Friday, March 26, 2021

Streets of Rage 3 (Sega Genesis, 1994)

 
If this game came out in the 2000's, it probably would have been called Streets of Rag3. Or Streets of Rage 3D. Get outta here, Streets of Rage 3D!


I'm skeptical about this "new friend". Dr. Zan, eh? I feel like he's gonna end up being Mr. X in disguise, as Mega Man 6 comes full-circle.

There's the GIANT PLOT CRAWL. Looks like that wacky Mr. X is at it again. This game gets even more similar to Mega Man 6 (completely inadvertently, I think) by having Mr. X creating robots now to terrorize the city.

Our heroes return. Does Blaze still do Lambada, or has she switched gears to take up Bellydancing? And if so, Lord help us all.

Here's Zan, who is apparently a cyborg of some sort. He's got the best reach of any character and the 2nd-best power, which probably makes him the best character overall.

The character select theme is bangin', less in the usual club banger way and more like...a Terminator game or something.

We start with our heroes finding a bomb, Jack Bauer style. Mr. X has been planting them all over the city. WTF is this guy's problem, anyway?

Blaze dishes out my favorite SOR attack, the German Suplex. BY GAWD THE MAN'S BEEN BROKEN IN HALF.

This game has a sprint function. I think it's the only SOR game with a sprint.

There are only 6 stages, but all of them are long. The first one has none other than Shiva harassing you on a speedboat.

Whip-wielding dominatrixes attack Blaze next. All brawlers from this era seemed to have whip-wielding dominatrixes for some reason.

At the end of the level, Shiva leaps over a fence to attack! The animations are really good in this game, but so far the music has been a marked step down from the other two.

The penultimate boss of the previous game is now relegated to being a mere stage 1 boss, but he's still a formidable foe. If you enter a code right after defeating him, he becomes playable after this. Have to game over before you can switch to him, though.

Another character is unlockable soon after that. You battle this whip-clown and his kangaroo minion, and if you defeat the clown without defeating the kangaroo, you get Roo as a playable character. Again, can't switch to him until a game over though.

Fun Fact: In the Japanese version there's a THIRD unlockable character, a gay stereotype called Ash. They removed him from the American version on account of being a gay stereotype, however, among a number of other things that the American version lost.

At The Club, I test to see if my character-unlocks worked.

And yep, here's Roo. He can't use weapons and he's somewhat impractical to play as, but I gotta say I like the fact that the game has a boxing kangaroo in it.

Blaze goes to order A LITTLE BIT OF THE BUBBLY and gets Claymore Kicked by purple spandex-ninjas.

Oh man, I hated this part. You've gotta deal with a Doom's Wall mechanic as a bulldozer chases you and a bunch of walls (with way too much HP) block the way. Unless you go all-out from the start, it's possible to get overwhelmed by the relentless bulldozer and lose a bunch of lives to this section.

I break out Shiva for the requisite construction site level. This guy is BADASS. He can't use weapons, and he isn't canon (in story he hates the good guys). Still a nice bonus.

Battling an Axel clone...as Shiva. IT'S A WORLD TURNED UPSIDE-DOWN.

Of course, the Axel clone is just one of Mr. X's cyborgs. It's amazing how much influence the two Terminator movies had during this timeframe.

Later, Shiva battles a trio of samurai. The impressive graphics and the additional character(s) add a lot to this game, but I have to say it's my least-favorite of the series. The music just doesn't bang like the others, it's a lot more difficult, and the later stages are overcomplicated if you're trying to get a good ending.

At the Syndicate's hideout, Shiva brawls with his former associates. I know this isn't canon to the story, but it kinda can be if you want it to. Shiva is never seen again after the Stage 1 fight, so the player could easily just add his joining the party to their personal canon. He realized he was on the wrong side, etc.

Here's Mr. X....yep, already. It's a short game.

In previous games he was just a businessman with a machine gun. Now, he's a musclebound cyborg!

He isn't too difficult to defeat, and once you do...the game ends. Turns out this is just a copy of the real Mr. X, plus he's got the President held somewhere (in the American version it's "the Chief" instead of the President, for some reason).

I have to be careful so this post doesn't get flagged by Homeland.

The game then starts over from the beginning, even though that was the 3rd-to-last level. So how do you get the real ending / real final levels? Cause that wasn't it.

Turns out, playing on Easy causes the game to end at the 3rd-to-last stage. Gotta play on Normal... which is considerably harder than Normal was in the other games, and is equivalent to the Japanese version's Hard. Since this game wasn't lighting my fire enough to play it a second time, I punched in a level-skip code to get to the final stages without doing it all again on Normal. Funny thing is, with the level skip code you can play the final levels on Easy, which is impossible in regular play.

The 2nd-to-last stage has lots of robots. And more importantly...an ever-present timer that gives you like NO leeway. You need to know exactly which doors to go through and what to do in this level, and even then you'll barely make it in time. There's no way I could have done this without a level-skip. Would have taken 3-4+ full playthroughs of the game just to get enough attempts in to learn the route for this stage.

Reach the end in time and The President is saved. See the timers on the walls? I got here with, no joke, 01 on the timer. Each number was about 3 seconds in real time. That's how close I cut it, even knowing exactly where to go after a few tries. I don't know, I like these games when they're straightforward beat 'em ups.

"Oh man, takes me back to my younger days in Scranton. I'd have taken these guys behind the bleachers myself, given 'em a good knuckle sandwich."

Blaze loads the President onto the helicopter while he rambles on about what great shape she's in. Looks like we've got one more level to do.

Note: You can actually finish the previous level without saving him, but it won't get you the good ending or the true final boss.

After a park jaunt, we arrive at the secret base of Mr X.

But first, here's his accomplice, Dr. Dahm. This guy is like Dr. Cossack in Mega Man 4, just a goon being used by the real villain even though he doesn't want to be.

After defeating his claw-arm, you reach the real villain of the game:

Maki Itoh: "SURPRISE MUDDAFUCKAAAAAS!"

Just kidding, it's Mr. X. And he's...a brain in a glass case now. I guess we really did defeat him in SOR2. This kind of thing is creepy and gives me the impression that the story, like the existence of the character itself, has gone on for way longer than nature intended. Felt the same way about Bio Broly.

I thought the penultimate stage was bad. This is even worse. You've got 3 minutes to beat the final boss, Mr. X's toughest robot.

This fight suuuuuuux. He spends most of it dancing around the screen away from you, wasting time.

I finally take him down...with 3 seconds left. Like the penultimate stage, they really give you nothing to work with here. It's too bad because the first 75% of the game was lots of fun.

Welp, another game in the can for Brawler Week. Wonder if Blaze was some of the inspiration behind Tifa in Final Fantasy VII?

We get the Xenogears Disc 2 treatment and find out about how the good guys ran around doing everything else that needed to be done. Dr. Dahm turned good, Mr. X's brain was destroyed in the factory collapse, all of the bombs were recovered.

We get the sexiest credits ever, and that's it for this game.

The characters from the previous games like Adam and Max show up for the final shot, which is very clearly Lower Manhattan.

It'd be TWENTY-SIX YEARS before this series got revived on the Nintendo Switch. And that's what I'm looking at next: Streets of Rage 4.




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