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With one-on-one fighting games dominating both arcades and consoles, Sega decided to try their luck one last time with Streets of Rage 3. Released in 1994, this beat-em-up adds a few new enemies, locations and characters to the mix, as well as some fun hidden content. Was this a fitting end to the Streets of Rage trilogy, or were critics done with this style of fighting game? We dig through old issues of GamePro, Die Hard Game Fan, Game Players, Mean Machines Sega and Electronic Gaming Monthly for the answers.
(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)
"Yo, Rangers! It's clobberin' time again! In the grand tradition of side-scrolling, moon-walking mayhem, Streets of Rage 3 definitely has combat charm -- it may even knock you out. Streets of Rage 3 is like an old friend -- an old friend who won't stop trying to kick your butt! The fighting formula is still feisty, if familiar. But no one wants the Streets to be too safe, do they?" -Slo Mo
GAME PLAYERS (February 1995) 90% out of 100%
"If you've never taken Axel for a spin and want to give it a shot, this is the one to try. You can't go wrong if you're already a fan. If there's one flaw, it's that you've seen all this has to offer in previous outings."
MEAN MACHINES SEGA #20 83% out of 100%
"The third addition to the Streets Of Rage series wipes the floor with the previous two in terms of graphics and presentation. To me Streets Of Rage 3 doesn't take enough risks. There are moments of inspiration, but it isn't until later in the game that any originality shows its face. If these ideas had been littered throughout the game, SOR3 would easily be a Megagame." -Steve
DIE HARD GAME FAN (June 1994) 80% out of 100%
"SOR3 has great play mechanics and good graphics, but its [sic] the music that comes up short. I never though [sic] Yuzo Koshiro's game music would ever be criticized, but I'm sorry, some of these tunes are just plain weird. Background music usually sets the mood of a game but these tracks put you in a mood to introduce your Genesis to Mr. baseball bat. What happened?" -K. Lee
ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #60 8 out of 10
"This has always been a good series, and I really enjoyed the cart. A few things bothered me. The music wasn't up to par with what Yuzo Koshio normally does, and the sounds were sub-standard. The background animations are really good, and the diversity of game play adds tremendously. Sega change the character outfits to gender neutral colors? It is still a great Sega fighter." -Ed Semrad
DIE HARD GAME FAN (June 1994) 76% out of 100%
"After playing he import I was disappointed with Streets 3. Instead of just re-drawing the controversial first mid-level boss, they removed him. OK, so I still have the babes in their French Cut ... what's this? Hey!, where'd they get the pants and long sleeves? C'mon guys, this is a street fighting game. We don't need to be that careful. A good game gets neutered. Buy the import or pass all together... Yuzo blew it too." -Skid
ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #60 7 out of 10
YESSS!! Streets of Rage 3 is a continuation of one of the best fighting adventures from Sega. With 24-Megs of memory, there are loads of lethal moves and an improved soundtrack. There are even more moves when you play with the six-button controller. Very cool with the Head-to-Head Battle Mode. The only bad part is the heinous slowdown in some areas of the game. Bummer! Still a great fight title, thought." -Al Manuel
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 71% -
After scoring big hits with the first two installments, it's easy to see why critics weren't thrilled by Streets of Rage 3. Many complained that they had already seen and done a lot of what this brawler has to offer. The original stuff, including puzzle solving, comes late in the game and should have been sprinkled throughout the game, argued Mean Machines Sega. And just about everybody agreed that the music, created by famed composer Yuzo Koshiro, was substandard. What a shame.
Die Hard Game Fan had a completely different complaint, one that few other critics even mentioned. Skid complained that Sega had removed one of the more controversial bosses and censored a few of the sexier female characters. He recommended buying the import, "or pass all together." Who knew that mid-boss was so important?
Despite some valid complaints, critics still seemed to enjoy Streets of Rage 3. No score dips below 70%, and some critics scored the game as high as 90%. It's clear that Streets of Rage 3 was on the decline, but critics were still willing to give it a passing score. This 16-bit brawler averaged 79%.
STREETS OF RAGE vs. FINAL FIGHT - ROUND 3:
And this is where we start feeling bad for Final Fight. After a successful run in the arcades, Capcom just couldn't recreate the same magic on the Super NES. Final Fight 3 was not loved (or even liked) by the critics, receiving 2 out of 5 from Next Generation and 49% from Super Play. Even Electronic Gaming Monthly and Die Hard Game Fan turned on the series. Streets of Rage 3 also showed signs of fatigue, but nothing like Final Fight. While Streets of Rage 3 averaged 79%, Final Fight 3 came in at an ugly 56%. This was not a pretty fight.
ON MONDAY'S EPISODE:
Get ready for another week full of exciting sequels, starting with a return to Duckburg. You might solve a mystery or rewrite history, because on Monday the Review Crew will take a look at Disney's DuckTales 2. Did they love this sequel or complain that it was more of the same? We did through old magazines for the answers.
Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!