Saturday, 22 December 2007

Streets of what? Streets of RAGE!

What, an article that isn’t about Sonic? No, I’m not high, I just felt like being different. Variety is the proverbial spice of life. When I think of the good old days of Sega, one of the first things that comes to mind (once that blue hedgehog gets out the way) is Streets of Rage – or Bare Knuckle if you live in Japan. Which you probably don’t. Now you could argue that SoR was a bit of a copy of Capcom’s Final Fight (which presumably to Sega's dismay, got ported to the SNES). Well, actually you’d be right. But what a glorious copy it was! 

^ And what happens when you fuse these two together? Street Fighter... see what I did there?

More after the jump.

Like Final Fight, you wonder around the streets (…of rage!), beating up various scum in an assortment of different styles. Sick of just using your fists? No problem – just smash a phone box and you’ll be presented with an item! Be it food or a drain pipe, you’ll be able to make good use of it. Found an empty bottle? Crack it over your enemy’s head! Found an enemy? Throw him at another enemy! The fun never ends.
^ There are no screenshots of this game in 2 player on the internet - but the mode does exist!
Where Streets really shined was on the two player mode. Essentially it was the same as the one player mode, but with two merry violence-spewing protagonists as opposed to the one. You and your friend / sibling / neighbour / hostage would go on an epic brawl through 8 rounds of 2D madness. The sense of group accomplishment you’d get from double-teaming some denim-clad punk with a lead pipe and a baseball bat is second to nothing. And the best part? If there’s a disagreement between you and your partner, you can duke it out Street Fighter style. Not like some of these shoddy games where you can’t harm people on your own team, Streets of Rage allows you to beat seven shades out of your accomplice. Smack them round the e-face if they get out of line.
One of the best things about Streets of Rage was the hilarious special move. Picture this; you’re surrounded by a circle of thugs, each one increasingly seething, several with broken bottles, knives and various other goods for stabbery, who are slowly but surely closing in on you. You, however, are armed with nothing but some rather 80s clothing and a will to live. What do you do? You call the police… to fire a rocket at them. Yes, that’s right. By pressing the A button, you can use your special, which results in a police car driving on to the scene, its sun roof opening, and a police officer coming out with a rocket launcher. The rocket then gets fired in your area and burns your enemies to oblivion. Remarkably, you remain completely unharmed despite the fact in reality, it would have been a slightly suicidal move. And by ‘slightly suicidal’, I mean ‘irreversibly fatal’.
One thing that always disturbed me about this game as a child were some of the enemies. That Round 2 boss, with his Freddy Kruger / Vega styled claws was unnaturally tall. Actually, several of the bosses were. And they all looked generally disproportionate. What was the logic behind that? “Oh no, he looks like he’s been stretched by a French rack – now we’re in for it!”… yeah, not quite. But the main enemy I remember was the whipping women drones. Not because they were women with whips. No no. But because when you knocked them down, they released the most piercing and evil scream ever. It was like you had just thrown holy water on a banshee or something (I don’t know much about banshees or holy water, so I may have that combo wrong – the point was it was a horrible scream). Not so interesting tidbit; the Final Fight counterpart, if you like, of this generic woman thug, was not technically allowed to be a woman due to age-rating systems and anti-misogynist-violence laws. Capcom’s solution? She’s a he! Aptly named Poison, after the cross-dressing, hair-metal titans. So why didn’t Sega have this issue? Maybe they did, but the anecdote is assumedly less amusing.
I realise this wasn’t really a very well structured blog. It’s actually just me rambling about small bits of what I remember of one of my all time favourite games. If you’re bored and have a friend round, you should get your hands on SoR and get your 16-bit violence on. Or you could even check out Beats of Rage, the very well done home-made tribute game to SoR at - you won’t regret it. Well, you might, but then that’d render your opinion invalid.


The GagaMan(n) said...

Sonic the Comic did a great comic series out of Streets of Rage, one for each of the 3 games and some of the stoies were even compiled into a book! I'll have to do some scans on that at some point.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, SoR is definitely a classic. It has that old SEGA arcade feel, like Shinobi, Quartet, etc. I wonder if there's some way of explaining it?

I always liked SoR2 better, though, plus the soundtrack was pure genius!

- Sputnik

Anonymous said...

SoR is one of the greatest series of games ever. Watch my youtube videos on the Streets of Rage:

Anonymous said...

LOL!!! Great article!!!
I laughed the shit out of me! :D

And hey, that game is so awesome, I just found the music and it's still cool! :)

My favorite moves in 2player-game-mode where: one player holds a thug, the other one beats the crap out of him - and take your partner and throw him into a bunch of enemies, when your partner presses attack during the flight he will take the all down in own single strike!! If that ain't COOOOOL!!!!!