Seventeen years had passed since the release of Streets of Rage 3, and there was still no sign of an official sequel by Sega. The fans have been crying out for something new for so long, and the final release of Streets of Rage Remake in 2011 couldn't have come at a better time. Seriously, this game is great - even though it is technically unofficial, the quality is so high that I would be happy to accept this as the next canonical instalment in the official SOR franchise. Everything - from the graphics, sound, and all the little new tweaks, bells and whistles, is a step forward from the original Mega Drive games, making this even better than those and my new favourite of the entire series.
Since it is a remake, the graphics remain loyal to those seen in SOR2 and SOR3 - which is no bad thing since the graphics were great on those games. There are of course new graphics as well - of particular note are the new characters such as Rudra - and it's clear the dev team has put an incredible amount of work into this to make it the definitive SOR experience. The sound effects are also very similar to the originals. But the music is incredible - all the original Yuzo Koshiro classics revamped and remixed with a modern twist. If the music on this game doesn't get your foot tapping away while you play, nothing will.
As for the gameplay, it does a good job at keeping that classic feel, making it seem like a true SOR experience - then takes that and makes it better. Even little touches like the explosions, which rumble the screen, and fire effects - all give a magical feeling which made me smile like a kid who just got his hands on the SOR4 cart for his Mega Drive. But the fact you get to play through as Adam Hunter for the first time since SOR1, and a playable Shiva and Mr. X (something I've wanted to see for many years), gives this game a big, big plus sign in my book. Multiple routes and unlockable content add to the longevity and replayability factors, making you want to play through the game again and again. In fact I still haven't unlocked everything yet.
This review wouldn't be complete without a mention of the SORMaker tool. Effectively a SOR game editor, it allows you to create whole new SOR games with new levels, music, and everything else - putting the replayability score into the stratosphere. The possibilities for new SOR experiences are absolutely endless, and I've been blown away by the quality of some of the Mod Expansions I've seen.
Overall, Streets of Rage Remake is a great fangame that could have even done well as a commercial release. Instead, Sega shut it down - obviously they saw how good it was and thought it would be a genuine threat to their own business. A sad fate for such an incredible fan effort. A well deserved ten out of ten for Bombergames.
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