Streets of Rage

SEGA 1991

Streets of Rage

The Streets of Rage series also known as Bare Knuckle (in Japan only) has become one of the most well known series of games there is and especially so among Sega fans.

It was the side-scrolling beat'em up created by many of the individuals from Team Shinobi (of Golden Axe and Revenge of Shinobi fame) that matched very closely the style of Final Fight.

Back in 1991 it became the best side-scrolling beat'em up on Sega's reigning system and a good arcade experience still managing to this day to become one of the most entertaining games to play with its 2-player co-op mode and brilliant music.

The Streets of Rage series unfortunately never made it out of the 16-Bit era despite the hopes and pleas of many Sega fans. Throughout the Saturn years it was hoped such a game would appear. The powerful 2D abilities of the system would have been a brilliant platform for a fourth game in the series. It later emerged that several conceptual-prototypes existed for a Dreamcast version but these were never developed.

To this day there has been no suggestions from Sega that a modern version is in the works. Such a game, if done correctly could potentially be brilliant.

Case Scan -  Click for larger Case Scan -  Click for larger

From the case...
"The city has been taken over by a massive crime syndicate. Three young police officers have quit the corrupt Metropolitan police force and set out to topple the organisation on their own!"


In 1991, the Mega Drive (Genesis) was king, yet the generating hype of the impending SNES meant that Sega needed to make more quality games to deter people from jumping to Nintendo’s new console.

A good Final Fight style game was no where in the Mega Drive library at the time. Capcom (creators of FF) currently only made conversions of their games for Nintendo at the time and a port of FF was already in the works for the SNES. FF was an incredibly popular game in the arcades and very highly regarded.

Sega had earlier created Double Dragon a game with similar gameplay which had proved somewhat popular in the arcades and was ported to the Master System. Building on that success, Sega decide to create a similar style of game more emphasis on arcade style gameplay for their console.

Streets of Rage is what came sporting arcade quality graphics along with a pumping soundtrack. Streets of Rage, quickly became one of the Mega Drives staple titles and a favourite of Sega fans. Whilst the gameplay was essentially the same as FF there was enough differences and new elements to make it feel unique.

The graphics represented everything that the Mega Drive was meant to be. Along with the graphics was one of the best game sound tracks around consistent with the era. Created by Yuzo Koshiro the music was in tune with the current growing trend of 90’s club music.

Not only did it offer a plentiful and enjoyable game for single player it’s 2 player co-op mode brought a whole extra element of fun and perhaps where the game holds most appeal.

Streets of Rage ultimately went on to be a core Mega Drive title packed with the console in 2 separate packages (in the UK) and go on to have 2 sequels; Streets of Rage 2 in 1992 being the first 16Mbit cartridge and Streets of Rage 3 in 1994 both of which surpassed in each other. The original game was also ported to Sega’s 8-Bit platforms, the Master System and Game Gear.

Incidentally the much hyped SNES version of Final Fight had a significant disadvantage in that there was no 2-player mode.


This city was once a happy, peaceful place...until one day, a powerful secret criminal organisation took over. This vicious syndicate soon had control of the government and even the police force. The city has become a center of violence and crime where no one is safe.

Amid this turmoil, a group of determined young police officers had sworn to clean up the city. Among them are Adam Hunter, Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding. They are willing to risk anything...even their lives...on the...Streets of Rage.


Streets of Rage is simple enough to be picked up quickly by all and is perhaps one of the reasons why it is so popular. You simply kill any enemies that appear on screen before they kill you ultimately progressing to the end of the round within the time limit.

Round 1 Round 2 Boss Round 6

Each round scrolls from left to right and your ability to progress towards the end generally becomes more difficult. At the end of each round you will fight a boss (or 2 and/or possibly with other enemies) who is invariably 2 times the size you are and 3 times as strong. An enemy is defeated when they let out a dying scream before hitting the floor and disappearing off the screen.

Throughout each round will be enemies, bosses, special items, weapons, destory-ables and the odd hazard that threatens your fighter.

At the end of each round you get bonus points; Clear Bonus, Time Bonus and Level Bonus. The higher the difficulty setting you play at the more bonus points you receive.

There are 3 playable characters in the game; Axel, Adam and Blaze. Each character is rounded with advantages and disadvantages over each other.

Character Select

Character Select

Streets of Rage can be played as either a single player game or 2-player co-op which is most fun. You can use your partner to perform some devastatingly powerful attacks. Be aware that you can also damage your partner.

In 2-Player games typically everything becomes doubled; the amount of enemies, the number of special items and the number of bosses.

A second player can join in a single player game at any time (except in Round 8) however, they can not select a character. Their character is determined by who player 1 is controlling.

Player 1

Player 2







Displayed at all times across the top of the screen will be all your vital information in a status bar. Player 1 will be on the left and Player 2 will be on the right. In here will be:

Score - Players Score.

Players Energy - When you take damage you loose energy. You can be damaged several ways; getting hit by enemies, falling down holes and hit by machinery. When all of your energy is gone you loose a life. Energy can be restored by collecting food. Energy is also restored to full when a round is completed.

Lives - Remaining lives. When you die you will fall back onto the floor from the ceiling and all the enemies on the screen will fall over. Sounds weird but it actually helps. Extra lives can be collected as an item and earned with points.

Special Attacks - How many special attacks you can call on.

Time - How much time you have to complete the round including defeating the boss. This resets if you die.

Boss Energy - This only appears when fighting an end of round boss. Sometimes their energy fills more than 1 bar. They death is near when the bar is red.

The D-Pad moves your character around the screen. Your character can move in all directions. Combining LEFT or RIGHT with JUMP (C) then ATTACK (B) produces different attacks such as a flying kick.

Button A calls the Special Attack which is an aerial assault from the city’s police forces. These kill all smaller enemies on the screen instantaneously and inflicts major damage to bosses. Each character can use this once per life. It can be collected as a special item but is very rare.

Player 1 has a napalm bomb which when hits the ground creates a brief ring of fire.

Player 2 will have a flurry rocket propelled grenades.

Button B is ATTACK. A single press will be a punch or jab. Pressing repeatedly makes your fighter do a flurry attack (go through an attack sequence) which varies between characters. Typically 4 presses completes the flurry. See the character moves below for more.

Button C is JUMP. Tap for small jump and press for higher jump.

START button pauses the game at any time.

When enemies are close you can grab hold of them allowing moves like a head butt or elbow to the face if you press ATTACK (B). Beware enemies can also grab hold of you. You can escape by jump or throw. More detail follows.


Basic Moves

These are general moves that can be performed by all characters. Buttons in brackets are standard button configuration.

Grab - To grab an enemy simply walk up to them.

Then by pressing ATTACK (B) you can perform:

Close attacks will be a knee, head butt, elbow or slam and/or:

Shoulder Throw - Pressing D-Pad AWAY and ATTACK (B) throws the enemy across the screen knocking over anybody in their path. Throw enemies through destoryable objects such as phone boxes.

Vault - Press JUMP (C) to leap over the enemy. Handy sometimes in avoiding oncoming enemies.

Back-Drop - When you have grabbed an enemy and vaulted over them press ATTACK (B) to pull them over your head and drive them into the floor. This is a devastatingly powerful move.

When an enemy has grabbed you from behind you can escape by performing:

Double Leg Kick - Pressing JUMP (C) will do a kick to the face of any oncoming enemies. You can perform several of these and then perform a Neck Throw by pressing the D-Pad FORWARDS and then ATTACK (B).

or Vault (see above)

Some enemies can throw you. If thrown by an enemy press UP + JUMP (C) to land on your feet undamaged. Timing is important for success.

Unstoppable Combo - not an official move but very useful if perfected. An unstoppable combo is when you continue to punch without the character beginning their flurry. This is simply a matter of timing. You press the attack button once or twice and then wait for just under a second before doing the same.

When perfected you will be able to defeat an enemy without them landing a punch on you as they are trapped when you punch them as the enemy sprite shakes briefly. This is especially useful for bosses such as the Fat Flamer on Round 4 or whenever a single enemy is on screen.

2-Player Combination Moves


In 2 player games you can use your partner to perform some flying attacks. If timed and aimed well these can be devastating to enemies.

By grabbing your partner face to face and performing a Shoulder Throw (D-Pad AWAY and ATTACK (B) ) you can propel your partner across the screen.

Combination Move Combination Move Combination Move

Grabbing them from behind and your fighter performing a vault, you will launch over your partner. If they were to then perform a shoulder throw on you, then you would be launched into an attack.

You begin the game with 3 lives. You can gain extra lives by collecting the 1UP item and for every 50,000 points.

At Game Over you have 3 continue credits. In a 2-Player game each player has 4 credits. You can not earn any extra continue credits. When all of your credits have gone you are shown the high-score leader board where you can input your initials.

Your mega-brawl will take you across a range of locations ultimately leading to the Syndicates HQ. There are 8 Rounds in the game in total. More details and general hints on each round can be found on the following pages.




Adam is a rounded character with good power and jump. Though he moves around the screen slower he does have the advantage of a brilliant round-house kick.

Single Attack: Performs a jab

Repeated Attack: Jabs then uppercut finishing with a round-house kick.

Close Attack: Knees followed by elbow to the face.

Flying Kick: Press JUMP (C) then ATTACK (B) whilst moving in a direction using the D-Pad.

Rear Kick: Pressing ATTACK (B) + JUMP (C)

Adam has a great round-house kick. Just before the kick he performs an uppercut on the enemy, if high enough the round-house kick will knock them flying off the screen taking any enemies with them. Very useful at times when you’re facing attacks from multiple enemies. On occasion a bug causes the graphics screw up and the enemy falls through the floor and dies. Groovy.



Axel has both power and speed. Choose Axel over Adam if your not going to be jump kicking many enemies as he does not jump high and therefore far.

Single Attack: Punch

Repeated Attack: Punches, then knees to the chest finishing with a head-butt.

Close Attack: Knees followed by head butt.

Fling Knee: Press JUMP (C) then ATTACK whilst moving in a direction using the D-Pad.

Rear Punch: Pressing ATTACK (B) + JUMP (C)



Blaze is the fastest character but can not do as much damage. Her speed can be useful for evading enemies, dividing them before killing them and for getting out the way for bosses. Generally this character is for the girlies when they want to play.

For her shoulder throw she uses her leg for send enemies even further across the screen.

Single Attack: Chop to the face

Repeated Attack: Chops to the face, kicks to the chest and then a slam on the floor.

Close Attack: Knees and then a kick and flip over.

Spinning-Flying Kick: Press JUMP (C) then ATTACK (B) whilst moving in a direction using the D-Pad.

Rear Kick: Pressing ATTACK (B) + JUMP (C)


Special items are generally found by destroying things such as a phone box or air vent. To collect them simply stand over them and press ATTACK (B).



Appears a few times in each round. Restores just under 1/4 of players health.

Joint of Beef


Usually appears at least once per round and before a boss. Restores a players health to full.


Money Bag

Fairly common. Rewards 1000 points.

Bars of Gold

Gold Bars

Less common. Rewards 5000 points.

Police Car (Special Attack)

Police Car

Police Car - Provides you with another use of the Special Attack. Only appears on Rounds 5 and 6.

Extra Life

1UP/Gang Icon

1 Extra life. Found on Rounds 4 and 6.


Throughout your brawl the streets will be littered with items that make nifty weapons. They can be found lying around or enemies will attack you with them which they will drop when you attack them. To collect them simply stand over them and press ATTACK (B).

Weapons have a life span. They disappear when they are dropped 2 times. You will drop a weapon if you are grabbed, take damage or when holding a weapon and collecting another.

Glass Bottle


Cool weapon. You can sma sh it over the head of a thug and then continue to attack them with the broken end.



Do lots of damage by stabbing enemies. Can also be thrown at enemies from a distance.


Lead Pipe

Does a fair amount of damage and has a long attack range.

Baseball Bat

Baseball Bat

A nice swing will do a fair amount of damage.


Pepper Shaker/Gas

The amusing weapon. Throw this at an enemy to temporally paralyse them in a sneezing fit.


As the game progresses the colours of the enemies change. Seeing a different colour version of an enemy indicates they are stronger.

Thug 1 - Easily defeated. Will land a punch on you. Thugs can attack you with weapons.

Thug with Baseball Bat Thug Thug with knife

There are 2 versions of these guys that carry knives. Those that carry knives by their head will stab and throw them at you. They will drop the knife when hit. The other version carries a knife close to their waist. These guys are nasty when there are several on the screen making quick walking attacks. They do not drop their knife until they are killed.

Thug 2 - Same rules as Thug 1 but tougher and quicker to land a punch on you that will do more damage. These will also come at you with weapons and both types with knives.

Thug, stronger Thug, stronger, with knife Thug, faster, stronger, with knife

Women in Bondage Gear - Did the decline in video games start here with women in suspenders and knee-high boots wielding whips? These females are a bit stronger than your average thug. Some of them will scream and lie of the floor for a short while when punched before getting up and attacking you again. Stronger versions of these chicks remain on the floor for only a second before getting back up again.

Woman with whip Woman with whip Woman with whip Woman with whip

Punks - Generally easily defeated however they have 2 methods of attack. They will be quick to either slide across the floor knocking you down or grab you by neck and throw you (shoulder throw). With a quick response you can land on your feet UP+JUMP(C). Generally do not stand still round these guys too long.

Punk Punk Punk

Kung-Fu Guys - These guys will leap around the screen quickly and jump in for a sly high kick (usually to your back) and then jump away. They can come back for another attack very quickly after being knocked down. These can be mega annoying when in groups so kill them quickly as in later levels they can do a bit of damage to you very quickly.

Kung Fu Guy Kung Fu Guy Kung Fu Guy

Jugglers - These are tougher than thugs and more tricky to kill. There are 3 types of these; those juggling burning sticks, those juggling axes and those seemingly juggling nothing which can turn out to be either sticks or axes.

Fire and Axe Juggler Fire and Axe Juggler Fire and Axe Juggler

They skip around and make small leaps before stopping and throwing their toys at you which they can do from a distance. Also touching either the sticks or the axes will damage you so when attacking wait for them to fall out of their hands before moving closer for a grab. You may have to punch a few times before actually landing a hit on them. Generally flying kicks do not work against them.

Bosses in the game are detailed on the rounds in which they appear. Check out the links.


Click on any of the screenshot to view screenshots and info about each round.

Names for the rounds taken from the manual.

Round 1


Round 2


Round 3


Round 4


Round 5


Round 6


Round 7


Round 8



A few options in the game are open to the player. These are:

Sound Test - Listen to the tunes of the game

Level: Easy, Normal, Hard or Hardest. Adjusts the games difficult. The more difficult the game the tougher the enemies are to kill (as opposed the number of them) and more level bonus points you will receive when you complete a round.

Control - reassign the buttons.


For General hints on each of the rounds click out the links above.

Round Select and Extra Lives

This cheat requires a pad in controller port 2. At the title screen highlight options. Hold down buttons A+B+C and RIGHT on controller 2 and press START on controller 1.

The options screen will now have 2 more settings; Round No and Players (lives).

Continue Play

Just before Player 1 is about to die press START on the second controller to continue with the other character.

Killing Bosses

Utilise the Back-Drop move on all bosses except the Fat Guys (Round 4) to do serious damage.

When a supporting enemy is killed another immediately replaces it so do not concentrate on them too much. Also remember that you can throw whatever supporting thug there is at them to do some damage. Pretty useful for when there are 2 bosses to fight at once.

Eating Beef

Do not instantly eat the beef when it’s on the screen. Enemies can not steal it and it does not disappear so don’t collect it until your energy is almost depleted.



This version appeared in the arcades in 1991 on 2 Sega Arcade boards; Mega-Tech and Mega-Play. There is a possibility that another version exists from 1989. It is discussed at the Streets of Rage Online website.

Streets of Rage has appeared on the Mega Games 2 Collection (1994) and the Mega Games 6 collection both of which were packaged with the Mega Drive.

An identical version to the Mega Drive version appeared on both Sega Classics 5-in-1 and 4-In-1 compilation CD’s.

The version is identical to the Mega Drive except for some of the sound samples. These were re-sampled and much clearer though feeling out of phase with the game it seems.

Sega Classics 5-in-1 Collection Mega Games 2 Mega Games 6

8-Bit Versions

Streets of Rage (this version) was also ported to the Master System and Game Gear in 1993. These versions differ from each other but are generally good ports very failthful to the 16-Bit version.

Master System

Game Gear

Streets of Rage - Master System Streets of Rage - Game Gear
Streets of Rage - Master System Streets of Rage - Game Gear

Graphical and musical differences aside, the Master System version is single player only with the choice of all 3 characters. The Game Gear version offers only 2 playable characters but also a 2-Player mode and some game options from the title screen.



Streets of Rage 2

Streets of Rage 2 was released in 1992 is one of the most successful and popular titles of the 16-Bit era. It surpasses the original in every way and some people regard it as the greatest arcade beat'em up of all time.

It lives up to its reputation with vastly improved graphics, new characters, new moves, bigger and harder levels, a Vs mode and another great soundtrack.

The game was double in size of the original and touted very much as being the first 16Mbit sized cartridge for the Mega Drive.

Streets of Rage 2 Streets of Rage 2

Streets of Rage 2 was also ported to the Master System and Game Gear.

Some more info is in the Game of the Month section.


Streets of Rage 3

The final sequel to hit the Mega Drive in 1994. Whilst not the jump from the first to the second it offered several improvements. All the characters are huge and highly detailed with much faster gameplay.

There are also distinct differences between the Jap, US and PAL versions as opposed to a name change on the title screen. A website could be done on this topic alone.

The Japanese version had a playable character Ash, which was a stereotype homosexual. He was removed from both the US and European versions but can be activated through cheats and Action Replay codes.

This game was larger still coming in a 24Mbit cartridge. It is now quite rare in especially in PAL format.

The game was never been ported to any other platforms.

Streets of Rage 3 Streets of Rage 3

Some more info is in the Game of the Month section.


Beats of Rage has to be one of the coolest homebrew projects ever. A group of programmers called Senile who no doubt growing tired of waiting for Sega to produce a Streets of Rage 4 created a rather excellent beat'em up in the vein of our favoured fighting game taking characters from SNK's King of the Fighters.

The source for this is freely available and as such seen many different mods created such as Ghouls N Ghosts, Megaman, Alien Vs Predator; there are tonnes of them!

It is available for Dreamcast, X Box, PC and Playstation 2. More info can be found at the official website

Beats of RageBeats of Rage


Streets of Rage works perfectly with Kega Fusion, Gens and Gens32. You can download these from the Mega Drive/Genesis Emulators Page.

There are also no problems playing this game via net play in Kega Fusion.

The Mega CD Version (Sega Classics Collection) works perfectly with Kega Fusion.


Streets of Rage Online

THE ultimate in Streets of Rage websites. The best there is on the net. Well worth a look. Has footage of the Streets of Rage 4 prototypes, every secret of the Mega Drive games included deleted scenes and characters.

Another review/walkthrough

A walkthrough

Beats of Rage Official Website

Beats of Rage Official Website

Official website of the Beats of Rage project. Here you can download versions of the game for Dreamcast and other platforms as well as check out their other projects.



Streets of Rage in Games Of the Month

Streets of Rage 2 in Games Of the Month

Streets of Rage 3 in Games Of the Month

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