Saturday, 26 November 2011


I've been playing a lot of Streets of Rage 3 lately, since I bought it three years ago and still haven't gotten around to finishing it (or even getting more than halfway through).  My initial opinion was that it was a big disappointment, but I decided to give it another chance whilst sober, rather than just playing it at 1am after everyone else has passed out, as I've been doing up until now.
(Note how the black kid has been left off the cover art
in favour of a marsupial.  That's some racist BS right there.)
 Turns out I was right the first time.  I can't believe how successful Sega were in making literally every aspect of the game worse than its predecessor.  The previously wonderful music (one level's music was so good that I used to pause the game at that point and sit and read with it in the background) is now a nightmarish jumble of nonsense - apparently a random note generator was employed, and my God you can tell.  The sprites have been enlarged for no real reason, meaning the limited frames used in animation are more obvious and, more critically, you can have fewer opponents on screen at any given time.
That ties into another problem.  The real fun in Streets of Rage 2 lay in cranking up the difficulty so that the screen became flooded with a host of villainous scumbags all practically begging to be punched in the face.  This game has drastically downgraded the damage each of your moves does, meaning the game is both harder (though some of that might just be my difficulty in shaking the tactics I settled on in the first game), and features significantly fewer enemies.  Moreover, there's fewer kinds of foes, which is completely unforgivable.  Even the naming conventions are less interesting: the prancing shuriken-throwing ninjas from the last installment are back, but back then they all had their own names.  Not anymore.  There also seems to be less variety even of moves, the Thai kickboxers (all with their own names, natch) have been replaced with flame-haired fashion victims with a fraction of the repertoire.

The only slight improvements are the ability to run and roll, which speeds the game up, and the inclusion of more interactive backdrops.  Even this causes more problems than it seems, though, the controls (at least in the Wii version) are too sensitive, meaning that all those lovely new pits and cargo-carriers are too difficult to avoid - one moment you're happily kicking some fat fucker in the gonads, the next you've dropped into a forward roll and tumbled yourself into the path of an oncoming vehicle.  Plus, once you get past the increased interaction, the backgrounds themselves are massively boring.  Gone are the days of stabbing muggers on a pirate ship, I can tell you.

Still, it's not a complete write-off.  You do at least have the option to play as a violence-crazed slap-happy kangaroo (a master of the... martsupial arts?)  On the other hand, you don't have the option to play as a character in a particularly good game.  Which is a shame.

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