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Streets of Rage was one of Sega’s most popular franchises in the 1990’s but after Streets of Rage 3, we wouldn’t see another sequel for over twenty five years. During the hiatus, a fan-created game called Streets of Rage Remake was released and its a blending of the official three games. It was in development for almost a decade and Sega requested it be taken down some time ago but you can still find copies floating around on the internet. Remake does run on Windows 10 but the max resolution is 640×480. We did find a tool called the “fullscreen launcher” designed for Remake that allows you to run the game in widescreen with the proper aspect ratio.
The storyline centers on our familiar heroes who set out to take down Mr. X and the Syndicate. There are cut scenes accompanied by text in between the stages that advance the plot. After choosing your character, you’re brought to a route map where you can select one of multiple routes that take you to the different stages and areas from the official games. Remake does support controllers and up to two players and you can disable damage between players which is fantastic. If playing solo, you have the option to select a CPU ally to accompany you on your journey. Plus, you can decide how you want the ally to behave. The ally will attack enemies, pick up items, and use weapons. It’s actually competent which I found to be impressive.
You start with only six playable characters to choose from and they should all be familiar if you’ve played the original games. The roster does include Adam Hunter who hasn’t been a playable character since the first game. Other characters can be purchased from the Shop. Yes, there’s a Shop where you can buy characters, cheats, and extras. You can buy things like dead bodies staying on the ground, play as an uncensored Bare Knuckle 2 Blaze, various art from the game, and additional game modes. There’s a battle mode, survival mode, boss rush, and a two-player volleyball mini-game. To purchase anything, you need to acquire shop items which equate to currency. These can be found in the stages or are dropped by enemies and include money, gold, jewlery, glasses, and coins among other things. When you beat a route or die enough times to see the game over screen, you’ll get to see your score and amount of money you’ve accumulated. But you don’t necessarily have to spend money. Depending on the time of day, you might be able to steal from the shop.
Every character has different stats in power, technique, speed, jump, and stamina. On the default settings, most of the mechanics are taken directly from Streets of Rage 3 and characters can roll or jump to different planes. Certain options allow you to change mechanics to match whichever Streets of Rage game you prefer. Each character has a unique move set like they do in the official games. You can punch, kick, jump, perform jump kicks, combos, and grab and throw enemies. You can perform blitz attacks which can be upgraded by reaching certain scores and unleash specials. If your power meter is full, activating your special will deplete the meter. If it’s not full, it will cost you health. Furthermore, you can call for police backup and it’s a separate button. However, there’s a catch. You can only call for backup in accessible areas. Either a police car will arrive and launch projectiles like they did in the first game or a helicopter will fly in and a gunner will mow down the enemies around you. It’s pretty awesome. Some characters won’t call for police backup and instead perform their own unique moves. For example, Ash will shake his ass.
There are many items you can find and pick up in Remake. You’ll come across extra life pickups, money and gold grant you extra points, and food replenishes health. Part of the charm of Streets of Rage is being able to beat thugs up with different weapons. All of the weapons from the official three games are included in Remake along with some new ones and characters that were previously unable to use weapons can do so now, like Zan for example. You can now wield guns and they can be turned off if you prefer not to use them. Yes, you can gun down foes in Streets of Rage Remake. You can even decimate them with a bazooka. Weapons can be found by breaking objects in the environments and they’ll also be dropped by enemies.
Remake comes with multiple difficulty modes and the game is well balanced and challenging. It’s not too easy, it’s not too hard, and it’s certainly not as tedious as the English version of Streets of Rage 3. Most of the enemies and bosses will be familiar. They’re all named and retain their behavior from the official games. Enemies will lob grenades from the backgrounds, riders will try to run you down, and some robots will explode when defeated. There are some new types thrown in like baddies wielding uzis, snipers, and truckers which can replenish some of their own health. Each route gets more challenging as you progress and the enemies and items feel carefully placed so the gameplay always feels fair. Some stage bosses were changed around so many stages will end with bosses you didn’t expect to see. They can still feel cheap and will require memorization of their attacks and patterns to be defeated without losing all your lives.
All of the stages from the official games are here and a they flow together nicely. Each route has a nice mix of stages and areas and the cut scenes will give context as to where the characters are going next. The different routes will reflect the different games but include some noticeable changes. You can go from a Streets of Rage II area to another from 3. Not only that but some stages let you choose what path to take and after certain stages you’re given the option to pick the next one. Remake also adds in some new areas and changes things around. You’ll have to fight enemies on an aircraft while trying not to get sucked out. You’ll fight enemies on top of a train. You’ll ride motorcycles and jet skis while fending off attackers, certain barrels can explode, and if you’re not careful, you’ll be run down by cars. The hazards from the official games are present which means you need to be careful not to fall down holes and conveyor belts will move you towards crushers.
Streets of Rage Remake includes a gorgeous 16-bit presentation with assets taken from the official games. The stages include some visual changes and are more detailed. It’s the Streets of Rage 1 stages that are the most impressive because they’ve been updated to be visually consistent with the rest. New visual effects have been included and some can be changed or turned off from the Game Options menu. The dance club area from Streets of Rage 3 will showcase some excellent new lighting effects, you’ll see reflections on certain surfaces, accurate character shadows, characters will bleed when attacked with certain weapons, and explosions can split enemies in half. In our opinion the new visual effects add some flare to the experience, giving the presentation a more updated look and feel without taking anything away from its original design. The music is the real highlight of the audio. The songs have been remixed and sound incredible. You can hear footsteps when characters walk and explosions are booming. On the technical side, we did not encounter any issues. It is a bummer the game doesn’t support higher resolutions but the Fullscreen Launcher worked great. Without it, you can still run the game in full screen but the presentation will be stretched. But what kind of sick monster stretches out a 4:3 game? It’s also going to be blurry.
Streets of Rage Remake is one of the greatest fan creations we’ve ever played. Personally, I was floored with how well it turned out. Everything from the sprite work to the music is phenomenal. It’s a shame Sega had to shut it down. They should have made an offer to buy it with a plan to release it as an official game. We would gladly pay for this. The amount of content and options on offer is impressive and it actually feels like a legitimate Streets of Rage game. It’s got everything. An excellent 16-bit visual presentation, incredible music, fun gameplay with the option to adjust the mechanics, and plenty of replay value. Despite Sega’s interference, you can still find copies online and if you’re a fan of the series, I would highly suggest you find and play it. Honestly, we think it’s better than the official games and it’s free.
We would absolutely recommend Streets of Rage Remake to fans of the series and the beat ’em up genre. To put it simply, it’s project that blends the first three Streets of Rage games together resulting in one of the greatest fan-games ever made. Definitely check it out.