Streets of Rage

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This article is about the video game. For the series, see Streets of Rage (series). For the unrelated film, see Streets of Rage (film).
Bare Knuckle: Furious Iron Fist
Streets of Rage
Streets of Rage cover art
Developer(s) Sega
MNM Software[1]
Publisher(s) Sega
Director(s) Noriyoshi Ohba
Designer(s) Noriyoshi Ohba
Hiroaki Chino
Programmer(s) Hiroshi Momota
Composer(s) Yuzo Koshiro
Series Streets of Rage
Platform(s) Mega Drive, Sega CD, Sega Game Gear, Sega Master System, MegaPlay, Virtual Console, iOS, Microsoft Windows, Xbox Live Arcade, Nintendo 3DS
Release date(s) Mega Drive/Sega Genesis
  • JP August 2, 1991
  • EU August 1991
  • NA September 1991
Game Gear
  • JP November 27, 1992
  • NA December 1992
  • EU 1992
Sega Master System Wii Virtual Console
  • NA February 19, 2007
  • JP February 27, 2007
  • EU March 2, 2007
iOS Devices
  • NA September 14, 2009
Microsoft Windows
  • NA January 26, 2011
Nintendo 3DS
3D Classics
  • JP August 21, 2013
  • NA December 19, 2013
  • EU December 19, 2013
Genre(s) Beat 'em up
Mode(s) Single-player, Multiplayer
Distribution 4-megabit cartridge, digital distribution

Streets of Rage (ベア・ナックル 怒りの鉄拳 Bea Nakkuru: Ikari no Tekken?, "Bare Knuckle: Furious Iron Fist") is a side-scrolling beat 'em up released by Sega in 1991 for the Sega Genesis. It is the first installment of the Bare Knuckle/Streets of Rage series which was followed by Streets of Rage 2 and Streets of Rage 3. The game was also converted over to Sega's Game Gear, Sega CD and Master System. In 2007, the game was released for the Wii's Virtual Console in North America and Europe, and in 2009 it was released for the iOS via the App Store. The game was again made available as part of Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection in 2009 on both the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 consoles.


The three characters

Similar to the game Golden Axe which was released two years prior by Sega, enemies walk onto the screen from both sides as well as occasionally appearing from other locations. The player must defeat each opponent to progress through eight locations, known as rounds. With the exception of round 7, there is a boss battle at the end of every round with a disproportionately large enemy. Unlike its sequels, none of the enemies are named within the game (only in the Japanese version's manual) and only the bosses have life gauges. As in contemporary games Double Dragon and Final Fight, weapons can be picked up, and these include bottles and drainpipes. In Streets of Rage, the special attack is assistance from a police car which will pull up at the level's left and fire explosives, taking health from all enemies. The player is given one special attack per life or per level, with power-ups shaped like police cars giving another. In round 8, the special attack can't be used.

There are three playable characters in the game. Adam Hunter is noticeably slower but stronger than the other characters. Axel Stone is the most moderate of the three characters, as he is slightly slower but stronger than Blaze and faster yet slightly weaker than Adam. His only negative attribute is his weak jumping ability compared to the other characters. Blaze Fielding is somewhat weaker than the other characters but is the most agile of the three as she can jump the highest and move about more quickly. Her jump attacks have the longest range, and (because of her judo abilities) her throws and body slams have the highest damage.


The once peaceful city has been taken over by a criminal syndicate, including the police. There is mass violence. Adam Hunter (an accomplished boxer), Axel Stone (skilled martial artist) and Blaze Fielding (judo expert) are ex-police officers who fight back the syndicate.

Depending on whether the game is played as one-player or two-player co-op and the player accepts or rejects Mr. X's offer to become his henchman, there is a possibility for an alternate ending where the player becomes the new head of the crime syndicate.



8-Bit Versions
Port Release Features
Sega Game Gear
  • JP November 27, 1992
  • NA December 1992
  • EU 1992
  • Adam is omitted.
  • 5 rounds in the game.
  • 2-player feature via cable link.
Sega Master System
  • Cut-down music and introduction
  • 2-player feature unavailable
  • Unique boss on Round 6
  • Only 2 enemy characters can appear on-screen
16-Bit Versions
Arcade (Mega Tech / Mega Play) 1991
  • Played for time, not credits
  • NA February 19, 2007
  • JP February 27, 2007
  • EU March 2, 2007
  • NA September 14, 2009
  • 2-player feature unavailable
Microsoft Windows
  • NA January 26, 2011
  • NA December 19, 2013
  • JP August 21, 2013
  • EU December 19, 2013
  • 3D effect
  • One hit kill mode
  • Bare Knuckle (Japanese version) mode
  • CRT TV mode
  • Restore Points


A signature title and franchise for Sega during the Mega Drive era, the title was collected often.

  • Streets of Rage, along with its two sequels, was included in the Japanese version of the Sonic Gems Collection for the GameCube and PlayStation 2, but was omitted from the North American GameCube version to avoid it gaining an E10+ rating, and also from the European GameCube and PlayStation 2 versions for similar reasons.

They are now also available on GameTap.

  • In 2012, Streets of Rage Collection, a package of all three Streets of Rage games, was released on Xbox Live Arcade, as part of the Sega Vintage Collection range of titles.[2] A PlayStation Network release has not been announced.
  • On 26 January 2011 Streets of Rage was released on Valve's Steam platform, both as a standalone purchase and part of the SEGA Mega Drive Classics Pack 4.
  • On 21 August 2013 3D Streets of Rage was released for 3DS, both as an e-shop standalone purchase and later on 18 December 2014 as a part of the Sega 3D Fukkoku Archives.


Review scores
Publication Score
AllGame 4/5 stars[5]
MegaTech 92%[3]
Wizard B[4]

MegaTech magazine said it had "excellent sprites, backdrops and brilliant music. Add in great gameplay and simultaneous two-player action and you've got an essential buy". Mega placed the game at #6 in their Top Mega Drive Games of All Time.[6]

Reviewing the game's appearance in Sega Arcade Classics for the Sega CD, Glenn Rubenstein said it "still holds up well."[4]


Streets of Rage was followed by two sequels, Streets of Rage 2 and Streets of Rage 3. There were plans for two further sequels to Streets of Rage, one of which was developed by Core Design for the Sega Saturn, but Sega pulled the Streets of Rage name during development after a disagreement with Core about porting it to rival formats; the game was eventually released as Fighting Force.


Three six-part comic strip series based upon the games appeared in Sonic the Comic in the early 1990s (along with several other adaptations of popular Sega franchises). The first two of these was written by Mark Millar, who has since become popular writing The Authority for Wildstorm and Ultimate X-Men and The Ultimates for Marvel, while the third (and a Poster Mag story) was written by Nigel Kitching. Peter Richardson produced the artwork for all nineteen episodes. These three stories are based on Streets of Rage 2 and do not feature Adam.

The first story, simply entitled Streets of Rage, appeared in STC #7-12 and involved Axel, Blaze, and Max quitting the highly corrupt police force in order to do more good as vigilantes, taking down Max's ex-partner; the crime lord and martial artist Hawk.

The next serial, Skates' Story, appeared in STC #25-30 and introduced Skates, delinquent stepson of Murphy, a friend of Axel and his team and one of the few honest cops left on the force, who was unwillingly drawn into joining Axel's group after his parents were killed by Mr X.

A special one-off story, called The Facts of Life, appeared in "Sonic the Poster Mag" #7 and involved the heroes causing a racket by fighting one of the many street gangs in a sleeping neighborhood. The police arrive and arrest the thugs, as well as take the heroes to a junkyard for execution. Along the way, Axel explains why he, Blaze, and Max quit the force to a young rookie officer. At the junkyard, just as the officers are about to shoot Max, the rookie officer unlocks Blaze's handcuffs, who proceeds to beat the stuffing out of the cops, with Axel, Skates, and Max following shortly. After the dust clears, the rookie officer says that he's seen the true colors of the police force and requests that Axel hit him. Axel does so until Blaze tells him to stop, and they and Max and Skates leave as dawn breaks.

The third and final serial, called The Only Game In Town, appeared in STC #41-46 and involved the Syndicate unleashing an army of street gangs on our heroes, with the event turned into a gambling event as Mr. X opened a book based on whether or not the heroes would reach the river without being killed first. This ploy was played against the villain when Blaze bet on twenty-thousand dollars on her team's survival at odds of a thousand to one. This third story was notable for revealing that, for his failure, the old Mr. X had been the victim of a "swimming accident" and had been replaced with a new one by the Syndicate at story's end. Like many non-Sonic stories in this magazine, the story had a cliff-hanger ending, with the new Mr. X promising that he would "recoup his losses" and kill the heroes.


Sample of "Attack of the Barbarian" demonstrating elements of chiptune, techno and house music.

Sample of the final stage theme "The Last Soul" from the game's soundtrack.

Problems playing these files? See media help.

The game's chiptune soundtrack was acclaimed, with several soundtrack albums being released. The soundtracks were composed by Yuzo Koshiro. Another musician, Motohiro Kawashima, helped on the second, providing a few tracks, and making even more for the third. Three soundtrack CDs were released in all, each of which now sell for high prices at auction and in Japanese markets.

When the first game's development began in 1990, Koshiro was influenced by electronic dance music, or club music, specifically techno and house music, and wanted to be the first to introduce those sounds to chiptune and video game music. The soundtrack shows the influence of contemporary R&B and hip hop music. Koshiro said the most important element in recreating club music sounds for the games was to emulate the timbre and percussion sounds of Roland's rhythm machines (the most famous models being the TR-606, TR-707, TR-808, and TR-909), stating that "it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that that sound defined the genre."[7]

The soundtracks for the Streets of Rage series were composed using then outdated PC-8801 hardware alongside Koshiro's own original audio programming language. According to Koshiro: "For Bare Knuckle I used the PC88 and an original programming language I developed myself. The original was called MML, Music Macro Language. It's based on NEC's BASIC program, but I modified it heavily. It was more a BASIC-style language at first, but I modified it to be something more like Assembly. I called it ‘Music Love'. I used it for all the Bare Knuckle Games."[8]

The soundtracks, particularly Streets of Rage 2, are considered "revolutionary" and ahead of their time.[9][10] GamesRadar considers the soundtracks to have some of the best video game music ever composed.[11]


Sega has formed the production company Stories International and teaming up with Evan Cholfin for film and TV projects based on theirs games with Streets of Rage as an animated project.[12]


  1. ^ "Mobygames Mikito Ichikawa credits". Moby Games. Retrieved 2009-03-23. 
  2. ^ Yin-Poole, Wesley (May 29, 2012). "Streets of Rage, Golden Axe collections hit Xbox Live Arcade tomorrow". Eurogamer. Retrieved November 26, 2012. 
  3. ^ MegaTech rating, EMAP, issue 5, May 1992
  4. ^ a b Rubenstein, Glenn (January 1993). "At the Controls". Wizard (Wizard Entertainment) (17): 21–24. 
  5. ^ Weiss, Brett Alan. "Streets of Rage - Overview - allgame". Allgame. Retrieved July 29, 2014. 
  6. ^ Mega magazine issue 1, page 76, Future Publishing, Oct 1992
  7. ^ Yuzo Koshiro; Ben Schweitzer (translation) (June 27, 2012). "Liner Notes". Streets of Rage Original Soundtrack. Wave Master, Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 28 August 2012. 
  8. ^ Szczepaniak, John. "Retro Japanese Computers: Gaming's Final Frontier". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 2011-03-29.  Reprinted from Retro Gamer (67), 2009 
  9. ^ McNeilly, Joe (April 19, 2010). "Game music of the day: Streets of Rage 2". GamesRadar. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  10. ^ Mustin. "Streets of Rage 2 Original Soundtrack (US): Review". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  11. ^ Elston, Brett (December 4, 2010). "Game music of the day: Streets of Rage". GamesRadar. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  12. ^ Marc Graser (December 11, 2014). "Sega Taps Evan Cholfin to Adapt its Videogames for Films, TV, Digital Platforms (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved December 11, 2014. 

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