This just might be a first for SEGA in the Media, a SEGA inspired video game within another video game! Released last year, Saints Row IV was a tongue-in-cheek action-adventure game from Illinois based developer Volition. Given the self-referential nature of the series, it only makes sense that they’d eventually reference crazy action games of the past, and what game is more fitting to pay tribute to than SEGA’s Streets of Rage? Dubbed “Saints of Rage”, this 2D beat ’em up appears at around 75-80% of the way into Saints Row IV. In-game, “Saints of Rage” is an enemy created nightmare simulation. Kicking off with a “Winners Don’t Use Drugs” message, the player is taken to a title screen which is a direct reference to the original Streets of Rage title screen.
The mini-game’s plot is inspired by Double Dragon, as the game opens with a short cutscene featuring the female character Aisha being kidnapped by Vice Kings lieutenant Warren Williams, complete with a punch to the gut. The player and Johnny Gat pursue Williams, as they walk to the right, frequently stopping to battle enemies and prompted to continue onwards with a Streets of Rage style flashing “GO!”. Other Streets of Rage inspired gameplay elements include the ability to pick up and use dropped weapons, battling your way though an office building complete with working elevators, and oversized stage ending bosses. Kudos to Volition for such a fun homage to SEGA’s classic franchise. You can view the full stage below, or better yet pick up Saints Row IV and play it yourself!