Indie Games, where the heart and soul is!

Arcade Review: Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage

Xbox Live Arcade Game

800 MS Points


Xbox Live Marketplace Page

Developer – SEGA





by: Daizoren

Making it’s revival from the Genesis, Streets of Rage makes it’s arrival on Xbox Live Arcade. With all 3 games bundled into one single package (Reminiscent of Streets of Rage Remake) it appears to be a great deal. As someone who played the original more than any other beat’em up game, I was very excited to revisit this childhood brawler.

The first Streets of Rage game has the most nostalgia for me, as it was a part of the Genesis 6 pack and I played that almost non-stop as a child. Sonic, Streets of Rage, Golden Axe, Hang-on, Columns and Shinobi were some of the best introductions to gaming that I could get. Seeing the original Beat’em up make it’s return made my digital fists clench.

Graphics – 8.2

Even today, Streets of Rage doesn’t look too bad. On an HDTV, you can stretch the image to encompass the entire screen and they’ve even included the ability to smooth the sprites to look more appealing (and surprisingly more painted, like our favorite Streets of Rage Remake that was taken down). The first game looks bright and vibrant, as the city streets come alive with their Vegas lightshow and environments look varied and unique. The characters look decent, but certainly not the top of the line for 16 bit era, as it was the first in the series and earlier in the Genesis life cycle, but they still maintain their individuality.

The second game ends up looking a little darker, but still holds the essential appeal and look from the original with a few minor tweaks. Some new effects come into play with manipulating the foreground and background, which leads to some cool looking multiple effects. The characters look a little more defined and new moves get shown off with a finesse that wasn’t possible in the first.

The third game looks the most detailed and refined of the trilogy. Backgrounds look crisp and detailed. Shadows creep in to cracks in the walls, concrete looks damaged and worn and light effects lead to some very crazy, almost seizure inducing moments (Beware if you’re epileptic). The characters also appear to be the most refined in this rendition of the series, but they also seem the most dark. New movements and abilities make watching the game as you play seem much more enjoyable.

Gameplay – 8

Streets of Rage was the original beat’em up game for me, so it was my personal introduction to the style and format. I wasn’t familiar with final fight and I didn’t play Golden-Axe until after Streets. I couldn’t have asked for a better game to get introduced to the genre as it remains to be one of my favorite games from my childhood.

The first game’s mechanics seemed to hold up to my nostalgia rather well. Jump kicking with Axel is still a little weak in comparison with other characters and the movement is a little sluggish at times, but I found myself enjoying the game as much as always. Having a special move that calls a police car to arrive and shoot a missile or reign down fire on your enemies is still a joy to behold. I did, however, find a weird glitch or work around when fighting normal enemies. If you were to go up and hit an enemy and wait just a perfect amount of time, you wouldn’t do your 3 hit combo, allowing you to punch repeatedly and the enemy being unable to do anything because they have a moment of paralysis when they’re hit, leaving them unable to retaliate. Combine this with having your character move closer to the enemy and you can get a good 3 punches in followed by a grab and another 3 hits. This will almost always take out a normal enemy.

The second game controls were much slower and sluggish in comparison to the first and even worse in regards to the previously mentioned glitch. You could now literally stand and punch any enemy (With the right timing) until they died and this almost always worked on bosses too. This was a real let down in regards to making the game a fun experience for friends or even just for yourself to have some fun evading and dodging while fighting back. In the second game, it was more of just mindless hitting and nothing more.

The third game seemed to fix the glitch and combat was amped up quite a bit. Being able to run, having your special move from the second game and being able to roll up and down to the foreground/background makes evasion and tactics a much bigger sense of the game. Many times I felt that weapon pickups actually hindered your ability to fight rather than better your chances and so I left my fists to do the talking in most cases. New elements like avoiding minecarts and motorcycles add a great amount of variety to the title. Above all else, my favorite thing about all three of these games are that they all feature one elevator level, where you hit floor by floor of a tall building and fight onslaughts of enemies while it keeps going up. Throwing enemies off the side or disposing of enemies as you notice the background moving gives a great rush of entertainment that wasn’t found for me at the time.

Sound – 7.3

Streets of Rage always had a very 90’s feel to it and it’s still apparent when you listen to it today. Low bass riffs with sirens for the boss fights, electronica tracks and occasional voices going “Yeah!” all remind us of what 90’s music was like. These titles recapture that original feel with a few missed notes due to bad porting or emulation. Occasionally a note that was perfect in the original track will sound way out of place and ruin the entire experience. It’s not a terrible port of the tracks, but it does have a few notes that made me cringe that I don’t recall cringing at before.

Achievements – 7.2

The achievements in this game will not be easy to obtain, as most are going to require multiple playthroughs and some skill to obtain, such as beating each game to the end, playing 3 as Axel in order to beat his imposter as himself or playing as different characters throughout Streets of Rage 2. These will not be very hard to obtain by any means, but they will certainly require multiple playthroughs just to get half of them. It’s a good thing this game was designed for replayability.

Replay Value – 7.7

This game is an arcade style beat’em up. It’s meant to have a high replay value and while the second game seems to be the biggest dissapointment, the first and third games both still have an entertainment level that you can’t really get anymore. It does appear that as the games did continue, their length got cut down. The first game felt the longest to beat while the third seemed like nothing in comparison. Regardless, they’re all 3 a good bunch to try out if you’ve never had the chance and a decent nostalgia trip for us who already have had the entertainment of playing them. The generation of arcades is dying and while something like Xbox Live Arcade exists, it doesn’t recapture that original Arcade feel. While these games were designed for the Genesis with home gaming in mind, they still capture that arcade feel that only a few other titles seem to touch (Such games like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV and X-Men come to mind).



  • Classic Beat’em up style
  • Colorful pallet
  • Different character types
  • Strong Soundtrack


  • Some poor ported music
  • Exploitative glitch in first 2 titles
  • Some sluggish controls
  • Each title gets shorter

If you’re looking for an old school arcade beat’em up and a good taste of classic 16 bit action, you will find a lot of fun from Streets of Rage.

(Here are my individual scores for each game respectively, followed by the overall, average score of all three titles together.)

Streets of Rage

Graphics – 8

Gameplay – 8.5

Sound – 8

Achievements – 7

Replay Value – 8.5

Overall – 8


Streets of Rage 2

Graphics – 8

Gameplay – 6.5

Sound – 7

Achievements – 7

Replay Value – 6.5

Overall – 7


Streets of Rage 3

Graphics – 8.5

Gameplay – 9

Sound – 7

Achievements – 7.5

Replay Value – 8

Overall – 8




Start or join the discussion!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s