3D Streets of Rage

Review: 3D Streets of Rage

When SEGA first revealed their list of 3D Classics coming to the Nintendo 3DS, my eyes instantly locked on to one game: Streets of Rage. Part of the reason was that the Wii Virtual Console version doesn’t work via component on either of my Samsung TVs, but there was also the fact that a significant proportion of my childhood gaming memories are linked to countless multiplayer sessions with my friends on their Mega Drive playing Streets of Rage.

3D Streets of Rage is a visually enhanced version of Sega’s 1991 classic available on the 3DS eShop for £4.49. The game looks and feels exactly how you REMEMBER it from all those years ago but is, in actuality, much crisper with some very welcome depth provided by cranking the 3D Slider all the way to the top.

The objective of 3D Streets of Rage is to take control of one of three young police officers (Adam, Axel or Blaze) each with their own strengths and weaknesses, in an attempt to rid their city of an evil crime syndicate who has taken it, and the government, under their control. You’ll do this by jumping, punching and kicking your way through a selection of side-scrolling stages until you finally square off with Mr. X, the boss of the organisation.

The controls generally work as well as they always have and are fully customisable. The only real complaint is with the inadequate D-Pad on the original 3DS, which makes moving your chosen hero around more cumbersome than it should be, leaving the Circle Pad as the more advisable option for navigating the game’s eight stages. That’s more of a hardware complaint rather than the actual software, but it was the first thing I noticed when I took control of Axel for the first time.

Punching your way through a multitude of enemies feels as satisfying as ever, with several moves at your disposal, including attacking enemies directly behind your character, picking up weapons and calling on a police car to help take care of some of your foes, even if it seems highly suspicious that their assistance only damages any enemies on screen and not your chosen warrior. You can also grab and throw your foes, or even your ally if playing with a friend in ‘Local Play’. 3D Streets of Rage requires both you and your friend to own a copy of the game in order to enjoy multiplayer as ‘Download Play’ is not available.

The game’s eight stages span a nice variety of locations, from the city streets to beaches (with laughably ‘impressive’ showers of rain) and a factory. Each new level is accompanied by outstanding music from Yuzo Koshiro that will get your adrenaline pumping. You may even find that you’ll play through the game repeatedly just to experience the soundtrack and atmosphere again. The game is designed to be played through in its entirety in one sitting so it is likely that you will come back to it more than once. With that in mind, it is nice to know that there are a couple of different endings available, particularly when it should take you less than an hour to reach the game’s climax.

3D Streets of Rage
Rain that looks as amazing today as it did in 1991.

The gameplay and music may be lifted straight from the original version of Streets of Rage but there are a few additions to the overall package that weren’t previously available. You can play either the international version of the game or the Japanese version, known as Bare Knuckle, with stage select available in the game options straight from the off.

There is also the option to play through the game in ‘Fists of Death Mode’ where EVERY enemy can be taken down with a single punch, even the bosses that punctuate each stage. This mode can be particularly satisfying for navigating through some of Streets of Rage’s more frustrating battles (and if you’ve played the game before, you’ll be fully aware of the somewhat infuriating stage 5 finale). It’s probably not a mode you’ll use regularly as it turns the game into a procession from start to finish, but it’s worth feeling extremely overpowered for a few rounds at least!

sor2'Fists of Death Mode' merits its existence for this moment alone..

Overall, 3D Streets of Rage is an excellent title worth downloading for fans of the genre, or the original game, or for those curious to try out a game that seemingly everyone had experienced back in the nineties. From a personal perspective, it’s difficult not to let my childhood memories affect my judgement of this release but I can’t hide my love for the game and can appreciate the qualities it still maintains to this day. I can only hope 3D Streets of Rage 2 is on its way in the near future!

N-Europe Final Verdict

A faithful update of the classic Mega Drive title that fans of the series will love.

  • Gameplay4
  • Playability4
  • Visuals4
  • Audio5
  • Lifespan3
Final Score



Satisfying gameplay
Awesome soundtrack
Nicely improved visuals


Relatively short
No download play

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