Streets of Rage 3

Streets of Rage 3[a] is a side-scrolling beat 'em up developed and published by Sega in 1994 for the Sega Genesis/Mega Drive. It is the third installment of the Streets of Rage series and the last game in the original trilogy. 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 in September 2007. The game also appeared in Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

Streets of Rage 3
Streets of Rage 3 (box art).jpg
North American cover art
Developer(s)Sega
Ancient
Publisher(s)Sega
Producer(s)Ossiy, Noriyuki, Maxwell Taylor
Designer(s)Yui
Programmer(s)Hiroshi Momota
Composer(s)Yuzo Koshiro
Motohiro Kawashima
SeriesStreets of Rage
Platform(s)Sega Genesis
Release
  • JP: March 1994
  • WW: June 1994
Genre(s)Beat 'em up
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

The game features several changes over Streets of Rage and Streets of Rage 2, such as a more complex plot, inclusion of character dialog, longer levels, more in-depth scenarios and faster gameplay. Weapons can be integrated with unique moves with certain characters, hidden characters were added, and a few cutscenes were included to give the story greater depth.

GameplayEdit

Much like the previous two games, Streets of Rage 3 is a side-scrolling beat 'em up in which up to two players fight against waves of enemies. Players can choose from returning characters Axel, Blaze, and Skate, along with a new character named Dr. Zan, a robot who automatically converts every weapon picked up into a ball of energy. By fulfilling certain conditions, two bonus characters, Shiva and Roo, can be unlocked for play, with a third unlockable character, Ash, being exclusive to the Japanese release.

Several tweaks have been made to the gameplay following Streets of Rage 2. Whereas only Skate was able to run in the previous game, now each character is able to run, as well as perform a vertical dodge roll. Blitz attacks can be upgraded through successive play, and a rechargeable meter allows players to perform a Special attack without losing any health when full. Certain weapons now have special attacks that can be performed in the same way as Blitz attacks. However, all weapons now have a limited number uses before they break, and unlockable characters are unable to hold weapons at all.

Stages in the game features traps, originally featured in the first Streets of Rage, such as bottomless pits, and some stages have alternate routes depending on certain actions, such as whether players can clear a room of enemies before a non-playable character is killed by poison gas. Enemy AI was also expanded so more enemies can pick up weapons, block attacks, employ co-operative attacks, and even steal exposed food items to regain health. The Western release of the game features altered graphics and sound effects and increased difficulty compared to the Japanese version, and does not feature Ash as a playable character. Like the previous game, a Battle mode lets two players fight against each other.

PlotEdit

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 (Dr. Zero in Japan), 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 cannot 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.

Stage Description Music Boss
1 South Pier Warehouse Fuze, Cycle I, The Poets II Shiva
2 Shopping District Dub Slash, Disco, Boss Mona and Lisa (Yasha and Onihime in Japan)
3 District K Construction Site Percussion, Bulldozer, Random Cross Robot Axel (Break in Japan)
4 Underground Entrance Happy Paradise, Tunnelway, Sinhobi Reverse Yamato
5 Syndicate Hideout Beat Ambience, Moon, Dub Slash Robot X (Robo X in Japan)
6 Rescue Mission Fuze, Crazy Train Jet
7A Robot Factory The Poets II, Cycle II, Inga Rasen, Fuze Robot Y (Neo X in Japan)
7B City Hall (White House in Japan) The Poets I, Fuze Shiva

CharactersEdit

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, a homosexual named 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.

Development and releaseEdit

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.

Version differencesEdit

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) was 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 cheating and/or hacking). The voice-effects were also changed, with most noticeably Axel's catchphrase of "Grand Upper" for his blitz 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",[b] 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 the Japanese version 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 Special attacks consume less of the player's health in the English version.

SoundtrackEdit

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.[1] For the soundtrack, Koshiro created a new composition method called the "Automated Composing System" to produce "fast-beat techno like jungle."[2] It was among the most advanced electronic music creation technique at the time, incorporating heavily randomized sequences.[3] This resulted in sounds generated automatically that, according to Koshiro, "you ordinarily never could imagine on your own."[1] This method was very rare at the time, but has since become popular among techno and trance music producers.[1] The soundtrack also had elements of abstract, experimental, and gabber.

Re-releasesEdit

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 in 2012, features the original trilogy and allows the player to choose between the Japanese, European, or North American versions of them.

ReceptionEdit

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
GameRankingsSMD: 83%[4]
Review scores
PublicationScore
EGM7.25/10[5]
Mean Machines83%[6]
Mega (magazine)72%[7]

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.[8] 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.[5] Mean Machines's reviewers said the game had easily outdone the graphics of the first two Streets of Rage games due to the larger sprites, but had failed to significantly advance the gameplay of the series. They concluded it to be overall fun and playable, albeit too easy.[6] Digital Press gave it 8 out of 10.[9] Mega said it was "uninspiring and easy to finish", but later placed the game at #25 in their Top Mega Drive Games of All Time.[10] Diehard GameFan praised the gameplay and graphics, but took exception to the localization, saying it "neutered" an otherwise fine title, advising readers to import the Japanese version or pass it up entirely. They also were very critical of the music.[11]

In a retrospective assessment, Mean Machines commented that the plot and music are terrible, but the visuals are colorful and beautiful, the levels are varied, and the challenge is more than sufficient. The reviewer concluded, "If you've never played any of the SOR series before, SOR2 is probably a better entry point, but be sure to sample this third outing at some point."[6]

SequelEdit

A fourth installment, titled Streets of Rage 4, was announced by DotEmu in late August 2018, and released on April 30, 2020.[12][13]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Known in Japan as Bare Knuckle III (ベア・ナックルIII, Bea Nakkuru Surī)
  2. ^ 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), which was used romanized in the Bare Knuckle 3 fan translation.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Horowitz, Ken (February 5, 2008). "Interview: Yuzo Koshiro". Sega-16. Archived from the original on September 21, 2008. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
  2. ^ Davis, Jeff. "Interview with Yuzo Koshiro". Gaming Intelligence Agency. Archived from the original on October 7, 2011. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
  3. ^ Chris Greening & Don Kotowski (February 2011). "Interview with Yuzo Koshiro". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved June 20, 2011.
  4. ^ "Streets of Rage 3 for Genesis". GameRankings. CBS Interactive. Retrieved September 29, 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Review Crew: Streets of Rage 3". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 60. Sendai Publishing. July 1994. p. 34.
  6. ^ a b c "Streets of Rage 3 review – Sega Megadrive". Mean Machines. Archived from the original on May 19, 2019. Retrieved August 1, 2012.
  7. ^ Mega review, issue 20, May 1994, page 37
  8. ^ Slo Mo (August 1994). "ProReview: Streets of Rage 3". GamePro. No. 71. IDG. pp. 42–43.
  9. ^ Santulli, Joe (September 1994). "Random Reviews". Digital Press. p. 14.
  10. ^ Mega magazine issue 26, page 74, Maverick Magazines, November 1994
  11. ^ Skid (July 1994). "Viewpoint". Diehard GameFan. No. volume 2, issue 7. Die Hard Publishing. p. 24.
  12. ^ DotEmu (August 27, 2018). "Confirmation of "Streets of Rage 4"". Twitter. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  13. ^ Webster, Andrew (April 30, 2020). "Streets of Rage 4 is retro in all the right ways". The Verge. Retrieved April 30, 2020.

External linksEdit