Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage Review (XBLA)

Posted by Jim Cook, Jun 01, 2012 20:37

The 80s and early to mid 90s were a special time in co-op gaming. Games like Final Fight, Double Dragon, and many more offered us a simple but effective formula for having fun with our friends. Easy to learn controls, good music, and about thirty minutes to an hour’s worth of enemies to beat up made a common ritual back then, and many publishers offered their own take on this idea. Now Sega has compiled three of their better brawlers in the Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage pack, offering Streets of Rage 1, 2, and 3 with a variety of options to tune them for your needs.

Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage (Xbox 360)

Like most games of this type, Streets of Rage lets you move up, down, left, and right through a series of scrolling stages and beat up a horde of enemies. Combos are fairly simple and amount to lining up your foe and mashing the attack button a few times, though grappling techniques and random weapons (baseball bats, steel pipes, etc.) add some variety. This process of beating up generic gang members repeats for several minutes, then you meet a stage boss that is notably tougher. This aspect of Streets of Rage is virtually identical to its peers, and serves as a decent core to build upon.

What makes these classics stand out is their attention to detail. It’s not enough to just let you and a friend plow through several stages together, you have a fair amount of choice in how you do it. While not quite as flexible as River City Ransom was, Streets of Rage still rewards creativity. The first part of this is offering multiple characters to choose from, each with their own strengths and weaknesses; one might be strong but slow, another weak but fast, and others might be shades of compromise between these. Some clever practice with your friend can allow you to make improvised ’team-up attacks’ through the grappling system, and at least one game in the set offers unlockable characters (including a boxing kangaroo!).

Punching your way through gangs does admittedly get a bit repetitive even with those creative twists, so excellent music is used to keep you in the right mood. Yuzo Koshiro provided top-notch tunes with a fast beat and some ’electronic music’ aspects, perfect for keeping you pumped and eager to keep playing. This may have been composed in the early 90s, but it holds up fine today and one of the best things this compilation did is offer a jukebox mode for listening to the soundtrack.

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Our Rating for Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage Review (XBLA)
6.5 Replay
While about as linear as one expects of arcade-style brawlers, there are just enough secrets that you might come back for repeat runs every so often. The most noteworthy are some unusually well hidden characters.
6.0 Graphics
It is perhaps unfair to evaluate early 90s games on their graphics; they’re going to look dated no matter what. A suite of modern visual options will help out a little to either smooth the display or add a few nostalgic touches such as scanlines, though.
8.5 Sound
Very basic and repetitive sound effects clash with some of the best ’chiptune’ music of the 16-bit era. If you can live with the former, then the latter offers tracks that are catchy and mood-setting even today.
8.0 Gameplay
Each game in the pack is short, but this works in its favor; they’re very easy to learn and have simple mechanics that would get repetitive if played for too long. As it is, they make fantastic, easily agreed upon ’time killer’ games with a buddy.
8.5 Multiplayer/Online Content
Actually the point of these games, since playing alone against wave after wave of generic gang members is boring. Teamwork, bickering with friends when you accidentally hit one another, and the sense of mutual accomplishment when you take down the final boss defined this era of co-op and it’s quite intact here. The online play isn’t perfect, but it’s good enough to be worth using.
8.5 Overall
Brawlers like these are a niche interest today, but getting three of the best with acceptable online play and other contemporary features for just $10 is an easy choice for genre enthusiasts!

Rating: 5.0, votes: 1

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