This website was once a happy, peaceful place… until today, when an awesome SEGA franchise took over. This memorable series soon had control of our featured articles and even the Swingin’ Report Show. Welcome 16-bit brothers and sisters to Streets of Rage week at SEGAbits!
As we reach the halfway point of SEGA Genesis Month, we wanted to shine the spotlight on SEGA’s popular side-scrolling beat ’em up series of games. Streets of Rage (Bare Knuckle in Japan) was a franchise that spanned most of the lifespan of the the Genesis/Mega Drive, and like Sonic the Hedgehog, Phantasy Star, and Golden Axe, the series came to be one of the console’s defining franchises. To celebrate these titles, we have a slew of features planned this week including an interview with Darren Wall, creator of the official book “SEGA Mega Drive/Genesis: Collected Works”, exclusive never before seen design documents from the development of the original game, a special podcast looking back on the franchise, part three of My Life with SEGA’s Streets of Rage retrospective (watch part 1 and part 2), and more!
So put on your favorite fingerless gloves, tie on a headband, and hit the streets with us as we fight our way through Streets of Rage Week! After the break, a SEGA Retro rundown of all the games the franchise has to offer, including rereleases and cancelled titles!
Streets of Rage, known as Bare Knuckle: Ikari no Tetsuken (ベア・ナックル 怒りの鉄拳) in Japan, is a beat ’em up video game released by Sega for the Sega Mega Drive in 1991, before subsequently arriving on the Sega Game Gear and Sega Master System. It was the first in Sega’s then-flagship Streets of Rage series.
Streets of Rage 2, known as Bare Knuckle II: Shitou e no Requiem (ベア・ナックルII 死闘への鎮魂歌 lit. Bare Knuckle II: Requiem to the Deadly Struggle) in Japan, is a side-scrolling beat-’em-up game for the Sega Mega Drive, released in early 1993 as a sequel to Streets of Rage. It also received 8-bit ports for the Sega Master System and Sega Game Gear around the same period.
Streets of Rage 3, called Bare Knuckle III (ベアナックルIII) in Japan, is a side-scrolling beat ’em up released by Sega in 1994 for the Sega Mega Drive. It is third and final part of the Streets of Rage trilogy, and a direct sequel to Streets of Rage 2.
Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage, known as Bare Knuckle Collection in Japan, is a compilation for Xbox Live Arcade released as part of the Sega Vintage Collection series. It contains the Sega Mega Drive versions of Streets of Rage and Streets of Rage 2 and Streets of Rage 3.
Unlike most of the other entries in the series, the games were not released separately on the PlayStation 3 PlayStation Network service.
SEGA 3D Classics – 3D Streets of Rage is an enhanced version of Streets of Rage for the Nintendo 3DS developed by M2. Check out the SEGA Blog’s interview with M2 on how they translated the original game to 3D.
6-Pak is a compilation of Sega Mega Drive/Genesis games released in June 1995, during the console’s decline. The cartridge contains 6 of Sega’s most successful games from the early days of the Genesis; Sonic the Hedgehog, Golden Axe, Revenge of Shinobi, Streets of Rage, Columns and Super Hang-On. The in-game menu features digitized box art of the original games. It also came with a 67-page manual that contained the complete instructions for all six games. Interestingly, the artwork used on the box for Columns is not from the Mega Drive version, but instead the Master System edition of the game.
There is a similar compilation in Europe called Mega Games 6 but it is broken up into three volumes. Each containing some games which are unique to each collection.
Sega Classics Arcade Collection is a compilation of four (or five) Sega Mega Drive games for the Sega Mega-CD. It was a pack-in game bundled with launch Mega CDs in the United Kingdom and North America, and was released separately in other regions.
Two variants of Sega Classics Arcade Collection exist; an earlier version seen in North America and Japan, which contains Golden Axe, Streets of Rage, Columns and The Revenge of Shinobi, and a later version seen in Europe and later North American bundles, which throws in Super Monaco GP. In North America the older “4-in-1” variant came in the same box as Sherlock Holmes: Consulting Detective Vol. I, while the later “5-in-1” one came with Ecco the Dolphin.
Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection, known as Sonic’s Ultimate Genesis Collection in North America, is a compilation of numerous Sega Mega Drive games for the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3. It can be seen as a spiritual sequel to Sega Mega Drive Collection.
Each of the games can be upscaled to high-definition (720p), and the graphics can be de-pixelated through the use of an optional screen filter. Each game is given three savestates which allows players to save at any point in the game and restart from that point later. In addition there are options to adjust the volume levels of the game sound, music, and sound effects. Each standard game has a museum section which contains game info, trivia, and cartridge and game case images.
Streets of Rage 4 is an unreleased game developed as a sequel to Streets of Rage 3. There have been at least two attempts at creating Streets of Rage 4, the first eventually seeing release in the re-branded form of Fighting Force, however a more “pure” attempt at a sequel, developed in-house by Sega was due for release on the Sega Dreamcast at one stage.
Streets of Rage 4 appeared very early in the Dreamcast’s lifespan, being presented as a technical demo. It shows the protagonist from the first three games, Axel walking and fighting various enemies, both from a classic side-on perspective and a first person view. Much of the demo is unfinished, and it is assumed the project was scrapped shortly after being shown.
The demo was produced by Sega of Japan, but rumours state that disdain from Sega of America led to the project being axed. Sega of America had reportedly had a shift in managerial staff at the time, who are said to have been unaware of the series’ past success on the Sega Mega Drive, ultimately coming to the conclusion the game would be unprofitable.
Fighting Force, called Metal Fist (メタルフィスト) in Japan, is a 3D beat-’em-up game developed by Core Design. Once due for release exclusively on the Sega Saturn, various issues saw the game released for every major video game system on the market except the Saturn.
Core Design had originally intended Fighting Force to be titled Streets of Rage 4, being pitched to Sega as a sequel to Streets of Rage 3. However, during development there was a change of plan, and the group decided it would be more worthwhile to create a multi-platform game. Predictably, this caused Sega to demand the Steets of Rage trademark be removed, and so the game was renamed Fighting Force.
Development resumed for Fighting Force, with Sony PlayStation and Microsoft Windows ports (along with the Saturn version), being estimated for release around Q4 1997. The PlayStation and Windows versions hit their target, however despite being reportedly completed, no Saturn version was released. It is said this occurred due to publishing disagreements – Core originally approached Eidos Interactive for publishing, but later contacted and secured a deal with Sega of Europe for the Saturn version, who claimed the game would be released in November 1997. For whatever reason, this did not happen, though Eidos were able to publish the other ports (including an enhanced Nintendo 64 edition, released in 1999).
The December 1997 issue of Sega Video Magazine also shows the Fighting Force/Metal Fist version of the game, indicating an also-cancelled Japanese release by Electronic Arts Victor with a December 4 release date and a price tag of ¥5,800.
An early prototype of the Sega Saturn version was leaked in November 2008 by drx.
Fighting Force 2, a sequel to this game, saw a release on the Sega Dreamcast, though is a radical departure from the gameplay seen here. It was panned by most critics.