A Morale Choice
One of the many reasons why Streets of Rage had such an impact on me was the morale choice it gave me during the final few moments of the game. Sure, I was nine years old. The biggest choice I ever had to make before then was whether or not I preferred Leonardo or Donatello (I still can’t decide), but Streets of Rage offered something different.
When you reach the final boss, Mr X, he is casually sat in his throne waiting for you. Instead of jumping straight into battle, he asks you if you would like to become his ‘right-hand’ man.
It seems crazy to admit, but this had such an effect on me the first time. I was really conflicted. Never had a videogame presented me with such a choice. Do I do the honourable thing and say ‘No’ and risk being defeated when I was so close to the end. Or should I take the easier way out, say ‘Yes’ and become the bad guy? It is a moment that will stay with me forever, as far as video games are concerned.
It turns out, however, that whichever option you choose you will still have to defeat Mr X, you just get a different ending depending on your choice. But the confliction it presented was something truly unique for its time. Even now it sends a shiver down my spine thinking about it.
Beats of Rage
One of the main reasons why I adore this game so much is because of its killer soundtrack. Yuzo Koshiro is a pure genius. What he was able to do with the Megadrive’s sound chip is nothing short of jaw dropping. His use of electric synth beats and jazz-esque rhythm’s really brings the game to life and shows that even on a 16 bit console, you can create some of the best video game music ever.
Here’s a selection of some of my favourite tracks from the game:
Fighting in the Street
The music that plays during Round 1. The slow bass that gradually builds up into a furore of electronic beats really sets the scene. Its preparing you for the journey ahead and is such a great way to start off the game.
Attack the Barbarian
The music that plays during a boss encounter. The warning air-raid siring at the start really gets your heart racing as you know you have reached a formidable foe. Throw in some drum beats, electric keyboard and the popular 80′s/90′s ‘uh’ sound bite and you have one of the best boss themes of all time.
The Last Soul
The music of the final stage. The foreboding, deep, beats couldn’t be more apt. Working your way through the final stage, taking on every enemy and boss you previously encountered, whilst accompanied by the music is simply perfect. Eerily delicious.
Streets of Rage panned two further sequels on the MegaDrive. Whilst Streets of Rage 3 was a little hit and miss, Streets of Rage 2 is considered the superior game of the series to many. I’d have to agree! With improved graphics, more characters, moves and items…it really was an exceptional game.
Even though I say Streets of Rage 2 is the better game, the first game will always hold a place in my heart, and it does have the better overall soundtrack. However, saying that I do think Streets of Rage 2 has THE BEST PIECE of gaming music of ALL TIME!! And no, that is not an exaggeration.
The ending theme to Streets of Rage 2 is a genuine masterpiece and is a tune that I believe needs a lot more recognition. So sit back, click play and let your ears melt in the delight:
This track is actually titled ‘Good End’, which I think is a perfect way to end this Origin. Its scary to think that Streets of Rage is now 22 years old, but for a game of that age to still leave such an impression on me is something truly special. Thank you SEGA. When will you give us Streets of Rage 4?
So there you have it. The reason I got into gaming. What do you think? Did you play Streets of Rage? Are you even old enough to remember it? Let me know in the comments below.