Streets of Rage (known in Japan as Bare Knuckle: Ikari no Tekken (ベア・ナックル 怒りの鉄拳, lit. "Bare Knuckle: Furious Iron Fist") was the first SOR title, released by SEGA in 1991 on the 16-Bit Mega Drive and later ported to the 8-Bit Master System, and Game Gear handheld. The game was released when the Nintendo SNES was imminent, and Sega needed some exclusive 1st-party games to rival the SNES launch line-up. They needed a game similar to Final Fight, a popular arcade coin-op game that Nintendo was bringing to the home market on SNES following a lucrative exclusivity deal with Capcom.

Sega employed development team Ancient to work on the title, along with former members of Team Shinobi, who used a heavily modified version of the Golden Axe engine to produce what would eventually become 'Bare Knuckle'. They re-used some graphics and sound effects from The Revenge of Shinobi and also employed master VGM composer Yuzo Koshiro for the soundtrack. A key selling point for the game was its simultaneous 2-player option, a feature omitted from the SNES port of Final Fight. Upon its release, Streets of Rage was a success for Sega, welcomed by critics and gamers alike. It had good graphics for the time and showcased what the Mega Drive was capable of. (See our Making Of article for a more in-depth look at the game's origins).

Streets of Rage features a superb 'house' soundtrack by Yuzo Koshiro that really sets the mood as you punch, kick and smash your way through the 8 levels with pipes, bats and bottles to reach the lair of Mr. X, the leader of the evil Syndicate. The music was and still is incredible, despite the fact that the Mega Drive sound chip was infamously awful and very much inferior to that of the SNES.

The gameplay was nothing revolutionary; Streets of Rage is in many ways simply a Final Fight clone, although the game did introduce enough new elements into the usual beat 'em up formula to make it stand out. At the time however, it was easily the best side-scrolling beat 'em up on the system and was only surpassed by it's own sequels.  In my opinion, Streets of Rage more than made up for the absence of a Mega Drive version of Final Fight, and it performed well enough for Sega to start development on a sequel for release the following year...

Original Release Dates:

USA - 12/31/90
EUR - 1991
JAP - 08/02/91


CERO: All Ages (A) (Sonic Gems Collection)
Ages 12 and up (B) (Virtual Console)
PEGI: 7+ (Virtual Console)
Apple: 12+

Nintendo 3DS: 12+

Production Credits


Mega Drive Version

Game Designed by: There Is "No" Accounting for Tastes., Tinon
Programmed by: Momonga Momo, Little Sun
Designed by: Seishi Atsumiya, Nandemo, Rascal Fuku-Chan, Udi
Music by: Yuzo Koshiro
Sound Assisted: T.N
Special Thanks to: Bo, Ore, Kottu, Thunder, Yamaichi, Scott
Presented by: Sega 1991

Game Gear Version

Game Designed by: Abadede
Programmed by: Nag, AT1000, IK
Designed by: Abadede, Honey
Music by: Yuzo Koshiro, Mikito Ichikawa
Special Thanks to: Mul, Kei
Presented by: Sega 1992









This is ironic, since Streets of Rage itself started out as Sega's answer to the original Final Fight. Guess Capcom thought Sega was doing a better job, eh SOR fans? :) Thanks to BadChad, Allan.Cylakes and Sonicx20 for pointing this out.











Credit to: Eidolon, Black Squirrel, Aoshi102, JoyJoyfulRabbit


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