A trio of old games made new thanks to Xbox Live Arcade, the Sega series: Streets of Rage is back, now on a modern gaming console! The Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage includes the three games in the series, with the ability to switch between the three games at the main menu. A new addition in this vintage collection is the addition of multiplayer, which allows you to fight through different stages with other people online. However, if you have a second controller and a friend, they can hit Start and jump into the fray at any point, making for a fun cooperative experience if you’d rather play with someone rather than play alone.
Streets of Rage is a two-dimensional fighting game where you take on groups of enemies in order to proceed to the next area. Each stage is split up into rounds, and at the end of every round is a boss. I immediately jumped into the story mode for the original Streets of Rage. You get to choose from three different characters. After that you jump into the first stage and start taking on enemies. Even in the first stage I had trouble fighting my way through the waves of enemies. As someone who was never particularly good at fighting games, playing through the trilogy was no easy feat. Enemies enter the stage via either side of the screen and sometimes from other locations, including crates, boats, or even park benches. After clearing an area you’re either prompted to walk to the right of the screen to continue, or the screen will fade to black and load the next area.
The game features a ton of different enemies types, each with different attacks. When facing huge groups of enemies you have to be careful, and constantly change the way you fight if you stand any chance of survival. While some enemies use their fists, others have melee weapons which can be picked up once they’ve been dealt with. Such weapons include knives, katanas, and pipes. These weapons, as with anything that can be picked up or consumed, is activated when the player character is standing over the item and the A button is pressed. Not every weapon that an enemy uses will be dropped when they’re killed, an example of this is the whip used by the Electra enemy.
Streets of Rage 2 and 3 feature four playable characters, unlike the first game in the series. A major difference between the first and second games is that every enemy has a health bar that will appear on screen when you are attacking them, while in the first game only bosses had health bars. Across the three titles, graphics become better and controls become much more responsive, and your character’s attacks are much better animated. Additionally, each game adds new enemy types, making for new gameplay and forcing you to constantly find ways to take out the numerous enemies.
The control scheme feels odd at times, as though it wasn’t made with consideration to the way people on the Xbox play. While in the game, B will sometimes act as the A button, although not all the time. This can be confusing when you’re trying to select a character and you’re just mashing A and nothing happens. I happened to hit B by smashing my hand against the different buttons and didn’t make the connection until much later on. When you die and are prompted to enter your initials, B acts as the button you use in order to choose the next character and go forward. This was annoying to figure out, and it was never clarified in the game. Another aspect of the game that annoyed me slightly was that despite the TV you have, the game is only available in 4:3, meaning that if you have a widescreen television only part of the screen will be filled with the actual game. Either side of the game screen is filled with the game’s logo. I understand that this game was created before widescreen televisions, but there’s no reason that this couldn’t be changed for the Xbox Live Arcade build of the game.
Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage is an old arcade game, and it still looks and plays like it. It’s a fun game, and my lack of skills in playing an old fighting game did not detract from the experience. Graphically it’s still the same game, and the old-time arcade music brings back a feeling of nostalgia. If you were never that good at old fighting games, like myself, you might find yourself frustrated by the fact that when you die, it’s for good. Fortunately, there’s always your saved games that you can rely on so that you don’t have to start over from Stage 1. For that reason, it’s good to save often. One of the great things of having the three Streets of Rage games in one bundle is being able to easily switch between the three, and seeing just how much the games changed over the course of the trilogy. Even graphically, the differences between the three games is extremely noticeable. It’s a fun game to go back to, even if only for half an hour at a time. Sometimes it’s really fun to go back to old arcade titles, and Streets of Rage is a great example of this.
- The pack features all three games in the series
- Easy switching between the three games
- Great sense of nostalgia
- Control scheme can be confusing and annoying at times
- The game is only available in 4:3