Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
You want an epic struggle against organised crime? You got it! You want streetwise heroes with more moves than you can shake a club at? You got it! You want a massive beat-’em-up packed full of thugs? You got it! You want a signed photo of Vanessa Paradis, a Swiss bank account and a packet of Scampi Fries? Forget it!
Yep, these streets are down and dirty — and you’ve gotta clean ‘em up! Mr Big’s network of organised crime covers the entire city and grips its inhabitants in a reign of terror. Even the local government bow to Mr Big’s superior power — including the cops!
It’s down to three vigilantes to restore peace: Adam, Axel and Blaze. Each have their own moves and weaknesses but have similar control methods. Choose a hero, get a friend to play another, if you think you need them, and take a deep breath!
Starting in a glitzy shopping mall, thugs of all descriptions approach and attack, from the common or garden variety to spiky-haired psychos to, er, ‘professional women’. As for the end-of-level bosses... these weirdos have to be seen to be believed!
The moves available depend not only on D-pad and button combinations but also the situation — button alone triggers six different attacks. Bashing certain obstacles often reveals extra energy or weapons to wield.
When things get extra tough, pause the game and press either button to summon a cop faithful to his cause. He trundles up in a squad car and launches a missile, damaging bosses and killing lesser opponents.
Bind up yer knuckles and slip yer safety box into position (ahem!) — it’s time to get nasty!
I’m really glad Streets Of Rage showed up. Paul was keen but was disappointed by Renegade last month — this well produced beat-’em-up restores my faith in MS video violence! Okay. It’s a couple of years late, but better late than never, eh?
Nicely designed intro/character selection screens lead to an impressively accurate in-game graphics and smooth-scrolling levels. Backgrounds are on the blocky side, some worse than others, but more than adequate and true to the MD — yup, the opening scene’s still horribly gaudy!
The Streets Of Rage sprites are coooo-el! The main characters are detailed and smoothly animated. Leave the controls alone between scraps and Blaze brushes back her hair; Axel blows on his knuckles! Enemy sprites aren’t as impressive, except the superb beefy end-level bosses — they’d do a 16-bit machine proud!
For the first few plays, you’re likely to just use the basic moves. Develop some confidence, peruse the instructions for more complicated moves and the whole game opens up! These characters really are versatile, and there’s only a little sprite flicker.
The action’s slower than the MD version and fewer enemies are onscreen at any one time, so it’s noticeably easier. Probably just as well, considering how awkward it is to summon the squad car for a smart bomb effect! The price you have to pay for a two-button joypad, I suppose. Complete the game and switch to Hard mode, however, and you need all the help you can get!
Streets Of Rage is among the best beat-’em-ups ever to appear on the Master System. Put tt near the top of your shopping list — you won’t regret it!
Everyone’s raving about MD Streets Of Rage 2, but what about the poor old MS? The mega-sequel hasn’t arrived just yet but the original’s finally blasted onto the 8-bit Sega! It’s actually quite a good conversion that doesn’t suffer from memory restrictions or poor graphics.
Unlike the GG version, you can choose any of the three characters. Adam, Axel and Blaze still have a stunning array of moves such as back-flips, punches and flying kicks, all smoothly executed. There is, however, some serious sprite flicker when you get too close to an opponent. The controls get a bit sluggish but that’s a minor grumble.
Gameplay’s good, each level planned out just as in the original. Each section finishes with a big boss who has to be beaten before you can progress.
Ready for a true streetfight? Streets Of Rage could be just what you’re after!
An instantly playable, graphically mpressive and addictive beat-’em-up.