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Streets of Rage review

Streets of Rage

Streets of Rage is quite possibly one of the most difficult games to master. It’s a piece of cake to get into, but once you’re hooked, you’re looking at a very long and slightly frustrating learning curve. But that is one of the reasons why it was popular when it came out. Big on the Sega Genesis back in the day, it was seen as the main rival to the classic Double Dragon.

Developed for the Mega Drive/Genesis combination back in 1991, it immediately presented as a copy of Double Dragon. But it had an extra level of trashy kitsch that made it very much a unique proposition.

Streets of Rage Blaze

The games are very similar though. Streets of Rage, like the Dragon game, is a sideways scroller beat ‘em up. You control a burly character who has to simply make his way through hundreds of bad guys, with a small but effective set of moves to use in your defence. After a few minutes it becomes very difficult, and much more so the further you get.

Controls were a cinch

There are a number of reasons why Streets of Rage was so popular when it was released (and is still popular today on the various platforms it still plays on, including phones) but one of the biggest and most compelling is the control aspect. The ease of control on the Genesis was legendary. Moving your character around the screen was incredibly easy, and it didn't take long for the controls to feel very intuitive.

This high level of control often saved even the weakest players, who found that they could walk their way out of trouble very quickly without sacrificing a life. While it was difficult to progress beyond the first few stages without developing a certain level of expertise, the earlier levels were very forgiving simply due to the controls.

Streets of Rage back up

The playability was another reason why the game was such a hit. All you had to do was approach one of the many thugs coming your way and time a punch or kick. But the timing didn't even have to be that precise, and again this forgiving nature to the game meant it was easy to pick it up and get right into the action.

The true innovation of Streets of Rage

Right at the heart of the game though, was a true innovation. Streets of Rage was one of the first true multiplayer beat ‘em ups available on a home console. This made it a legendary piece of software, and one that allowed players to really spend hours on the game. That's right, this is one of the first examples of a game that caused marathon sessions of gaming to occur. Getting to the end of the level was so much easier if you had a buddy to help you.

Streets of Rage Character Select

Then there is the music. We're taking an instantly recognisable tune that takes you back even now if you hear it. Capcom didn't mess about when they made games back then, and this one is a perfect example of a neat little package. With the cute, tinny music and that incredible gameplay, alongside the opportunity to work as a team, Streets of Rage was a true masterpiece.

About the author

Zeeshan Mallick

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