Streets of Rage

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Streets of Rage
Streets of Rage logo.png
Genres Beat 'em up
Developers Sega AM7
Publishers Sega
Platforms Mega Drive / Genesis, Mega-CD, Sega Game Gear, Sega Master System, Sega Mega-Play, Virtual Console, Nintendo 3DS, iOS, Microsoft Windows, Xbox 360, Xbox One
First release Streets of Rage
August 2, 1991
Latest release Streets of Rage 3
March 18, 1994

Streets of Rage (ベア・ナックル, Bea Nakkuru, "Bare Knuckle") is trilogy of a beat 'em up video games developed and published by Sega in the first half of the 1990s. The series centers on the efforts of several heroes to rid a troubled city from the rule of a crime syndicate.

The games were well-received and have been re-released many times both on compilations and as standalone titles. The dance music-influenced soundtracks of the games, scored by Yuzo Koshiro and Motohiro Kawashima, have received much acclaim.

History[edit]

The three games in the series were released between 1991 and 1994. The first entry, Streets of Rage, introduces the main characters: three young former police officers (Axel, Blaze, and Adam), and Mr. X, an evil mastermind. It is the only game in the series to feature a special attack that defeats all non-boss enemies on-screen. Streets of Rage was supported by Sega's Genesis, Master System and Game Gear consoles.

The next entry in the series, Streets of Rage II, had new music (influenced by early '90s club music) from series composer Yuzo Koshiro and newcomer composer Motohiro Kawashima, more defined graphics and a bigger selection of moves. It also introduced two new characters, Eddie "Skate" Hunter, and Max Thunder (or Sammy "Skate" Hunter and Max Hatchett in some regions). Like the original title, Streets of Rage II was playable on Sega's Genesis, Master System and Game Gear.

The final entry to the Streets of Rage series, Streets of Rage 3 was less well-received than its predecessors. Despite some enhancements, it has been seen as very similar to Streets of Rage II. This entry to the series added a more complex storyline, told using cutscenes. The Western version's plot was largely censored and its difficulty significantly increased. The music, again composed by Koshiro and Kawashima, was also criticized for being radically different to the music from the first two games. Unlike the two foregoing titles, Streets of Rage 3 was available only on the Genesis console.

All three titles have been re-released on numerous platforms and compilations, including Sonic Gems Collection[1] and Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection, and on the Wii's Virtual Console, Xbox Live Arcade.

Subsequent projects[edit]

Although it was one of the most popular Sega franchises in the 1990s, no new official Streets of Rage games have appeared since 1994, besides remakes such as the Japanese-only Java mobile game, Bare Knuckle Mobile.

Sega is reported to have attempted to bring the series to the Saturn, and early in the production cycle for Sega's Dreamcast a demo tentatively titled Streets of Rage 4 was made by Ancient. It showed a character similar to Axel fighting a group of enemies. Neither the Saturn nor the Dreamcast game, however, came to fruition.[2][3] Backbone Entertainment later pitched a new Streets of Rage game to Sega, but this project also failed to proceed.[4]

There have been numerous unofficial fan-made projects and remakes, including Beats of Rage[5] and Streets of Rage Remake.[6]

Characters[edit]

In order of appearance:

Streets of Rage[edit]

Axel Stone[edit]

A playable character in all the games, Axel is the frontman of the series. He is usually portrayed as a muscular young man with blonde hair, and wearing blue jeans with a white vest and a red headband.

A police detective in the first game, he went on to open a karate dojo. In the Japanese Bare Knuckle 3 storyline, he is transferred to the Special Investigation police department.

In the early Streets of Rage titles he has balanced abilities, combining power and speed. In later installments, he becomes more of a heavyweight fighter. His special attacks variously include a 360-degree flaming punch (Dragon Wing) and a punch/uppercut combo (Dragon Smash). He also has a flaming uppercut named Grand Upper (which was renamed to Bare Knuckle for SoR3). It was toned down considerably in SoR3 due to its excessive power in SoR2. After many years of hiatus, Axel made an official return in an RPG crossover between Sega, Capcom and Namco Bandai called Project X Zone 2, in which he is voiced by Tomokazu Sugita in Japanese.

Blaze Fielding[edit]

Blaze is a police officer who lacks attacking force but has superior speed and jumping abilities. Like most females in video games, she is portrayed as stereotypically attractive, with long legs, large breasts and revealing clothing.

Adam Hunter[edit]

Adam is a playable character only in SoR1. He is kidnapped in SoR2, and appears in the cut scenes of SoR3 twice. He is the older brother of Eddie "Skate" Hunter. Adam is an ex-professional boxer who joined the police force as a detective. Unlike Axel and Blaze, he did not quit the police force at the end of the second game. He is the opposite of Blaze, in that he is slower but stronger. He is portrayed in the first title as a tall young man with dark hair and with highly developed upper-body strength, wearing a yellow vest with motorcycle leathers.

Mr. X[edit]

The syndicate boss Mr. X is the main antagonist, and appears as the final adversary in all games in one form or another. In the two first games, he is armed with a Tommy gun. After barely surviving his first two encounters with the SoR team, in SoR3 he is nothing more than a brain in a jar, and has a robot, Robot Y (or Neo X in the Bare Knuckle Version) who fights for him.

Streets of Rage 2[edit]

Max Thunder[edit]

Only playable in SoR2, Max, a wrestler, is by far the slowest character in the series, but also the hardest hitting. Max is a friend of Axel, and makes a cameo appearance in the ending of the third game. His special techniques are a spinning axe-handle blow (Thunder Bomb) and a dashing tackle (Thunder Tackle). He also has a devastating backwards-grappling move called the Atomic Drop. He is the exact opposite of Skate, by lacking speed but having great power.

Eddie "Skate" Hunter (Sammy Hunter in Japanese version)[edit]

Playable character in SoR2 and SoR3, the young brother of Adam. His first name is Sammy in BK2 and Eddie in SoR2. "Skate" is his nickname, as he fights on rollerblades. He is fast, but the weakest of all characters. In SoR2 he was the only character who could dash, an ability all playable characters gained by SoR3. In both games, one of Skate's special moves was the Double Spin Kick. In SoR2, he uses the Corkscrew Kick and in SoR3, he uses Rolling Punches, a flurry of punches. At 4' 10" (147 cm), he is the smallest playable character by far.

Shiva[edit]

The boss fought right before Mr. X in SoR2, and up to two times in SoR3. He is Mr. X's bodyguard and a very skilled fighter, his repertoire of moves matching the regular playable characters. He is also a secret playable character in SoR3, who can be unlocked right after defeating him by holding down the B button. His special move is called Final Crash. He is named after the Hindu god of destruction Shiva.

Streets of Rage 3[edit]

Dr. Zan Gilbert[edit]

A former syndicate henchman, Zan tells Blaze about the robot conspiracy in SoR3, and about the Raxine bombs in the Japanese counterpart BK3. He is one of the four initially selectable characters. Zan is himself part robot, a cyborg, slow but strong due to the metal parts. Unlike the other characters in SoR3, Zan has no specialized blitz weapon attacks; every weapon he picks up turns into a ball of energy. His special techniques are the Electric Body and Electric Reach, both using his cyborg parts to shock the opponents.

Roo[edit]

Roo (Victy in BKIII) is a kangaroo mini-boss in SoR3. If his cruel trainer, Bruce (Danch in BKIII), is defeated while keeping Roo/Victy from getting defeated, he becomes playable when a continue is used (alternatively, the player can press Up+B+Start at the title screen to select Roo directly at the character selection screen). His moveset is very complete, even including team attacks with the regular SoR characters.

Ash[edit]

A minion of Mr. X and the first mini-boss faced only in BK3. His character is very stereotypically effeminate, having a very feminine run, even a little 'laugh' taunt (which can still be heard in SoR3 in the sound test under VOICE 14) and female mannerisms. Because of this, he was removed from the Western ports SoR3. In BK3 he drives a boat which drops off punks and afterwards jumps off to fight himself. Like Shiva, he is also a secret playable character, but unlocked by holding A once defeated (in the Japanese version). Ash's moveset is very limited; for example, he has no jumping attacks, but instead his punches are humorously overpowered. Like Shiva and Roo/Victy, he cannot hold any weapons.

Break[edit]

An android doppelganger of Axel Stone, created by Mr. X, to kill Axel Stone and his allies. The only differences between Axel and Break are their gloves and skins, with Axel can be recognized with his primary red gloves and normal Caucasian skin, while Break wears blue gloves and his skin is tanned, then turns red after taking damage. He at first appears to be silent, except when encountering Axel. Break says Axel's name, and shouts Axel's moves like Gran Upper. He appeared in Project X Zone 2 as a rival unit called Robo Axel. He shares the same Japanese voice actor as Axel Stone, Tomokazu Sugita.

Other media[edit]

Comics[edit]

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, while the third (and a Poster Mag story) was written by Nigel Kitching. These three stories are an alternate continuity from the games, and do not feature Adam. A graphic novel compilation of the original 4-part "Streets of Rage" strip was released as a book called "Streets of Rage: Bad City Fighters" in the UK in 1994.

The first story, entitled simply Streets of Rage, 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 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 stepfather was killed by Mr X. The third and final story, called The Only Game In Town, involved the Syndicate unleashing an army of street gangs. The Poster Mag story, called The Facts of Life, features Axel, Blaze, Skate and Max.

Soundtracks[edit]

The game's 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 almost half of the tracks for the third. Three soundtrack CDs were released in all, each of which now sell for high prices at auction and in Japanese markets.

The soundtracks mainly consist of, often experimental,[7] chiptune-based electronic dance music,[8] encompassing electronic genres such as electro, house,[9] techno, hardcore, jungle,[8] ambient,[10] breakbeat,[11] gabber,[12] noise,[13] and trance.[9][11][14] The music was produced using the Yamaha FM-synth sound chips of the Sega Mega Drive / Genesis video game console (YM2612) and NEC PC-88 computer (YM2608),[15][16] along with Koshiro's own audio programming language "Music Love," a modified version of the PC-88's Music Macro Language (MML).[16]

The soundtracks have been critically acclaimed. They are considered ahead of their time,[9][10] and as some of the best video game music of all time.[17] Streets of Rage 2 (1992) in particular is considered revolutionary[9][10] for its "blend of swaggering house synths," "dirty" electro-funk and "trancey electronic textures that would feel as comfortable in a nightclub as a video game."[9] Streets of Rage 3 is also considered ahead of its time, for its automatically generated randomized sequences, experimental hardcore "fast-beat techno like jungle" sounds,[7][8] and trance music elements.[14] The series' soundtracks have influenced a range of chiptune, electronica, grime and dubstep musicians through to the present day, including artists such as Ikonika,[18][19][20] BT,[10] Labrinth,[20] Martyn, Joker, Darkstar,[19] Childish Gambino,[21] and Danger.[22]

Novel[edit]

A Streets of Rage II novel (published together with a Street Fighter II novel) was written by Mat Yeo in 1993. It is just 35 pages long, based on the second game in the SOR series, and was given away free with copies of 'Sega Force' magazine in the UK.

Feature film and television series adaptation[edit]

A feature film and television series produced by Stories International (a joint venture between Sega and Hakuhodo DY Group) are in the works alongside other adaptations such as Altered Beast.[23]The film and show will be co-produced by Circle of Confusion with his production partners Lawrence Matthis and Julian Rosenberg at alongside Tomoya Suzuki.[24]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gantayat, Anoop. "More Gems in Sonic Gems". IGN. 
  2. ^ Ken Horowitz (11 September 2004). "Forgotten Franchises: Streets of Rage". Sega-16. Retrieved 13 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-10-12. 
  4. ^ New Streets Of Rage And ESWAT Games Were Being Pitched To Sega
  5. ^ "Beats of Rage". Senileteam.com. Retrieved 2013-10-12. 
  6. ^ "SorR project". Bombergames.net. 2010-02-03. Retrieved 2013-10-12. 
  7. ^ a b Horowitz, Ken (February 5, 2008). "Interview: Yuzo Koshiro". Sega-16. Archived from the original on 21 September 2008. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c Davis, Jeff. "Interview with Yuzo Koshiro". Gaming Intelligence Agency. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  9. ^ a b c d e McNeilly, Joe (April 19, 2010). "Game music of the day: Streets of Rage 2". GamesRadar. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  10. ^ a b c d Mustin. "Streets of Rage 2 Original Soundtrack (US): Review". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  11. ^ a b Ryan. "Streets of Rage 2 Original Soundtrack (US): Review". Square Enix Music Online. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  12. ^ "Yuzo Koshiro / Motohiro Kawashima – Bare Knuckle III". Discogs. Retrieved 7 August 2012. 
  13. ^ "Streets of Rage". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 5 August 2012. 
  14. ^ a b "Streets of Rage 3 review – Sega Megadrive". Mean Machines. Retrieved 1 August 2012. 
  15. ^ Barnholt, Ray (June 2012). "The Magic of FM Synth". 1UP.com. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  16. ^ a b Szczepaniak, John. "Retro Japanese Computers: Gaming's Final Frontier". Hardcore Gaming 101. Retrieved 2011-03-29.  Reprinted from Retro Gamer (67), 2009 
  17. ^ Elston, Brett (December 4, 2010). "Game music of the day: Streets of Rage". GamesRadar. Retrieved 31 July 2012. 
  18. ^ Lawrence, Eddy (11 January 2011). "Ikonika interview: Producer and DJ, Ikonika had an incredible 2010". Time Out. Retrieved 5 August 2011. 
  19. ^ a b "Recording Under the Influence: Ikonika". Self-Titled Magazine. April 21, 2010. Retrieved 5 August 2011. 
  20. ^ a b Lawrence, Eddy (18 January 2011). "Ikonika interview: Dubstep has taken the world by storm over the past 12 months". Time Out. Retrieved 6 August 2011. 
  21. ^ "Yuzo Koshiro". WhoSampled. Retrieved 2011-08-30. 
  22. ^ Danger (7) – 09/17 2007 at Discogs
  23. ^ "STORIES INTERNATIONAL PARTNERS WITH “THE WALKING DEAD” PRODUCERS CIRCLE OF CONFUSION ON FILM & TV ADAPTATIONS OF HIT SEGA FRANCHISES “ALTERED BEAST” AND “STREETS OF RAGE” | STORIES LLC, STORIES INTERNATIONAL, INC.". STORIES LLC, STORIES INTERNATIONAL, INC. Retrieved 2016-12-06. 
  24. ^ "'Altered Beast' and 'Streets of Rage' coming to film and TV". Engadget. Retrieved 2016-12-06. 

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