Tue. Jul 16th, 2024

Streets of Rage 3, the third installment in the beloved beat ’em up series, was released in 1994 to mixed reviews. Some hailed it as a masterpiece, while others criticized it for its lack of innovation and buggy gameplay. 25 years later, we’re taking a closer look at Streets of Rage 3 to answer the question: is it really a bad game? Join us as we revisit the classic and offer a critical analysis of its strengths and weaknesses.

The Legacy of Streets of Rage

The original Streets of Rage trilogy

The Making of Streets of Rage

  • The Birth of a Classic: Streets of Rage, released in 1991, was developed by Sega’s in-house team, AM7, and was directed by the legendary Yuji Naka. The game was designed as a response to the popularity of beat ’em up games such as Double Dragon and Final Fight.
  • The Collaboration: The game’s music was composed by Yuji Okamoto, also known as Yuji Naka’s “right-hand man,” who created a soundtrack that perfectly captured the game’s intensity and energy.
  • A New Direction for Sega: Streets of Rage was one of the first games developed by Sega that was not based on an existing IP, showing the company’s commitment to creating new and original content.

The Impact of Streets of Rage

  • A Beat ‘Em Up Revolution: Streets of Rage revolutionized the beat ’em up genre by introducing cooperative multiplayer, which was not common in the genre at the time. This feature helped to make the game more accessible and appealing to a wider audience.
  • A Iconic Character: The game’s protagonist, Axel Stone, became an iconic character in the gaming world, with his distinctive look and fighting style. Axel’s popularity transcended the game and became a part of popular culture.
  • A Legacy Lives On: The success of Streets of Rage spawned two sequels, Streets of Rage 2 and Streets of Rage 3, both of which were equally successful and helped to establish Sega as a major player in the gaming industry.

The Evolution of the Series

  • Streets of Rage 2: The second installment in the series, released in 1992, built on the success of the first game by introducing new features such as better graphics, smoother animations, and an improved soundtrack. The game also added two new playable characters, Max and Skate, which added variety to the gameplay.
  • Streets of Rage 3: The third and final installment in the series, released in 1994, featured improved graphics and a more mature storyline. The game also introduced new weapons and moves, which added depth to the gameplay. Despite the positive reception, the game was the last in the series, leaving fans with a sense of unfulfilled potential.

The impact of Streets of Rage 3

The critical reception of Streets of Rage 3

Upon its release, Streets of Rage 3 received mixed reviews from critics. While some praised the game for its improved graphics and sound, others criticized it for its repetitive gameplay and lack of innovation. Many felt that the game did not live up to the high standards set by its predecessors.

The commercial performance of Streets of Rage 3

Despite the mixed reviews, Streets of Rage 3 was a commercial success. The game sold well and was popular among fans of the series. However, it did not have the same impact as the first two games and was not as widely played or discussed in the gaming community.

The influence of Streets of Rage 3 on the gaming industry

Streets of Rage 3 had a significant impact on the gaming industry. It was one of the first games to use the AM7900 hardware, which allowed for more advanced graphics and sound than previous games. The game’s use of digital music also set a new standard for video game soundtracks. The game’s influence can be seen in many later beat ’em up games, including the Streets of Rage series itself.

The Development of Streets of Rage 3

Key takeaway:
Streets of Rage 3 was the final installment in the original trilogy and marked a significant departure from its predecessors. The game’s transition to 3D graphics, new moves and mechanics, improved combat system, and engaging narrative all contributed to its success and enduring popularity. While the game was not without its challenges, such as the mixed reception it received from critics and fans alike, it remains a classic of the beat ’em up genre and a testament to the legacy of the Streets of Rage series as a whole.

The transition to 3D graphics

Introduction

Streets of Rage 3 was released in 1994 for the Sega Genesis console, marking the end of the trilogy. The game was developed by Sega’s in-house team, Sega Technical Institute, and was published by Sega. One of the most significant changes in this game was the transition from 2D to 3D graphics. This transition had a profound impact on the game’s design, gameplay, and overall reception.

2D to 3D Graphics

The transition from 2D to 3D graphics was a significant step for the gaming industry. With the release of 3D games like Super Mario 64 and Donkey Kong Country, the gaming world was rapidly evolving. The move to 3D allowed for a more immersive gaming experience, as players could now explore a three-dimensional world.

Challenges

However, the transition to 3D graphics was not without its challenges. The development team had to rethink the game’s design, as the switch from 2D to 3D required a complete overhaul of the game’s mechanics. The game’s characters and environments had to be redesigned to fit the new 3D landscape. Additionally, the team had to grapple with the limited processing power of the Sega Genesis console, which made rendering 3D graphics a difficult task.

Impact on Gameplay

The transition to 3D graphics had a significant impact on the gameplay of Streets of Rage 3. The game’s environments were now fully three-dimensional, allowing players to move in any direction. This added a new level of freedom to the game, as players could now explore the game’s world from all angles. The game’s characters were also redesigned to fit the new 3D landscape, with more detailed models and animations.

However, the transition to 3D graphics was not without its challenges. The game’s mechanics had to be completely rethought to fit the new 3D landscape. This resulted in a steeper learning curve for players, as they had to adapt to the new controls and mechanics. Additionally, the limited processing power of the Sega Genesis console meant that the game’s frame rate was often slow and choppy, which detracted from the overall gaming experience.

Impact on Reception

The transition to 3D graphics had a significant impact on the reception of Streets of Rage 3. While the game was praised for its new 3D graphics and immersive gameplay, it was also criticized for its slow frame rate and steep learning curve. The game received mixed reviews from critics and players alike, with some praising the game’s new 3D graphics and others lamenting the loss of the classic 2D gameplay.

Despite the mixed reception, Streets of Rage 3 remains a significant milestone in the history of video games. The game’s transition to 3D graphics marked a turning point in the gaming industry, as developers began to explore the possibilities of 3D gameplay and immersive worlds.

The change in developers

One of the most significant changes in the development of Streets of Rage 3 was the shift in developers. While the first two games were developed by AM7, a team within Sega, Streets of Rage 3 was developed by Sega’s in-house team, Sega Technical Institute (STI). This change in developers had a profound impact on the game’s development and ultimately its reception.

Loss of key personnel

One of the main reasons for the change in developers was the departure of key personnel from AM7. Yuji Naka, the lead developer of the first two Streets of Rage games, had moved on to work on other projects, including the development of Sonic the Hedgehog 2. This left a significant gap in the team’s leadership and expertise.

Different approach to development

In addition to the loss of key personnel, the change in developers also brought a different approach to the development of Streets of Rage 3. While AM7 had a reputation for producing high-quality beat ’em up games, STI was more focused on creating platformers and sports games. This shift in focus resulted in a game that was less focused on combat and more focused on exploration and puzzle-solving.

Influence of Sonic the Hedgehog

Another significant factor in the change in developers was the influence of Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic was developed by STI and was released in 1991, the same year as Streets of Rage 3. The success of Sonic had a significant impact on the direction of Streets of Rage 3, with the game incorporating many elements of Sonic’s gameplay, including the use of loops, ramps, and special stages.

In conclusion, the change in developers from AM7 to STI had a significant impact on the development of Streets of Rage 3. The loss of key personnel, the different approach to development, and the influence of Sonic the Hedgehog all contributed to a game that was markedly different from its predecessors.

The Gameplay of Streets of Rage 3

The new moves and mechanics

In Streets of Rage 3, the gameplay has been refined and improved upon the previous installments, introducing new moves and mechanics that enhance the overall experience.

One of the most notable additions is the inclusion of grappling hooks, which allow players to latch onto ledges and pull themselves up to higher areas. This new mechanic adds a layer of verticality to the gameplay, allowing players to explore new areas and access previously inaccessible locations.

Additionally, the game also introduces a new combat system, which includes more fluid and responsive controls, allowing players to perform more precise and devastating attacks. The new system also introduces the ability to dodge and counterattack, adding a new level of depth to the combat mechanics.

Another notable addition is the inclusion of vehicles, which players can use to navigate the game’s environments more quickly and efficiently. This adds a new dimension to the gameplay, allowing players to explore the game’s world in a different way.

Furthermore, the game also introduces a new character, the skateboarder, who brings a new playstyle to the game. Players can perform tricks and grinds, using the skateboard as a weapon, adding a new level of versatility to the gameplay.

Overall, the new moves and mechanics in Streets of Rage 3 add a new level of depth and complexity to the gameplay, making it a more engaging and satisfying experience for players.

The improved combat system

One of the most notable changes in Streets of Rage 3 is the improved combat system. In the previous installments, the combat system was quite simplistic, with limited options for attacking and defending. However, in Streets of Rage 3, the developers have introduced new mechanics that add depth and complexity to the gameplay.

The introduction of special moves

One of the key additions to the combat system is the introduction of special moves. These special moves are performed by pressing the right button at the right time during combat, and they can deal significant damage to enemies. Special moves also have a cool-down period, which means that players must time their use carefully to avoid leaving themselves vulnerable to attacks.

The use of projectiles

Another notable addition to the combat system is the use of projectiles. In Streets of Rage 2, players could throw punches and kicks, but they could not use weapons or other objects as projectiles. In Streets of Rage 3, however, players can pick up and use a variety of weapons, including baseball bats, pipes, and chains. These weapons can be used to attack enemies from a distance, which adds a new dimension to the gameplay.

The introduction of environmental weapons

Streets of Rage 3 also introduces environmental weapons, which are weapons that can be found scattered throughout the game world. These weapons include objects like garbage cans, car batteries, and steel pipes, which can be picked up and used as weapons. The addition of environmental weapons adds a new layer of strategy to the gameplay, as players must search the game world for these weapons in order to gain an advantage over their enemies.

The importance of defensive tactics

Finally, Streets of Rage 3 places a greater emphasis on defensive tactics than its predecessors. In the previous installments, players could simply button-mash their way through combat, relying on their character’s strength and health to see them through. In Streets of Rage 3, however, players must use defensive tactics like blocking and dodging in order to avoid taking damage. This adds a new level of strategy to the gameplay, as players must carefully manage their health and stamina in order to survive tough battles.

Overall, the improved combat system in Streets of Rage 3 adds depth and complexity to the gameplay, making it a more engaging and satisfying experience for players. With the introduction of special moves, projectiles, environmental weapons, and defensive tactics, players have a wider range of options when it comes to defeating enemies and progressing through the game.

The Storyline of Streets of Rage 3

The continuation of the story

The continuation of the story in Streets of Rage 3 picks up where the previous installments left off. Players once again take on the role of police officer Axel Stone as he battles against the corrupt forces that have taken over the city.

The return of Mr. X

At the beginning of the game, Mr. X, the main antagonist of the series, makes a surprise return. He has reemerged from the shadows, more powerful and determined than ever before. Mr. X has his sights set on world domination, and he will stop at nothing to achieve his goals.

The alliance with Dr. Zan

To aid him in his quest, Mr. X has forged an alliance with the enigmatic Dr. Zan. Dr. Zan is a mad scientist who has developed a range of advanced technologies and biological weapons. Together, Mr. X and Dr. Zan are a formidable force, and they pose a significant threat to the city and its inhabitants.

The search for the legendary Starlight Club

As players progress through the game, they discover that Mr. X and Dr. Zan are searching for the legendary Starlight Club. This secretive nightclub is rumored to be the location of a powerful artifact that could give Mr. X the edge he needs to achieve world domination.

The quest to save the city

Axel Stone must embark on a quest to save the city from the clutches of Mr. X and Dr. Zan. He must infiltrate the criminal underworld, take down the gangs that are supporting Mr. X’s operation, and ultimately confront Mr. X and Dr. Zan in a final showdown.

Throughout the game, players will encounter a range of enemies, including gang members, mutants, and robots. They will also have access to a variety of weapons and vehicles, including pistols, shotguns, machine guns, and cars.

Overall, the continuation of the story in Streets of Rage 3 is a thrilling and action-packed experience that builds on the foundation of the previous games. With its engaging narrative, challenging gameplay, and memorable characters, Streets of Rage 3 remains a classic of the beat ’em up genre.

The new characters and plot twists

Streets of Rage 3, the final installment in the trilogy, introduced several new characters and plot twists that added depth and complexity to the storyline. One of the most notable additions was the character of Axel Stone’s estranged daughter, Jessica, who played a significant role in the game’s narrative.

Another significant new character was the enigmatic figure known as “The Professor,” who served as the game’s primary antagonist and was responsible for many of the plot twists and revelations that unfolded throughout the game. The Professor’s motives and ultimate goal were shrouded in mystery, adding to the game’s intrigue and suspense.

In addition to these new characters, Streets of Rage 3 also featured several surprising plot twists that kept players on their toes and added a sense of unpredictability to the game. One of the most notable twists involved the revelation that the game’s main villain, Mr. X, was not actually the mastermind behind the game’s events, but rather a pawn in a larger scheme orchestrated by The Professor.

Overall, the new characters and plot twists in Streets of Rage 3 helped to make the game’s storyline more engaging and memorable, and contributed to the game’s overall success and enduring popularity.

The Soundtrack of Streets of Rage 3

The evolution of the music

One of the most striking aspects of Streets of Rage 3 is its soundtrack. Unlike the previous two games in the series, Streets of Rage 3 features an entirely new set of composers, with Yuji Okudaira, Harumi Ueo, and Tomoya Ohtani taking over from the original composers, Yujiro Hanzawa, Naoki Tanioka, and Keiji Yamagishi. This change in composition resulted in a distinct shift in the overall sound and style of the music.

While the first two games in the series featured a predominantly electronic sound, Streets of Rage 3 takes a different approach. The new composers opted for a more orchestral and cinematic sound, with a greater emphasis on live instruments such as guitars, pianos, and cellos. This change in direction was likely influenced by the increasing popularity of film scores that utilized similar techniques.

The music in Streets of Rage 3 is also notable for its use of vocal tracks. Unlike the previous games, which featured only instrumental music, Streets of Rage 3 includes several tracks with lyrics. These vocals add a new dimension to the game’s sound and help to create a more immersive and emotional experience for players.

Another interesting aspect of the music in Streets of Rage 3 is the way it evolves and changes over the course of the game. Each stage features its own unique soundtrack, and these tracks often reflect the tone and atmosphere of the environments they accompany. For example, the music in the game’s later stages is often more intense and dramatic, reflecting the increased difficulty and danger of these areas.

Overall, the evolution of the music in Streets of Rage 3 represents a significant departure from the previous games in the series. While the change in composition and style may have been divisive among fans, there is no denying that the soundtrack to Streets of Rage 3 is a memorable and influential aspect of the game.

The inclusion of new tracks

Streets of Rage 3, like its predecessors, features an impressive soundtrack composed by Yuji Okano. However, one noticeable difference in the game’s music is the inclusion of new tracks that were not present in the previous installments. These new tracks add a fresh and distinctive flavor to the game, making it stand out from the series’ earlier entries.

In this analysis, we will examine the inclusion of new tracks in Streets of Rage 3 and how they contribute to the game’s overall musical experience.


Firstly, the new tracks in Streets of Rage 3 are notable for their diversity. They cover a range of musical styles, from the fast-paced and energetic “Airport” to the moody and atmospheric “Cemetery.” This variety adds depth to the game’s soundtrack and keeps the player engaged, as they never know what kind of music they will encounter next.

Additionally, the new tracks are often integrated seamlessly into the game’s various levels and environments. For example, the “Climax” track, which plays during the final boss battle, features intense guitar riffs and powerful percussion that perfectly capture the tension and excitement of the battle. Similarly, the “Desert” track, which plays in the game’s desert levels, features a Middle Eastern-inspired melody that evokes the sense of being in a foreign and exotic location.

Furthermore, the inclusion of new tracks in Streets of Rage 3 serves to underscore the game’s narrative and themes. For instance, the “Church” track, which plays during the game’s church levels, features a somber and reflective melody that mirrors the mood of the levels themselves. These tracks effectively immerse the player in the game’s world and create a sense of emotional resonance with the story being told.

In conclusion, the inclusion of new tracks in Streets of Rage 3 is a testament to the game’s commitment to delivering a rich and engaging musical experience. These tracks not only showcase the compositional skill of Yuji Okano but also contribute significantly to the game’s overall atmosphere and narrative. Whether playing through the game for the first time or revisiting it years later, the new tracks are sure to leave a lasting impression on players and remain a highlight of the game’s soundtrack.

The Reception of Streets of Rage 3

The critical reception

Streets of Rage 3, the final installment in the trilogy, received mixed reviews from critics upon its release in 1994. While the game was praised for its improved graphics and sound, as well as its additional features such as new weapons and vehicles, it was also criticized for its short length and lack of innovation.

One of the main criticisms of the game was its brevity. Many reviewers felt that the game was too short, with some completing it in as little as three hours. This was a departure from the previous two games in the series, which had longer playtimes.

Additionally, some critics felt that the game lacked innovation, with many of the features and gameplay mechanics feeling recycled from the previous two games. While the addition of new weapons and vehicles was welcomed, some felt that it was not enough to make the game feel truly fresh.

Despite these criticisms, however, Streets of Rage 3 was still praised for its improved graphics and sound. The game’s visuals were noted for their improved detail and animation, while the soundtrack was praised for its catchy and memorable tunes.

Overall, while Streets of Rage 3 did not receive the same level of acclaim as its predecessors, it was still a solid entry in the beat ’em up genre and remains a fan favorite to this day.

The fan reception

Streets of Rage 3 was released in 1994 to critical acclaim, but the reception from fans was mixed. Some fans felt that the game was too similar to the previous two installments, while others appreciated the new features and gameplay mechanics.

Positive aspects

Many fans appreciated the game’s improved graphics and soundtrack, which added to the overall experience of the game. The addition of new weapons and vehicles also added a new level of excitement to the gameplay.

Negative aspects

Some fans felt that the game was too short and lacked the depth and complexity of the previous installments. Additionally, the new gameplay mechanics, such as the vehicle sections, were seen as unnecessary and detracted from the core gameplay experience.

Overall, while the fan reception to Streets of Rage 3 was mixed, it is clear that the game had a significant impact on the gaming industry and remains a beloved classic to this day.

The Lasting Impact of Streets of Rage 3

The influence on future beat ’em up games

While Streets of Rage 3 was not as well-received as its predecessors, it had a significant impact on the beat ’em up genre. Many developers took inspiration from the game’s unique features and incorporated them into their own projects. Here are some of the ways in which Streets of Rage 3 influenced future beat ’em up games:

Introduction of Cooperative Multiplayer

One of the most notable innovations in Streets of Rage 3 was the introduction of cooperative multiplayer. This feature allowed two players to team up and take on the game’s challenges together. Many beat ’em up games that followed in its wake incorporated this feature, allowing players to enjoy the genre’s fast-paced action with a friend by their side.

Customizable Characters

Streets of Rage 3 also allowed players to customize their characters’ appearances by choosing from a variety of different clothes and accessories. This feature added a new layer of depth to the gameplay, allowing players to create unique characters that reflected their own personal styles. Many subsequent beat ’em up games included similar customization options, further expanding the genre’s appeal.

Improved Storytelling

While the storyline of Streets of Rage 3 was not particularly complex, it represented a significant step forward in terms of storytelling for the beat ’em up genre. The game’s cutscenes and character dialogue helped to flesh out the game’s world and create a more immersive experience for players. Many subsequent beat ’em up games incorporated similar storytelling elements, making the genre more engaging for players who were looking for a deeper narrative experience.

Overall, Streets of Rage 3’s influence on future beat ’em up games cannot be overstated. Its innovative features and unique gameplay mechanics paved the way for a new generation of games that built on its success and expanded the genre in exciting new directions.

The legacy of the Streets of Rage series

  • Enduring Popularity
    • Despite being released in 1994, the game remains popular among fans of the genre and continues to be played and discussed today.
    • This longevity can be attributed to several factors, including the game’s tight gameplay, engaging storyline, and memorable characters.
  • Influence on the Genre
    • Streets of Rage 3 has had a significant impact on the beat ’em up genre, influencing many games that came after it.
    • Its fast-paced combat, diverse environments, and intricate plotlines have been replicated in countless other games, making it a cornerstone of the genre.
  • Cult Classic Status
    • Despite not achieving commercial success upon its release, Streets of Rage 3 has since gained a cult following.
    • Fans of the game often cite its unique blend of action, storytelling, and character development as reasons for its enduring appeal.
  • Legacy of the Series
    • The Streets of Rage series as a whole has left a lasting impact on the gaming industry.
    • The series’ innovative use of combat, engaging storylines, and memorable characters have inspired countless other games, making it a benchmark for the beat ’em up genre.

FAQs

1. What is Streets of Rage 3?

Streets of Rage 3 is a side-scrolling beat ’em up video game that was released in 1994 for the Sega Genesis. It is the third installment in the Streets of Rage series, following Streets of Rage and Streets of Rage 2.

2. Is Streets of Rage 3 a bad game?

It depends on who you ask. Some people believe that Streets of Rage 3 is a bad game due to its outdated graphics and gameplay, while others enjoy it for its nostalgic value and as a throwback to classic beat ’em up games.

3. What are some of the criticisms of Streets of Rage 3?

Critics have often cited the game’s outdated graphics and gameplay as major flaws. The game’s music has also been criticized for being too repetitive and not as catchy as the music in the previous two games. Additionally, some have noted that the game’s story is not as engaging as the stories in the first two games.

4. What are some of the positive aspects of Streets of Rage 3?

Despite its flaws, Streets of Rage 3 has received praise for its solid gameplay mechanics and its inclusion of new features, such as the ability to play as different characters with unique abilities. The game also has a dedicated fan base that enjoys playing it for its nostalgic value and as a classic beat ’em up game.

5. Should I play Streets of Rage 3?

If you are a fan of classic beat ’em up games and don’t mind the outdated graphics and gameplay, then Streets of Rage 3 could be a fun game for you to play. However, if you are looking for a more modern game with updated graphics and gameplay mechanics, you may want to consider playing something else.

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