Streets of Rage[a] is a series of side-scrolling beat ’em up video games, centering on the efforts of several heroes trying to rid a city from the rule of a crime syndicate. The original trilogy of games were developed and published by Sega for the Sega Genesis in the 1990s, and have since been ported and re-released on various platforms. A fourth entry in the series is being developed by DotEmu, Lizardcube, and Guard Crush Games.
The games were well-received and have been re-released many times both on compilations and as standalone titles. The electronic dance music soundtracks of the games, scored by Yuzo Koshiro and Motohiro Kawashima, have also received much acclaim.
The three games in the series were released between 1991 and 1994. The first entry, Streets of Rage, introduces the main characters: three young former police officers (Axel, Blaze, and Adam), and Mr. X, an evil mastermind. It is the only game in the series to feature a special attack that defeats all non-boss enemies on-screen. Streets of Rage was supported by Sega’s Mega Drive (known as Genesis in North America), Master System and Game Gear consoles.
The next entry in the series, Streets of Rage II, had new music (influenced by early ’90s club music) from series composer Yuzo Koshiro and newcomer composer Motohiro Kawashima, more defined graphics and a bigger selection of moves. It also introduced two new characters, Eddie “Skate” Hunter, and Max Thunder (or Sammy “Skate” Hunter and Max Hatchett in some regions). Like the original title, Streets of Rage II was playable on Sega’s Genesis, Master System and Game Gear.
The final entry to the Streets of Rage series, Streets of Rage 3 was less well-received than its predecessors. Despite some enhancements, it has been seen as very similar to Streets of Rage II. This entry to the series added a more complex storyline, told using cutscenes. The Western version released featured increased difficulty, with other elements altered or censored from the Japanese release. The music, again composed by Koshiro and Kawashima, was also criticized for being radically different to the music from the first two games. Unlike the two foregoing titles, Streets of Rage 3 was available only on the Genesis.
All three titles have been re-released on numerous platforms and compilations, including Sonic Gems Collection and Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection, and on the Wii’s Virtual Console, Xbox Live Arcade.