With the announcement of DotEmu’s new game Streets of Rage 4, we at Orange Bison have decided to give this series a retrospective. Last time out we looked at Streets of Rage 2 now it is time for the finale: Streets of Rage 3. With Streets of Rage 3 there are two main opinions amongst the player base. The easiest way to describe it is to compare it to Marmite; some players love it and others hate it. Let’s take a look and find out why.
Streets of Rage was released for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis in 1994. As with the previous two instalments, the game was developed in house at Sega. Whilst many core elements stayed the same there were some drastic changes. Some were for the better, like faster movement and multiple endings. However, some failed to hit the mark, such as weapons having limited uses. There was also a harder level of difficulty especially in the Western version, who’s ‘Normal’ mode was in fact more difficult than that of the Japanese releases ‘Hard’ difficulty. Why that is the case is unknown and is in fact quite rare amongst retro games for the Western release of the game to be harder than the Japanese. Many Japanese games, most notably the Japanese version of Super Mario 2 (Super Mario: The Lost Levels) was deemed too hard, and a new game Super Mario 2 (Super Mario USA) was developed for the Western Market. The only reason I can see as to why Sega upped the difficulty, would be to show consumers that the Mega Drive/Genesis was aimed at the older, more mature audience and, as such, should be harder than a “kids game” like those you might find on the Super Nintendo/Famicom.
Image from Arcadeattack.com
The Plot of SOR3 follows on from the previous game. After being defeated twice, Mr X is still determined for the Syndicate to take over City. To hide his criminal undertakings, he joins forces with Dr Dahmand and creates a company called RoboCry Corporation. With Dr Dahm, Mr X wants to create a robot army to take over key government positions; all the while calling in a fake bomb threat to divert police attention. Dr Zan catches wind of this scheme and calls on Blaze, who in turn gets Axel and Eddie to join her. It is now up to Blaze, Axel, Eddie, and Dr Zan to save the city one last time.
Image from Hardcoregaming101.net
One of the newer additions to SOR3 was faster movement of characters. Like the improved speed seen in SOR2, it created a more fluid movement animations which is severely lacking in most beat ’em ups. The controls of this can feel a bit slippery at times, but after a few minutes you get used to it. Once again SOR3 followed a storyline, but this time it feels more in depth and thought out with the multiple endings and the addition of cut scenes. This opened up the possibility of obtaining one of 4 endings. Playing this game on easy mode, you will be greeted with the first level of the game again after completing stage 5 and run on a loop. This in my opinion adds to the overall playability and re-playability of this game; something the first game sorely missed out on.
Once again the soundtrack was composed by Yuzo Koshiro and Mimoto Kawashima, influenced heavily by the Detroit hardcore techno scene that was popular in Tokyo Nightclubs at the time. Yozu created a new creation technique called ‘Automated Composing System’ or ACS, and this allowed for the him to create fast techno beats into a jingle. With the use of ACS, which at the time was the most technologically advanced system, it allowed Sega to be once again at the forefront of gaming audio technology. At the time of release, the OST was criticised as it was such a departure from the series’ usual style. Coincidentally, trance music became popular within a year of SOR3 release and now the OST is looked at more fondly amongst fans.
Image from Data-disc.com
Overall SOR3 is not a bad game by any means. Yes it has problems, and it was quite a departure for the series with some of the additions and music choices. But in my opinion, if the game is looked at objectively and with fresh eyes, you can see a lot of innovation and technological progression which only helped future games. Sega was always about pushing the boundaries, be it with gore in Mortal Kombat or with technology as seen in the SOR series. Would I place SOR3 in my top ten Sega Megadrive games? Probably not, but I definitely enjoy playing it.
We hope you have enjoyed Orange Bison’s look back at Streets of Rage series. If you would like to see more of this style of content please leave a reply below or contact us on Twitter, we always like to engage with our readers.
Soundtrack of SOR3 available from www.data-discs.com/products/streetsofrage3