Streets of Rage along with its sequels were among the best hours I spent on the Genesis, feeding my love for beat ’em ups with every pummeled thug. Watching every fist and flying kick erode those energy bars was addicting fun along with wondering how many more crazy names the enemies would arrive with. There aren’t that many beat ’em ups that evoke the same feelings today, though fans haven’t stopped trying. “Beats of Rage” was one of the first unofficial ways that fans would try to recapture it – a fan made engine that allowed all sorts of mashups across series pitting everything from Resident Evil’s Chris against Mega Man.
But it wasn’t enough for one group of fans and for eight years, they worked to polish and create the best interpretation of the game for today’s hardware. Now it’s here at last.
It’s finally out…well, ALMOST out. The official Streets of Rage Remake site has just reported that the final version of their work is done and it was available for download until Sega stepped in to discuss a few things according to this thread at the official site. That hasn’t stopped it from appearing elsewhere, though. Out of respect for the SORR team, I’ll wait until they hash everything out with Sega before posting a link here.
I’d be willing to bet that the original team behind Streets of Rage would be flattered that a team of fans would take eight years to make this, but as we know, Sega’s a corporation. This is probably a case of lawyers acting in their client’s best interests to protect their IP autotargeting projects that might threaten them. We’ve seen this before with the fan-made series, the Silver Lining, which is meant to conclude the King’s Quest series in a way that they would have wanted to see. As with that, the Streets of Rage Remake is free – they can’t make a dime off of Sega’s property. That would have gotten them into immediate hot water and this project would probably have been killed years ago.
Once you get it, though, you’re in for a treat. Starting it up for the first time, the game asks you what resolution you want to play the game at. Going full screen with scanlines tickled a little of that arcade love in me and that’s what I’m playing it at right now, though a number of other modes from windowed to no scanlines are available. This is a remake that wants you to love everything about it.
Six characters are available to pick from making the remake not just another Streets of Rage project – this is a combination of everything Streets of Rage. Selectable starting stages, two player co-op, and even the tools to allow you to tweak your own Streets of Rage modifications are all packaged into this game. It’s clearly an awesome labor of love right down to the pixels and palette swapped foes.
I’m trying it out with an Xbox 360 controller which it recognizes and works pretty well – actions are responsive and smooth and just ‘feel great’. Regular movement is quick, but not too quick, and the stages wallpaper my screen with retro art. It’s free, it’s awesome, and hopefully once Sega gives them the go-ahead, you and every other gamer out there looking for a little nostalgia or a solid action game will have another reason to blister your fingers.