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Release year: 1991 | Players: 1-2 players | Developed by Sega
Streets of Rage (AKA ベア・ナックル Bea Nakkuru, “Bare Knuckle” in Japan) is a 2D side-scrolling beat ’em up video game developed and published by Sega in 1991 for the Genesis console. It is the first installment of the SOR series which was followed by SoR 2 and SoR 3.
Super Nintendo had a hit with Final Fight so Sega Genesis had to answer back. Streets of Rage was that answer. Like its Nintendo counterpart, it also became historic and gave birth to its own franchises. It might be looked at as a copycat but Sega fans will argue that the game holds its own in the beat ’em up field.
Streets of Rage basically had the same gameplay as Capcom’s Final Fight. Select a player, run towards the right side, and beat everyone and everything that are on your way. There are lots of destroyable items where weapons, food, and treasure can be found. Final Fight, for some reason, had no two player mode and SoR capitalized on that deficiency, which made the latter a sure hit. Still, Final fight was faster, tighter, and a more complete game.
Gamers who have played Final Fight will find the controls familiar in Streets of Rage. Hitting buttons multiple times will result in a combo that is a sure way to deal more damage than normal one punch hits. Control is responsive and solid.
16-bit consoles like the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis became a channel for developers to really be expressive with their titles and Streets of Rage is no exception. The main characters and the normal thugs are big and well-drawn. The bosses are big and menacing. Animation is fluid. The game is not a fast-paced game and it doesn’t need to be.
The theme was composed by Yuro Koshiro and although limited to synthesized music, it was a perfect match and showed why Koshiro was one of gaming’s finest composers. Sound effects are aplenty and to the point.