The side-scrolling beat ‘em up is a classic genre that has apparently fallen out of favor with gamers. Decent brawlers are getting hard to find, but all you have to do is fire up one of Sega’s emulated Genesis apps to transport yourself back to the early 1990s.
Streets of Rage 3 follows the events of the first two Genesis games, which are also available on the App Store. You play as a team of hard-hitting vigilantes, who in the third game are trying to stop a mad bomber who is also replacing the city’s officials with killer robot clones.
Beware of high voltage.
You can choose to play as one of four tough characters, and there are a few unlockable characters as well, like a boxing kangaroo. Your goal is to make your way to the end of each stage by punching, kicking, and body-slamming anything that comes near you. Streets of Rage 3 has a complex combat system that lets you throw bad guys across the screen, smack them with a baseball bat, or perform a super move that will knock them off their feet.
Streets of Rage 3 offers some notable improvements over Streets of Rage 2, like the ability to dash or roll by double-tapping the D-pad. Also, your special moves can be used occasionally without draining your health, as long as the special meter is full.
But these are about the only improvements to the formula. Streets of Rage 3 isn’t as creative as the second game, and in the first few levels you’ll fight through very similar-looking streets, bars, and alleys. Streets of Rage 3 is also extremely difficult, and if you lose all your lives and continues you won’t be able to pick up from where you died.
Streets of Rage 3 is more taxing on your iPhone’s processor as well, which is likely due to Sega’s outdated emulator. The larger, more complex graphics will slow down the action onscreen, and we know that the newest iOS devices should be able to handle a Genesis game without a hitch. Still, Sega refuses to update their emulator to include customizable controls and a smooth, consistent frame rate.
While we think the Streets of Rage series overall is a blast, this third game is less creative and runs worse on the iPhone than Streets of Rage 2. Until Sega offers more value to the retro gamers who actually want to pay for 20 year old console games for the iPhone, save your money for something a little more up-to-date.