Streets Of Rage – Sega (1991)

Streets of Rage is your typical side scrolling action beat ’em up that was the Genesis’ answer to Double Dragon. Just like Double Dragon the game has you moving left to right and kicking the crap out of anything that gets in your way. Unlike Double Dragon you do have three different characters to choose from. Also these three character are rating in three different categories; Strength, Speed and Jumping. It doesn’t matter what character you choose as they are really play the same.

Streets of Rage is great fun going solo but add a friend and it is a whole different game. Not only can two players handle the numerous enemy attackers more effectively, but you can work together and do some really great combo moves using both players if your timing is correct. Speaking of moves, Sega originally advertised the game as having dozens of moves that the player can learn to pull off, but Streets of Rage is really a lot simpler than they made it sound. If you find the situation is becoming hairy then you can use a Special Attack where a police car pulls up behind you and launches missiles at your enemies.

Graphic wise, Streets of Rage is very “neon” looking. If I didn’t know better I would swear that Joel Schumacher directed this game! The characters are smaller than those in Final Fight but are well drawn for a Genesis game and there is no slowdown even when the screen gets filled with enemies. Unless you hate “neon” then you shouldn’t hate the graphics at all!

A really big surprise is the music, it is actually good. Even thought the Genesis probably had the worst sound chip in the 16-bit era Yuzo Koshiro somehow was able to create some absolutely brilliant tracks for the game. For those of you who don’t know, Yuzo Koshiro also did music for Y’s, Actraiser and Shenmue. If you are a fan of his you will want this game for your collection.

Like any game in the genre though you will find that Streets of Rage will become repetitive as you progress in the game. I also found the difficulty wasn’t balanced correctly as you will soar through the level only to find your ass being handed to you repeatedly during boss encounters. Save those Special Attacks for bosses!

Overall Streets of Rage is a very good side scrolling fighter and holds it’s own against the arcade boys like Double Dragon and Final Fight. And if that isn’t enough goodness for you then check out it’s two sequels!

Reviewed by Game Guru

Cheats & Strategy

Extra Lives:
Press Left, Left, B, B, B, C, C, C, START at the title screen.

Final Boss Duel:
When you get to the final boss playing 2-player mode, have one player choose ”yes” and the other choose ”no”. You will be forced to duel against each other.

Level And Lives Select:
Go to the main menu. Hold down (A) + (B) + (C) + RIGHT on controller 2 while selecting Options on controller 1 (best if done with two people). You can now select how many lives you start with and which stage to start on.

8-Bit Admiral Console (Portable N.E.S.)

Like the Game Axe the Game Theory Admiral Console is a portable NES but it looks like it is of much better quality. Also like that Game Axe it only plays Famicom games unless you have the adapter but it makes it very bulky since the NES cartridges are so huge.

One thing that is kind of upsetting is that the cool blue one is the PAL version and the pink one is the NTSC version. You might ask “What does PAL and NTSC have to do with a portable system?” Well you can hook these up to your TV and pay it like a regular N.E.S. The cartridges don’t actually go into the system itself, you plug them into an adapter and plug the adapter into the unit.

Why do we in the U.S. always get shat on when it comes to the really cool stuff. I wish we could just go down to the local Best Buy and buy some of this unlicensed stuff. Oh well, on to Ebay again!

16-Bit Neo Geo Pocket

In 1998 SNK release the Neo Geo Pocket, a black & white handheld unit which was to compete with the Game Boy. Unfortunately Nintendo had just released the Game Boy Color and suddenly the world just wasn’t interested in a non-color gaming system. SNK went back to the drawing board and then in 1999 introduced the Neo Geo Pocket Color with many different shell colors and, of course, a color display.

One interesting aspect about the system is that many of the games can be played in both English and Japanese depending on how you have the region settings set for your unit. Unfortunately some of the games only have a Japanese aspect and I will explain why later on in the review.

One feature that sets the Neo Geo Pocket Color apart from the Game Boy Color is it’s minimal PDA applications. It has a calendar, alarm clock and even a little horoscope program. Granted none of these will replace even the cheapest of PDAs but it is a nice little added bonus.

Another nice feature which shows that SNK cares about it’s gamers is that it has a built-in battery back-up for save games to. How does this benefit gamers since the battery back-up could just as easily been put in each individual game? Well, not only does it keep the cartridge prices down but say you were 3/4 into Metal Slug and you lost the game. You run to the store and buy another one and instead of having to play it all over again it used the save game from the unit itself. Nice. Think of it like a mini X-Box in that the unit itself stores the saves, not on the game itself or a save card.

For the importers out there you may be happy to know that there isn’t a territorial lockout on the Neo Geo Pocket Color. Now you can play all the latest and greatest Anime inspired games without having to modify your system!

Remember earlier when we were talking about how some of the games could be played in English and Japanese but most are Japanese only now and I said I would explain later. Well, SNK close it’s U.S. door and no longer shipped Neo Geo Pocket Color to these shores in 2000. But select Electronic Boutiques are now selling special Neo Geo Pocket Color bundles. The bundles include the console and six games for around $80 dollars or a bundle of four games for around $40 dollars. This is great for gamers (well except the gamers who just spent $200 for a unit on eBay) and hopefully will see the Neo Geo Pocket Color dipping into the Game Boy Advances profits.

8-Bit TurboExpress

NEC released the TurboExpress in 1991 hoping to claim it’s share of the portable gaming market even though the market was saturated with Nintendo’s Game Boy, Atari’s Lynx, and Sega’s Game Gear. What set the TurboExpress apart from the other aforementioned handhelds is that it was essentially a portable version of the NEC TurboGrafx-16. It supported all of the TurboGrafx-16 HuCard games that were on the market already. This was very attractive for gamers because there was already an established library for the new system.

The one thing going against it at it’s launch was that it was priced at $300. This was more than any of the consoles at the time (well not the Neo Geo or 3DO) and one of the main factors of why the system didn’t succeed. Even after a price drop to $199 they still couldn’t get gamers interested in the unit. The TurboExpress and it’s big brother, the TurboGrafx-16, both dropped out of sight by the end of 1993.

This is really sad as there were lots of great games that you could play on it. The TurboGrafx-16 had some of the best action and shooters around and they held up remarkably well on the small screen. I do recommend picking up some rechargeable batteries as this unit sucks them dry in about 3 hours.

This system is highly recommended to anyone who owned the TurboGrafx-16 since they don’t have to purchase any more games. It is a solid unit and what better way to pass the time on those long car trips than playing some Neutopia or Bonk?

16-Bit Bandai Wonderswan Color

The Wonderswan Color was released in 2000 by Bandai and is only available in Japan. It is an upgrade to the original Wonderswan which also was never released on these shores. The system is quite compact as the Game Boy Advance is twice as thick, slightly longer and about equal in depth. It also weighs just 95 grams, much lighter than the Game Boy Advance. Like the original Game Boy Advance the screen is not back-lit so you have to have good room lighting or something like the Worm Light to see it properly.

One of the best aspects of the Wonderswan Color is it’s 13 buttons which really immerses you in the games. You have the standard A and B buttons and instead of a direction pad you have 4 buttons labeled X1, X2, X3 and X4. They function just like a directional pad so you won’t be missing it. Here is where it really gets interesting. Right above the X buttons you will see the Y1, Y2, Y3 and Y4 buttons which serve to revolutionize the console. Instead of games only being played in the wide screen Game Boy Advance style you can rotate the unit 45 degrees and play certain games this way. It’s great for overhead shooters and bowling games amongst many others. This is a feature more systems should have. The remaining buttons are the power, start and sound buttons. That’s right, there isn’t a volume knob on the unit. The system has 4 pre-set sound levels and you toggle through them with the sound button.

You don’t have to be stuck with just the option of one color of unit as there are many different ones to choose from. Some of the standard colors are Crystal Orange, Crystal Blue and Crystal Black that have a see through casing. In addition, there is Pearl Blue and Pearl Pink which are non-transparent and of course several limited edition casings such as Gundam and Final Fantasy.

This is a great system and one that should have been released in the U.S. There is talk about possibly bringing it back to life with releases in other countries but it is just rumors now. Best thing to do is check out eBay or your favorite import sites.

16-Bit Sega Nomad (Portable Genesis)

The Sega Nomad was released in 1995 as the world was moving onto 32-Bit gaming. Interestingly, this was never released outside the U.S. so for once we had something cool that the rest of the world didn’t have.

The unit had a 3-inch LCD screen and had a higher resolution than any of the other handhelds at the time. The unit was also backlit like the Game Gear before it. Unlike passive matrix LCDs that were used for the Game Boy and Game Gear, the Nomad screen utilized an active matric LCD that was very sharp and did not suffer from blurring in fast action games. Although this LCD provided excellent visual quality, it contributed to its short battery life. The batteries only lasted three to five hours, but a rechargeable battery pack and AC Unit was availible.

Some of the really nice features of this handheld were it’s ability to hook up to a television and it’s joystick port for two player games. Even though it is hard for two people to see the screen at the same time it is nice for those backseat playing sessions on long drives.

This is one great portable system and I believe is just second to the Game Boy Advance. Although being able to play Herzog Zwei and Shining in the Darkness on the road has really pushes this system up in the rankings in