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Streets of Rage Series Resource (Sega Genesis Game Gear PC Sega Mastersystem)

Updated on October 28, 2017

Streets of Rage Series

The Streets of Rage Series (Bare Knuckle Series outside the U.S.) is a collection of three beat-em-up games for the Sega Genesis (Sega Megadrive outside of the U.S.A.). For each game you have the choice between 3 or 4 characters choose from including Axel and Blaze who are the main 2 characters in all three games. Although there is a similar basic formula to most beat-em-up games: walk around, beat some ass, walk around, fight a boss, Streets of Rage delivers more action, control fluidity and loveable characters than the SOR franchise, especially as the series progresses. Many fans have awaited a 4th entry in this series for their entire lives, but to no avail. Luckily some great fans have created sequels themselves which are in my opinion the best fan games ever made. The first successful fan game was Beats of Rage by Senile Team which copied the formula and style of play of Streets of Rage, but had a new setting and cast of characters. One more recent fan remake is the center of controversy as well as the best fangame of any series ever in my opinion: Streets of Rage Remake (SORR) by Bomber Games. It blends the aspects of all 3 Streets of Rage games into one beautifully packaged gift to fans of the SOR series and anyone else who is willing to give it a try. It offers many characters all from past SOR games as playable and unlockable, customizable options (purchased with points earned while playing) that allow you to do everything from edit the colors of characters to create your own SOR game. Sadly upon its release on the internet in 2011 Sega sent a cease a desist to Bomber Games, preventing them from posting it on their website for download. Luckily once something is on the internet, its there so... Anyway maybe this has made Sega see there is interest in a SOR sequel and we will finally see an official sequel.

Streets of Rage Series Review (Genesis Versions)

Streets of Rage

Graphics: 8/10

Considering the era it was released in, the graphics in Streets of Rage are pretty solid. The environments are varied and the atmosphere really gives you the feeling you are sprawling the violent streets the game is set in. From neon lit nights on the street to a ferry ride to the elevator leading to the final boss' lair, all the environments fit the action and can actually be used to your advantage.

Controls: 8/10

The controls in SOR are very basic and easy to understand, but are sufficient enough to deliver some vigilante justice on the streets of rage. Compared to other entries in the series the movement is somewhat slow paced especially if you play as Adam (who makes up for it with strength and jumping ability. There are 3 possible basic functions Attack, Jump, and Call for Back up. Calling for Back up triggers a scene where the police force come and deliver a strike that damages all enemies on the screen. Attacking and Jumping can be used in combination to deliver a flying kick. There is also a back attack that can be initiated by pressing attack and jump at the same time. You also have the opportunity to pick up a variety of weapons with the attack button and then use them with the same button: a bat, a knife, a broken bottle and more.

Fun:10/10

This is where SOR shines, it is incredibly entertaining. Between the police strikes, the weapons, the variety of bosses and the three awesome playable characters you are sure to have a good time. The levels are interesting and full with a slew of enemies ready to beat you down. You can play as Adam (whose strengths include Power and Jumping ability), Axel (whose strengths include Power and Speed), and Blaze (whose strengths include Speed and Jumping ability). There are also 4 difficulty levels to chose from so people of any ability can get into the action (and progressively get better). Most importantly SOR is 2 players which offers the most fun experience and also add some teamwork and strategy to the game. On top of all this ... there is just something special about the original Streets of Rage that cannot be emulated by any other game.

Replayability 9/10

SOR has great replay value with its 4 different difficulties and 3 different characters in an incredibly entertaining adventure. I only originally gave it an 8.5 out of 10 because the other SOR games have much higher replayability.... but then I just played this game 3 more times since I originally wrote the article so, I guess I was wrong haha.

Streets of Rage II

Graphics: 9.5/10

The switch to 16-bit cartridges for Streets of Rage 2 as it is a Genesis title made room for much more colorful and complex environments. Although later in Genesis' life span there were games with more impressive graphics (Ristar, Sonic 3, Sonic Blast, Vectorman, etc. ) SOR2 delivers impressive Genesis quality graphics which a wide range of environments: some reminiscent of those in the first title and some that are completely new and fresh. Truly an interesting experience.

Controls: 9.5/10

SOR2 made large improvements in control from its predecessor, in that there were now many more functions possible depending on the button combination used. The police back up was eliminated due to the tendency of players to spam it during boss battles and was replaced with a special power button. Each character has 2 unique special attacks depending on whether you press the special button while standing still or while holding the D-pad left or right. A back attack is also possible by pressing the jump and attack buttons simultaneously, this button combination doubled as a means to throw a weapon when you were holding one. Another new addition is a dash attack which can be performed by pressing forward, then holding forward then pressing attack in quick succession. Skate has the ability to dash by pressing then holding forward in quick succession without having to press the attack button. Also the movement of characters is much more fluid and fast, with the exception of Max who meant to be an incredibly slow tank.

Fun: 10/10

Streets of Rage II is even more fun than the original, with more interesting characters, a myriad of new enemies, and a wider selection of difficulty ranges for even more action. There is also an additional versus mode where you and friend can duke it out on a variety of levels present in the main storyline. Blaze and Axel return, this time with two new companions Skate, the little brother of Adam, and Max, a wrestler and friend of Axel's. The balance between the characters is far better resulting in 4 distinct experiences of play depending on which character you chose. Two player Coop is stillmavailable and proves to be one of the most entertaining multiplayer experiences on the Genesis.

Replayability: 10/10

There are now 5 difficulty modes giving players more choice in the challenge they expect from the game. There is an added Very Hard mode which is a significant increase in difficulty from other modes, but is still very possible for SOR Veterans. The combination of the new difficulties, coop, versus, and characters gives a game that you may replay for your entire life, as I have.

Streets of Rage 3

Graphics: 9.5/10

The graphics are no change from those of SOR2, but there are some more interesting and varied environments as well as staple levels in the series such as Mr. X's lair. In the American version (as opposed to the Japanese Bare Knuckle 3) there are some visual changes such as color of the main characters clothing, which seem unnecessary, but in no way effect the visuals negatively (There are also a variety of other non-visual changes that are more do to censorship and bad translation)

Controls: 10/10

SOR3 keeps the same great controls present in SOR2, with some new button shortcuts thanks to the release of the 6 button Genesis gamepad. The Back Attack/weapon throw now has its own button which makes life a lot easier believe it or not. The greatest improvement is much more fluid controls and MUUUCCCHH faster gameplay. SOR3 is lighting fast and takes full advantage of the Genesis' capabilities. There is also a dodge roll added in the game which is performed by double tapping up or down on the D-Pad. This is incredibly useful especially with the new faster speed of the enemies and more vicious enemies and bosses. There is also an "OK bar" (that's what I call it at least), which builds up as time passes allowing you to use your special move without damaging your own health bar (like it would in SOR2). All characters now have the ability to dash without attacking, similar to Skate in SOR2.

Fun: 9.7/10

Streets of Rage 3 removes Max as a character and replaces him with the robotic Dr. Zan who takes the tank roll, but with a dash move that makes up for his slow walking speed. Blaze, Axel and Skate remain as playable characters as even skate has become a staple character in the series (He is without a doubt my favorite character in the series.) SOR3 actually has some branching pathways in some of the levels which are secret compartments that let you obtain extra lives and such which take away from the linearity of the beat-em-up experience. There is also 2 unlockable characters depending on your version of the Game: in the US version they are Shiva (from SOR2 fame) and Roo (a boxing Kangaroo who is a mini-boss character in SOR3); in the JAP version they are Ash (a large homosexual man who is a boss in the Japanese version) and Victy (which is just Roo's Japanese name). There are also 3 or 4 possible endings in SOR3 which add some sense of accomplishment to those who achieve the best ending.

Replayability 10/10

The US Version has 3 difficulty modes, these three difficulties are very challenging (More like absolutely BRUTAL on hard). Normal mode in my opinion is equivalent to SOR2's Very Hard mode (in all honesty SOR3 Easy mode might be SOR2's Very Hard Mode) and Hard Mode is simply ridiculous if you are new to the series, and a significant challenge even for veterans. After all these years of playing I still sometimes find my self dying on the last boss in Hard mode, which by the way is an incredibly frustrating place to die in a game with no checkpoints or saves (like all SOR games.) This difficulty may turn off some players, but to me it is a welcome challenge as your completion of the game is so much more satisfying. Some Hate how frustrating it is as its absolutely impossible (in my opinion) to complete the game with out using at least 1 continue, but i think all the frustration is worth it.

In the Japanese version there are 5 difficulty modes giving players more choice in the challenge they expect from the game. There is still Very Hard mode which is a significant increase in difficulty from other modes and more difficult than the same mode in SOR2, but is still very possible for SOR Veterans (Basically its pretty easy still). It seems as if Bare Knuckle 3 (Japanese SOR3) is the preferred version by most because it is more accessible and is not edited. Also in this easier version of the game you can actually take advantage of the increasing power of your special moves which is noted by a star next to your characters name. This strengthens your attacks significantly, in SOR3 good luck lasting long enough to take advantage of this feature because once you die you get set back to 0 stars.

The combination of the incredible difficulty, coop, versus, characters and differing versions of the game results a game(s) that you may replay for your entire life just as I have with this and SOR2

Side notes

The Music of the Series

I rate the music of the Series a 10/10 with ease. It is without question one of the best video game soundtracks of all time.

Platforms

Streets Of Rage: Sega Master System, Genesis, iOS, Wii Virtual Console, Game Gear (slightly different version), Arcade, various Sega collections

Streets of Rage 2 : Genesis, Xbox Live Arcade, Wii Virtual Console, PSN, iOS, Game Gear (very different and no Max), various Sega collections

Streets of Rage 3: Genesis, iOS, Wii Virtual Console

Best Genesis SOR

Best SOR for Genesis

See results

Characters

The playable characters are what make Streets of Rage as great as it is....

A special note is do note follow the ratings provided by the game way to closely just because 2 characters have 3 stars in the same category does not mean they are exactly the same. The in game rating only gives a general idea

Axel

Axel is the main male protagonist throughout the entire Streets of Rage series, he is not absent in any of the games as a playable character.

Streets of Rage Stats:

Power: A

Jump: B

Speed: A

In Streets of Rage Axel is built for speed and power, making him a fairly easy character to play as. Despite being the main character in the entire series I tend not to use him much in SOR1 (and SOR3)

Streets of Rage 2 Stats:

Power: 2/3

Technique: 3/3

Speed: 2/3

Jump: 1/3

Stamina: 2/3

In SOR2 Axel is the most well balanced character and without question the easiest to play as. His combos and powerful special moves will keep enemies at bay and his average abilities in all other categories will allow you to defend against all kinds of foes. The strategy I would suggest is to take advantage of the strength of his Grand Uppercut (his dash attack)... it is without question devastating and capable of hitting multiple enemies.

Streets of Rage 3 Stats:

Power: 6/6

Technique: 4/6

Speed: 2/6

Jump: 2/6

Reach: 5/6

Axel in SOR3 has the same feel as he does in Streets of Rage 2 despite the new stat system. His special moves are not as awesome as they are in SOR2, but they definitely get the job done. His solid reach does seem to be helpful, especially compared to Skate whose reach is incredibly short. Despite his weakened Grand Uppercut he is still an incredibly useful fighter.

Blaze

Blaze is the main female protagonist throughout the entire Streets of Rage series, she is not absent in any of the games as a playable character.

Streets of Rage Stats:

Power: B

Jump: A

Speed: A

In Streets of Rage Blaze is built for speed and jumping, this makes her the toughest character to play as, but she remains useful if you can use her maneuverability to your advantage. She is still awesome however, like all characters in SOR1.

Streets of Rage 2 Stats:

Power: 2/3

Technique: 2/3

Speed: 2/3

Jump: 2/3

Stamina: 2/3

In SOR2 Blaze is the most balanced character, but slightly more difficult than Axel to play as. She is way better in SOR2 than in SOR and faster than Axel and Max without question, despite her 2 star rating. Blaze's special moves and ability with weapons make her a more solid choice than her SOR1 form. You can really adapt any strategy for use with Blaze she is very versatile.

Streets of Rage 3 Stats:

Power: 4/6

Technique: 6/6

Speed: 4/6

Jump: 4/6

Reach: 4/6

Blaze is very well balanced in SOR3 also despite the new rating system she basically plays the same way as she does in SOR2. Though i can't put my finger on it there is something about her in SOR3 that seems stronger about her. She can really lay down a beating with her Special attacks. Since Blaze is so well balanced you can use maneuverability and power to your advantage.

Adam

SOR1 is Adam's only outing in the SOR series as a playable character... which sucks because he was my favorite character in the original game. Don't worry though Bomber Game's Streets of Rage Remake created an awesome Adam that is fully playable (He is definitely one of the best characters in their game)

Streets of Rage Stats:

Power: A

Jump: B

Speed: A

In Streets of Rage Adam is built for Power and Jumping. He is slow as crap but he is a beast and can jump really high which is great in launching aerial attacks.

Skate

"Skate" (Eddie aka Skate in the American version, Sammy in the Japanese Version) is Adam's younger brother. He is without question my favorite character in the entire series and the most fun to play as. Plus he is like 10 years old and fighting people on skates... what a badass.

Streets of Rage 2 Stats:

Power: 1/3

Technique: 2/3

Speed: 3/3

Jump: 3/3

Stamina: 1/3

Skate is tougher to play as if you are a beginner, but if you know how to play as him, he is the best character ever (in my incredibly biased opinion). He is the weakest character, but he is very fast and can jump high. To fully master him you must take advantage of his aerial abilities and grab moves. The best strategy is to out maneuver all your enemies and grab them from behind, then attack (or throw them). He can throw the big fat enemies others cannot and do so in both directions. I would avoid weapons with him, except the knife or kunai.

Streets of Rage 3 Stats:

Power: 2/6

Technique: 4/6

Speed: 5/6

Jump: 5/6

Reach: 2/6

Playing with Skate in SOR3 is incredibly hard (but i refuse to not play as him), his weak hits are tough to deal with the brutal enemies in the much more intense SOR3. His special moves in this game change his his spinning aerial kick, becomes a rolling skating punch attack (much easier to hit enemies with, but not as strong as the older move). In SOR3 I would suggest remaining aerial as much as possible or doing dash attacks often.

Max

Max's Only Outing is Streets of Rage 2. He is an ex-wrestler and friend of Axel's who joins the fray to help the heroes defeat the Diabolical Mr. X for the second time.

Streets of Rage 2 Stats:

Power: 3/3

Technique: 2/3

Speed: 1/3

Jump: 1/3

Stamina: 3/3

Max is painfully slow, but he is the strongest character in all the SOR games. He can crush enemies easily and even one hit KO them with some of his better grab moves. Besides being slow he also can not dash, so the strategy with Max is keep swinging and grabbing. Do not try to out maneuver enemies because you more than likely will be unable to.

Dr. Zan

Dr. Zan is a robotic character and ex-syndicate member who uses his cyborg body for battle.

Streets of Rage 3 Stats:

Power: 5/6

Technique: 3/6

Speed: 3/6

Jump: 3/6

Reach: 6/6

Dr. Zan is probably my least favorite character in the series, but he is still fairly fun to play with. He is very strong like Max was in SOR2 and has incredibly long reach, but his movement is slow. His slow movement is made up for by dash abilities which speed things up a bit. The strategy with Zan is to dash attack very often and stay out of enemies' reach as Zan's long arms can be used to your advantage.

Streets of Rage Gameplay

Streets of Rage 2 Gameplay

Streets of Rage 3 Gameplay

Streets of Rage Remake

The Best Fan Game (So Far)

Streets of Rage Remake is a fan-made remake/sequel of the Genesis Streets of Rage Trilogy created by Bombergames. It offers 4 distinct starting points, with diverging pathways and multiple endings to ensure one of the most in-depth SOR experiences of all time. The Final Release (v5) offers over 100 stages from the past 3 titles and one that are completely original, 66 remastered and remixed tracks from the original games (which are improvements on the already timeless tracks of SOR), and 18 characters consisting of all the original characters in various forms (SOR, SOR2 or SOR3 versions of the character.. most importantly the return of Adam Hunter from SOR1), enemy characters (including Shiva, Mr. X, Roo, Elle (electric whip girl), and Ash) and a completely original character Rudra, as well as editable color palettes for each and every character. As with the previous SOR titles this game shines in its multiplayer modes in which two players join forces to put an end to Mr. X and his evil syndicate. What's different in this remake, is that you can also choose to have a computer controlled character with customizable behavior types (aggressive, passive, balanced, etc) if you have no one to enjoy this game with. These and hundreds of other features are unlockable from the in-game shop. There is also hand drawn art added into each cutscene and title menu to give an interesting touch to the games visuals. This game is no mere edit of the genesis versions, it is built completely from scratch to recreate the world of Streets of Rage.

The most interesting addition is SORmaker, which is an unlockable program that allows you to play customized versions of the game as well as make your own SOR. The possibilities are endless from new routes through the game to completely new stories all together.

In my opinion this game is not only the best SOR fangame, but the best fangame in general. I'll even go as far as to say it is without a doubt the best Streets of Rage game ever made. It offers so many options, new difficulties and game modes that I could spend years replaying this masterpiece of a game.

I without question give this game a 10/10 Overall

Available for Windows (with other ports hopefully to follow unofficially). This game is compatible with any USB gamepad as well as keyboard control. My suggestion is to purchase a Sega Genesis (6 button) USB controller from amazon or ebay to get a more classic feel for the game. A good alternate is using an SNES USB controller which also is an acceptable gamepad (its actually what I use as I had previously owned one... could be considered sacrilegious to use a Nintendo controller on a Sega game, but watevs ).

The creators have received a cease and desist letter from Sega, but the game was made available on the internet before hand so it is easy to find still if you are interested in the best game ever.

Character Select Screen of Streets of Rage Remake

Streets of Rage Remake v5 in Action

SOR3 vs BKIII - Video of Version Differences

Best Streets of Rage Fan Game

Best SOR/BK Fan Game

Sega Genesis Collection - has SOR games

SOR Tips

1) In Coop a useful strategy is to have one player control the very top of the screen and have the other roam around the entire middle and bottom. This helps avoid friendly fire without a doubt, but has proved rather useful even in SOR3's Hard mode. To avoid boredom switch off roles

2) A pretty cheap, but incredibly effective tactic is to slowly attack, if pressed at the correct pace you only execute the first hit of your combo continuously, trapping the enemy for nearly endless damage. There is few enemies that can defend against this. The only problem is you are a sitting duck for any enemies behind you. This is really useful in Coop when one player can focus this cheap tactic on a powerful foe, while the other player keeps the rest off of him/her.

3) Use your dash attack often (officially called blitz attack). It is normally very powerful and can hit multiple enemies.

4) Don't be afraid to dodge roll in SOR3, sometimes the function is neglected (at least by people who mostly play SOR 1 or 2)

5) In SOR2 only use your special attack when surrounded or when you are CERTAIN you will hit with your more powerful one. Draining your health just to do some quick damage isn't worth it

6) In SOR3 and BK3 only use your special attack when your special "OK" bar is full (or in desperation) Why waste your health when you can perform the attack for free in a few seconds.

7) Know the locations of all extra life pickups it'll save you in harder difficulties

8) If you are having trouble and don't want to lower the difficulty raise your maximum lives to 5 in the options menu

9) To allow yourself to adjust to the difficulty you can use the 9 lives cheat in SOR3 to get 9 lives per continue. As you beat the game lower the lives you use down by one each time finish the game until you feel you can move to hard mode, then do the same in hard mode. The cheat can be activated by holding A, B, and C on controller 2 and pressing right while highlighting players in the option menu

10) Know your secret button combinations in SOR3 [THANKS TO STREETS OF RAGE ONLINE for everyones... well except skate's hehe]: This requires a six button pad.

Axel

Dashing Bare Knuckle - X, F, F

Dashing Dragon Smash - X, D, F

Dashing Dragon Smash into Flaming Dragon Punch - X, B, D, F

Blaze

Dashing Vertical Slash - X, F, F

Somersault Kick - X, F, U

Somersault Kick into Power Slide - X, D, F, U

Skate

Dashing Headbutt - X, F, F

Roll Kick - X, F, D

Rolling Flash Kick - X, U, F, B

Zan

Dashing Charge - X, F, F

Double Dashing Charge - X, B, U

Triple Dashing Charge - X, U, B, F

11) All of these are tips I can think of off the top of my head, for even more tips of every kind visit streetsofrage.net

Streets of Rage Saga (Book) - An Awesome Series of Books Written about the Series

Matthew Drury's Streets of Rage Saga is a gritty, intense, and raw adaptation of the Streets of Rage Universe, using characters from all entries in the series as well as brand new characters. This series of books is not intended for children as it has intense depictions of violence, sexual encounters and drug use. Despite that small disclaimer it is definitely a very well written series by a great fan of the Series.

Be sure to stay tuned for the release of Bare Knuckle: Ghost Precinct another adaptation of the Streets of Rage Universe by the same author that goes in a much different direction than the saga series.

Bare Knuckle: Ghost Precinct (Book)

This is a new book by Matthew J. Drury the same author famous for the Streets of Rage Saga Series. This is a completely new adaptation of the Streets of Rage Series and follows a different direction than the the SOR Saga series (they take place in completely different realms basically)

Check Out the new Blaze
Check Out the new Blaze

Streets of Rage Mobile/ Bare Knuckle Mobile

A remake of Streets of Rage for Mobile Device

This is a Japan Only Remake of the original Streets of Rage game. I have personally never played this game, but it looks pretty awesome. Blaze and Axel are playable characters with Adam now taking a supporting role (Adam really gets hated on ....). Blaze's clothes are redesigned and she looks pretty cool in this new version.

Bare Knuckle Mobile in Action

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    • shanktoofs123 profile image
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      shanktoofs123 5 years ago

      @Mikewrites LM: Thanks I put a lot of effort into those I am glad it is appreciated.

    • Mikewrites LM profile image

      Mikewrites LM 5 years ago

      Great lens I think your character reviews are spot on!

    • shanktoofs123 profile image
      Author

      shanktoofs123 5 years ago

      @Edutopia: Haha yea I have been playing it since I learned how to play videogames when I was 3 years old... I still play these games very often which speaks to how awesome they are (I own every version of Streets of Rage 2 ever released hahah)

    • profile image

      Edutopia 5 years ago

      Great lens, Streets of Rage fueled many a gaming session with my friends back in the day.