Streets of Rage Review

There was a time when games were simpler, both in graphics and gameplay, though they weren’t limited in regards to the joy they gave us and the loyalty we gave in return. Well, even though games have become much more complex, loyalty for the classics lingers, waiting to be either tastefully or painfully revived. However complex things get, there will always be the desire to recover lost treasures. They may need some shining up, though, and Sega has apparently lost its polish.

Streets of Rage was a hit Sega game series in the 90s, featuring three cops, Adam, Axel and Blaze, in a crime-ridden city. Rather, a crime-overridden city, since the three had to quit the force to bring some good old-fashioned vigilante justice to the streets. Now ex-cops, the three use their hand-to-hand combat in the side-scrolling fashion retro gamers know so well. This port to the iDevice includes the same classic story, characters, and controls. In fact, Sega hasn’t really added or improved anything at all, much like putting up an old photo without cleaning off the cobwebs.

A major problem with this port is the slow movement. As with all side-scrolling games, your character moves from left to right until the game sticks you in one area and throws baddies at you from both sides. You have to move left, right, up, and down the area to fight each one of them, but this movement is often slow as molasses and about as frustrating as getting stuck in it during a game of Candy Land.

Let’s play it again in sloooow motion!

Add to that the enormous d-pad and action buttons Sega slapped on screen, and you’ll start making unreasonable wishes, like having transparent thumbs. There is an option to switch movement to the accelerometer, which is useful but still just as slow, and unless you switch the view to a tiny screen with buttons around the frame, it will still be tough to see your enemies.

At times, we enjoyed this blast from the past, and all of the old nostalgia like sweet combos and hitting thugs with bottles. We especially liked that the city is so overridden with crime that cops don’t hesitate to fire rockets into crowded areas, which is each character’s special attack. But something we missed was any ability for a friend to play along in co-op.

Remember our iPhone Gamer’s Bill of Rights? Well here’s a quick refresher: “Port games FOR the iPhone, not just ONTO the iPhone.” What we like is a game that has been ported for the iPhone, but improves or adds to the original. Streets of Rage is a good dose of nostalgia, but it feels like a hasty port, and our frustration with it has overpowered that nostalgic feeling.

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