As far as beat ‘em ups go, Streets of Rage definitely packs a good punch with all the makings of a classic.

User Rating: 8 | Bare Knuckle: Ikari no Tekken GEN
As your night at the movies comes to a finish you grab your coat and put your hand around your girlfriend to start the journey home. But as you head outside you find out the hard way that the new crime wave wasn’t just another media scam and your main squeeze becomes another addition to the ever lengthening crime statistics. These aren’t happy days. A new crime organisation has taken a strangle hold on the big city and even the police are at the mercy of “Mr Big”.

So, three your daring ex-police decide to join forces in an all out onslaught against the main dude himself! Meet the heroes. Firstly there’s Adam, the boxer, his spare time is spent with his trees doing bonsai. Then there’s Blaze the fiery brunette judo expert who spends her free time doing the lambada! And lastly is someone I could relate to! Axle the blonde heavy! His method of distributing pain is martial arts and his spare time is spent hacking ‘n slashing through video games! (Someone with taste!) When these three get together you better have some running shoes on because things can get quite gnarly once they get happening!

As far as beat ‘em ups go, Streets of Rage definitely packs a good punch with all the makings of a classic. They are 8 levels of hazardous territory which must be ventured into by the courageous trio. Each round has quite a large number of enemies who are waiting to stomp your head into the ground at the first given opportunity! The game is for one or two players, with two players either working together or treating each other like unwanted scum and bashing the dickerings out of your rival! Over 40 different moves are available including back slams, head butts and reverse kicks! But if this isn’t enough then an E-SWAT car can be radioed for help and you can watch the enemy burn in pain as you clean an open wound. Weapons such as knives, baseball bats, and even glass bottles can be used to give that unwanted face lift for those who don’t deserve to remain a pretty boy.

This game takes in aspects of other arcade hits such as Double Dragon and dare I say, Final Fight, and blends them into a huge title which includes some mighty impressive graphics from the Shinobi team. The ship yard shots are the best on the Mega Drive as far as backgrounds go. Also the music can really hammer the eardrums and pumps the adrenaline flow up to the max when on full blast! The music is the most hyped up score to date. The bosses are some of the fiercest looking yet seen, easily doubling Axle’s height and size. Plus the enemy’s include the nastiest array in town with punks, ninjas and some rather kinky women who are into some big time bondage! But there is a bad point about this beat ‘em up and that is the difficulty level on “Easy” is just simply a walk over. But “Hardest” gives even the most experienced gamer a run for their money, so I would say skip the easy level to begin with. Apart from that “Street of Rage” gives Mega Drive owners what the Famicom owners are doing without and that is a good solid arcade style beat ‘em up with a bit of guts! The beat ‘em up for the starving MD owners who have been crying out for a good beating!

Brian Costelloe

As printed in Megazone magazine Apr/ May '92