Streets of Rage review - Sega Megadrive

Read Original Review PDF for Streets of Rage

Streets of Rage box artThe streets are no longer safe for ordinary people any more. Mr Big and his violence-crazed minions have moved into the city, and their main occupations include scaring the people with their grotesque features, beating them up with a variety of weapons and generally causing a bit of aggro.

The police are busy setting up road traps on the motorways and making Crimestoppers commercials, and the carnage on the streets continues unchecked! Sick of the way the people are being treated, three heroes decide to leave the police force and become street vigilanties, kicking the excerment out of anyone who looks vaguely threatening.

Their one objective is to put an end to Mr Big's reign of terror, by taking out the man himself who waits waits at the end of eight levels' worth of beat 'em up action. It's a hard task, but our heroes aren't just hard - they're living rock!

What the Mean Machines staff thought


" Imagine a simultaneous two-player combat game which incorporates features from Final Fight, Double Dragon and Shadow Warriors and you're imagining a game not entirely unlike Streets of Rage. It's an excellent beat 'em up - the best yet seen on the Megadrive - and has eight levels packed to the gills with meaty mateys and gruesome girlies all waiting to kick the cack out of you. The going is tough (especially in single-player mode on HARD), but all three characters have a variety of moves to keep them from being overrun by the sheer number of baddies. I particularly like the mega-kick that can only be done when two players work together, and the special weapon is superb! "

" Streets of Rage is THE beat 'em up for Megadrive owners to buy. The action is great, especially with two players on-screen at once! For once, the players act as a team, using each other to produce moves not available in one-player mode. The graphics are great. The sprites are excellent, and at times the screen is chock-a-block with thugs ready to send you to your doom! The backdrops are similarly detailed, although the scenery on each level could've done with being a bit more varied. My one substantial gripe is the fact that the game doesn't present much of a challenge on EASY mode. Gary and I completed the game in two-player without using one continue! However, put the difficulty level on HARD and the action is made all the more enjoyable and challenging. Beat 'em up fans should check this out as soon as it hits the streets. "


Overall Score90%

Retrospective comments


It's tricky to review Streets of Rage 1 and be fair to it in light of the goodness that was to come in its sequel! Still it laid the foundations for even more future greatness so it is only fair to give the original game the respect it deserves. Basically SOR is Sega's answer to Final Fight, no doubt about it! The Axel character is a direct rip off of Cody from FF for example!

SOR comes into it's own with two players. There are tons of moves the characters can perform, even some that involve teaming up to throw each other at the bad guys like gymnasts! Cracking punks over the head with a pool cue or broken bottle is so violent and cool.

Yuzo Koshiro the legend himself created the music in this game, it is amazing as you might expect. 80's trance at it's best! The sound effects aren't so great however.

It hasn't aged well compared to SOR2 and SOR3. The graphics are a bit dated now, even compared to other games released in the same year it looked a bit rough around the edges! I really dislike the special move which calls a police car to fire off some missiles, it really breaks up the action (this was replaced by a energy draining special move in SOR2)

So all in all should you buy this? Maybe for nostalgia, maybe for completeness, if none of this bothers you wait for SOR2, it is a much better game on the whole.

edgar hernandez - 12 Feb 2008, 19:52 GMT

i was wondering if they were going to remake it with better graphic cuz the game is awesome. out of most fighting game in the 90's. S.O.R series was the best of it's genre time. and most of everyone had thought if there was a sequel or something. i mean. i give the game 9 out of 10.

Dazza - 13 Feb 2008, 08:31 GMT

I don't think Sega have any plans to remake the series officially, which is a shame! However Bombergames have a remake project which might interest you:

Its a free download so you can't lose!

Tris Wicks - 05 Nov 2008, 01:52 GMT

The remake of Golden Axe on Sega Classics (ps2) should serve as a warning. SOR trilogy is classic, no remake will match the originals. Check out Castle Crashers on Xbox360. That keeps the love alive.

Dan - 25 Feb 2009, 16:44 GMT

Quality game, a great cross between Final Fight and Assault on Precienct 13. Personally I though it was a tad too easy, and Adam was a waste of space, but overall a fine BEU.

Stayrsaigh - 22 Mar 2009, 02:59 GMT

Everyone knew what this was.......a complete Final Fight rip off!

A bad thing? Definatly not!!!! Sega were spot on with this game, the Megadrive was screaming out for a decent scrolling beat 'em up! Everyone knew it, wanted it, got it!!!!

Envy can produce some amazing things and this was one of them! Superb graphics, great sound (Apart from the cardboardy sound effects!) and amazing gameplay!

Dated it has (To quote Yoda!) but it's still way up there in the nostalgia ranks! I have to admit to reading the C+VG review first which made me buy the game but as a beat 'em up conosur I highly ranked this as one of the best of it's time and a great attempt by Sega to rival Final Fight!

It was just one of those games that filled a gap in the Megadrive market, no matter how much of a shameless rip off it was!

Podge - 31 Mar 2009, 13:51 GMT

Am i going mental becuase no matter where i look all the sprite sites dont have a Robot enemy that apperd in streets of rage 2 on the sega megadrive. They would jump about being stupid and swing swinging balls at you... but they dont egsist on the internet what are these?

Pete Green - 18 Apr 2009, 11:42 GMT

How can this game have scored less than Final Fight? Everything was better about this game than that game.

Jaymz - 07 Jul 2009, 18:51 GMT

Yeah, Final Fight has better graphics, but SOR is waaaaaaay more playable and fun! And that's what really matters in a game, right? Right???

mitzibishi - 22 Jul 2009, 03:25 GMT

one of the few megadrive games here that deserves a higher score than it got. downgrade the rest by a few percent except for shinobi and sonic and your nearly there. A MUST PLAY!! and one of the best early games

Steve - 08 Sep 2009, 00:18 GMT

The first game I owned, and maybe even played, on the Megadrive. Though it was great to play with a friend for a few hours, it got boring very fast. It did have great music though...especially in the introduction clip at the beginning.

Anthony - 03 Oct 2009, 03:24 GMT

Awesome game. Don't disrespect the police car artillery special move. As far as beat-em-up games go, Double Dragon ruled the 8bit systems, Streets of Rage rules the 16bit systems.

Geo - 06 Dec 2009, 13:34 GMT

SOR is great and compared to final fightI think it's equal. (well that depends on which ff youse talkin about cus SOR>SNES FF. I would like to see a new SOR we did get a spiritual successer called dynamite cops and that game ROCKS!

leeleicester40 - 29 Nov 2012, 13:25 GMT

i was around 18 i think when this came out as bare knuckle in japan , i had read the preview's and simply couldn't wait for the european release , ,,,,, i was on a yts scheme at the time , and was only coming home with £35 a week ,,,,of which £10 was for my mams rent , and a 5ver went on a weeks bus ticket etc ,,,,,,,, suffice to say money was very tight ,
leicester didn't have a reliable importer at the time , and so yellow pages ( remember we had no internet lol) ,,, i soon found one in nottingham ,,,, more train fayre expense lol ,,,,,, the game was £60 ,,,,,, i cannot convey just how huge a sum of money this was at the time for a teenager ,,,,,, with fayres n food etc i was cleaned out ,,,,,, but it was so worth it , all those weeks of scrimping and saving ,,,,,,, and i finally had the best game i had ever owned , the graphics music and gameplay were immense at the time , ,,,,, it remains my favourite megadrive game of all time (yes im one of the few who prefers this over the sequel )

ps. it's so difficult to explain to the playstation generation the sheer quality of the megadrive at the time ,,,,, there simply wasn't anything else that could compete with titles like sor and the awesome conversions of sega's arcade ports ,,,,,, you have to remember most people you knew owned a c64 or spectrum , master system or nes ,awesome machines at the time , but this was such a monumental leap in graphics , you really had to live through the time period to fully appreciate it.

Steve - 22 Jan 2013, 20:51 GMT

Very well put leeleicester40! I remember when my cousin played me Altered beast when the Megadrive first came out and my eyes actually dissolved.

Ninjah1982 - 17 Apr 2013, 15:07 GMT

90%??? You must be havin' a laugh!
Everything about this game was superb!

Mean Machines Issue 12 - September 1991
Beat 'Em Up Sega Megadrive
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Streets of Rage

Streets of Rage

Streets of Rage

Streets of Rage

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