Streets of Rage 3
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Streets of Rage 3, known in Japan as Bare Knuckle III (ベア・ナックルIII), is a side-scrolling beat 'em up developed and published by Sega in 1994 for the Mega Drive/Genesis. It is the last part of the Streets of Rage series. It was later released for the Japanese version of Sonic Gems Collection for the Nintendo GameCube and PlayStation 2, and for the Wii Virtual Console on September 24, 2007. The game also appeared in Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.
|Streets of Rage 3|
North American cover art
|Series||Streets of Rage|
|Genre(s)||Beat 'em up|
The game features several enhancements over Streets of Rage and Streets of Rage 2 such as a more complex plot, multiple endings, longer levels, increased difficulty, more in-depth scenarios and faster gameplay. Weapons could now only be used for a few times before breaking and could be integrated with unique moves with certain characters, hidden characters were added and a few cutscenes were included to give the story greater depth.
The game is faster-paced than its predecessors. Running and vertical-dodge moves were added (only Skate could run in Streets of Rage 2), and most player attacks deal less damage than in the predecessors. The level timer has been replaced with a "power meter" that, when full, allows players to perform special moves without draining the player's life bar.
Unlike the first and second game, weapons in Streets of Rage 3 can only be used a fixed number of times. However, additional weapon special attacks could be performed. The game also features return of SOR1 team attacks in which two characters work together to perform a powerful attack as in the first game. Blitz moves, performed while players run, were altered so that they can be upgraded in strength over the course of the game. The player would have to earn a set amount of points on one life to upgrade it. Losing a life would put the blitz move down a level, but the upgraded moves could still be performed by pressing X on a 6 button controller, followed by a button sequence.
Traps in stages were brought back from the original game. For example, enemies can once again be thrown into pits or off the side of an elevator. Enemy AI was expanded so more enemies can pick up weapons, block attacks, employ co-operative attacks (usually, a Big Ben-like enemy will throw one of the Garcia enemies at the character to smack them down), and even steal exposed food items to regain health.
After being defeated twice, Syndicate crime boss Mr. X has started a research company called RoboCy Corporation to act as a cover for his illegal activities. The world's best roboticist, Dr. Dahm, has been brought in to help him create an army of realistic robots to replace important officials from the city. With the replacements in place, Mr. X plans to run the city using a remote control device. His criminal organization, The Syndicate, has strategically placed bombs around the city to distract the police while the city officials are dealt with.
Dr. Zan discovers what the research is really for and knows the Syndicate must be stopped. He contacts Blaze Fielding with the details of The Syndicate's plan. Blaze quickly contacts her old comrades Axel Stone and Adam Hunter for a task force to bring down The Syndicate once and for all. Axel quickly joins the task force, but Adam can't make it (due to his own assignments from within the police) and sends his young brother, Eddie "Skate" Hunter instead. The game has four endings depending on the difficulty level and if the player defeats certain levels in an allotted amount of time.
Three of the playable characters from former games return in the sequel: Axel Stone, Blaze Fielding, and Eddie "Skate" Hunter (Sammy Hunter in the Japanese version), each of which have their respective strengths and weaknesses. Dr. Zan replaces Max from the second game, with any weapon he picks up turning into a ball of energy. Adam from the first game makes a story cameo, and Max only makes a cameo appearance in the game's "good" ending.
Three of the game's boss characters can also be accessed through in-game codes. The first mid-boss (homosexual character) Ash, was removed from the Western releases of the game (although he can be accessed through cheat cartridges). Shiva, the martial artist who debuted in Streets of Rage 2 and newcomer Roo (Victy in the Japanese version) the kangaroo can also be accessed. Shiva, Roo and Ash are unable to use weapons.
Several pre-release screenshots show that there was originally a section where the players got to ride the motorcycles they are so often attacked by. This section was removed for the final version, but is still playable (though buggy and unfinished) with a Game Genie code in the Japanese version.
When the game was localized from the original Japanese version to the English language release, significant changes were made. The clothing of the three returning heroes (Axel, Blaze, and Sammy) were altered from their original colors seen in previous Streets of Rage games, the female enemy characters wore less-revealing outfits, and a sub-boss named "Ash", a gay stereotype, was removed from the English version (though he is still accessible in Streets of Rage 3 as a playable character via cheat code). The voice-effects were also changed, with most noticeably Axel's catchphrase of "Grand Upper" for his semi-special move being replaced with "Bare Knuckle".
Another notable difference between the two games is the plot: The Japanese version of the story opens with a new explosive substance called "Raxine", discovered by a character named Dr. Gilbert (who is revealed to be the true identity of Dr. Zan), which explodes in the city and kills thousands of people. At the same time, a military general named Ivan Petrov vanishes. It is later discovered that Mr. X orchestrated the general's disappearance and plans to use Raxine to start a global war.
In the English version, all references to Raxine were removed, General Petrov was replaced by the city's Chief of Police, and the plot now involves a scheme to switch major city officials with robot clones in order to take control of the city. Another difference was if the player failed to save the general, the player has to head to what appears to be the White House. This too was changed in the English adaptation, where instead if the player failed to save the Chief, then the player has to head to City Hall, although the building depicting the City Hall is still clearly based on the White House. The bad ending sequence from the Japanese releases features a photo of a devastated city as text narrates the player's failure; this was removed in the Western releases and text scrolls upward on a black background. The credits were removed from the bad ending of the Western version (possibly to show that it was not the true ending), whereas in Japanese versions they still play.
The game's overall difficulty was also altered for the English version, with the game's Normal setting being significantly more difficult than even the Japanese version's Hard setting. Also, the English version of the game cannot be completed on the Easy setting (it will end after Stage 5). Axel and Skate are noticeably absent from the European box art, while the new character Zan appears alongside Blaze. This is because the box art for the game was originally used as a magazine cover art that Sega of Europe bought later to be used. Another significant difference between versions is that the Blitz attacks require lesser health in the English version.
"Boss" from Streets of Rage 3 (1994) demonstrating elements of electro, house, techno and jungle.
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The game's soundtrack was composed by Yuzo Koshiro and Motohiro Kawashima, who had both worked on Streets of Rage 2, and features influences from Detroit's hard techno scene which was popular in Tokyo nightclubs at the time of the game's development. For the soundtrack, Koshiro created a new composition method called the "Automated Composing System" to produce "fast-beat techno like jungle." It was among the most advanced electronic music creation technique at the time, incorporating heavily randomized sequences. This resulted in innovative and experimental sounds generated automatically that, according to Koshiro, "you ordinarily never could imagine on your own." This method was very rare at the time, but has since become popular among techno and trance music producers to get "unexpected and odd sounds." The soundtrack also had elements of abstract, experimental, gabber, and trance music.
The game's soundtrack received a mixed reception upon release, but has since been considered to be ahead of its time. According to Mean Machines, the "music takes some getting used to – ironically it pre-dated the 'trance' era that came a short while after release."
The Japanese version of Sonic Gems Collection includes Bare Knuckle I, II, III (Streets of Rage 1, 2 and 3). These, along with Bonanza Bros., are excluded from releases outside Japan to obtain lower age ratings. Streets of Rage 3 later appeared alongside its other games in Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection. On May 3, 2012, Streets of Rage 3 was released on Valve's Steam platform, both as a stand-alone game as well as part of the SEGA Genesis Classics Pack 5.
A Streets of Rage Collection, which released under the Sega Vintage Collection series, featuring all 3 games and allows the player to choose between the Japanese, European, or North American versions of all three games. Only the Xbox Live Arcade version was released while the PlayStation Network Release has not been announced.
GamePro commented that the game is little different from previous entries in the series, but praised the new moves and support for the six-button controller. The four reviewers of Electronic Gaming Monthly praised the new moves and larger levels, though two of them criticized that the soundtrack was well below Yuzo Koshiro's usual standard. They scored it a 7.25 out of 10. Mega placed the game at #25 in their Top Mega Drive Games of All Time.
- This is the romanized spelling used in the English version of Project X Zone 2. The original Japanese spelling is ラクシン (rakushin).
- "Yuzo Koshiro / Motohiro Kawashima – Bare Knuckle III". Discogs. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- Davis, Jeff. "Interview with Yuzo Koshiro". Gaming Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
- Chris Greening & Don Kotowski (February 2011). "Interview with Yuzo Koshiro". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 2011-06-20.
- Horowitz, Ken (February 5, 2008). "Interview: Yuzo Koshiro". Sega-16. Archived from the original on 21 September 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
- "Streets of Rage 3 review – Sega Megadrive". Mean Machines. Retrieved 1 August 2012.
- "ProReview: Streets of Rage 3". GamePro (61). IDG. August 1994. pp. 42–43.
- "Review Crew: Streets of Rage 3". Electronic Gaming Monthly (60). EGM Media, LLC. July 1994. p. 34.
- Mega magazine issue 26, page 74, Maverick Magazines, November 1994