. It might not have the graphics and moves of the second, or the plot and multiple paths of the third, but it's still a solid gaming experience.