Streets of Rage 3 (known simply as Bare Knuckle III in Japan) arrived in early 1994 to a somewhat lukewarm reception from the gaming press. After the major improvements of Streets of Rage 2, what would the new sequel add to the Genesis/Megadrive's premier side-scrolling beat 'em up series? Unfortunately the answer seemed to be "very little". The game was immediately attacked for not deviating from the established formula, and as a result the game sold a lot less than Streets of Rage 2.
However, Streets of Rage 3 is still a fine, if quite unoriginal game. The graphics were superior to it's prequel. The sprites in particular were now huge and very well animated. A new character, Dr. Zan was added to the player roster at the expense of Max. The game also featured a secret character, Roo the fighting kangaroo (!) and two playable boss characters.
The game mechanics were tweaked, making the game much faster (especially with the introduction of a dash move) and harder (enemies were now more numerous, intelligent and stronger). Also, the special move system from Streets of Rage 2 was altered through the addition of a special bar, which when fully charged meant a special attack cost no health and secret attacks available after you had each a certain score.
Streets of Rage 3 also brought back a lot of features from the original that were absent in Streets of Rage 2. Interactive scenery made a return, with holes in floors to dispose of enemies with and workable elevators. Inter-level cut scenes were added, along with different routes through the game and (best of all) alternate endings.
However, Streets of Rage 3 had numerous problems. Bizarrely, the costumes in the Western version were changed, so Axel was in black & yellow, Blaze in silver and so on. The music was generally considered to be at best average, at worst awful and was a real let down after Streets of Rage 2. The sound effects sounded weak, and an annoying bug was present that lost sound effects surfaced when the action on screen got too much.
Streets of Rage 3 was essentially a reworking of Streets of Rage 2. Despite a 24-meg cartridge the programmers failed to come up with anything particularly original. However, whether the game deserves its bad reputation is debatable.
Streets of Rage 3 was intended to the be the last 16-bit outing for the Streets of Rage series, with plans being made for a fourth game to be released on Sega's upcoming 32-bit machine, the Saturn.
Original Release Dates:
Assistant Producer: Dante Anderson
Retro Gamer Magazine "TAKING BACK THE STREETS: The History of Streets of Rage", March 2011comments powered by Disqus