Monday, May 16, 2011

Streets of Rage Remake Released After Eight Years in Development; Sega Gets Jealous and Punches it in the Face

If you’re a child of the ‘80s or ‘90s and your parents were awesome enough to let you play video games, you’re probably familiar with an all-but-dead genre that used to command the upmost respect: the beat-‘em-up. If you’re a longtime reader of this blog (or you know how to read back posts), you’ve already seen my forays into beat-‘em-up territory, including games like the vaguely homoerotic Rival Turf!, Capcom’s immortal Final Fight, and of course, David Robinson’s Supreme Court.

SoR1 Blaze
But the beat-‘em-up that really stole my heart (and then bludgeoned it with a steel pipe) was the Streets of Rage series, known in Japan as “Bare Knuckle.” Christmas of 1992 brought me the face-smashing, punk-thrashing joy that is Streets of Rage, one of Sega’s finest offerings. Less than a year later, my buddy Ian, his older brother Eric and I used to spend hours on Streets of Rage 2, pounding our way through the angry hordes and catching up on the latest jokes and dramas of the fifth grade. There was also a third game, but as everyone and his friend Gertrude knows, Sega butchered it for its release outside of Japan. Ian and I didn’t play that one much, but it did add a few cool things to the mix.

After a few aborted attempts at a fourth trip to the mean streets, Sega seemed to have forgotten its once mighty fighting franchise, like so many of its best 16-bit properties. Enter Spanish-speaking programmer Eduard Luna Bolano, better known as Bomberlink, and the greatest fangame ever created: Streets of Rage Remake.

Since its inception in 2003, Street s of Rage Remake was built from the ground up, borrowing not a single line of code from the original Genesis (Mega Drive) trilogy. It features64 enemies from Streets 1, 2, 3 and even some new ones, as well as more than 80 remixed and original songs, 112 stages spanning all three games and 19 playable characters, from SoR 1 Axel and Blaze to Adam, Skate and Dr. Zan. Nearly every character from the series is represented – many with more than one incarnation.

Hey, look... it's EVERYONE!

Streets of Rage Remake plays just like SoR 2/3 and is guaranteed to give you a fangasm – it’s every bit as good as Sega could have made Streets of Rage 4, had they decided to go 2D on the Saturn. In fact, it’s probably even better…

Which might be why Sega shut it down.

That’s right: After more than a decade and a half ignoring the Streets of Rage series – and, in fact, this very fangame – Sega got its panties in a twist when Bomberlink released version 5 of his button mashing masterpiece. Less than a week after it was released, and after Bomberlink had asked and seemingly received permission from Sega to release the game, the Home the Sonic Built sent out a cease and desist letter to Bolano and friends telling them to remove the download link from his website.

Get 'em, Blaze!

So after eight years of work, Sega only now has an issue with Streets of Rage Remake. Normally, this is where I’d provide you a download link to one of the best games ever, but under Sega’s orders, it’s against my morals. As someone who follows the law to the letter, I simply couldn’t tell you where to download Bomberlink’s magnum opus, even if I knew.

Let’s all take a moment to mourn what once was and now is lost. Dear Axel, you’ve punched your way into my heart and been taken from me all too soon.
*   *   *

Yeah, so, I wrote the guide to Streets of Rage 2 about 10 years ago and I have no other place to post it. So... yeah. I hope you like Axel. Feel free to skip this and play SoRR if you somehow found a download link. If you don't love SoR2, just stop reading now. But if you do love it...
- AXEL -
Axel is the best fighter in the game, due to his hard hitting combos, his useful specials, and his flowing pretty-boy hair. Gotta love that hair.
Normal Attacks:

Fury: Tap the B button four times - two quick jabs, a straight punch, and a double kick

The problem with this one is that, much of the time, the second kick of the double kick is lost; it simply doesn’t happen most times. While the second kick is seemingly random, after years of playing SoR2, I think it has to do with the distance you are from your adversary. The distance is hard to get right, so you’re better off skipping the kicks all together and tacking on some other knockdown move, like the Grand Upper. Or, perhaps you could try insulting your enemies instead of hitting them. I find that yelling obscenities at the screen is often more effective that using the controller. …no, wait, that’s what I do to my grandpa when I need money. Bless his wrinkled heart.

Power Blow: Press and hold the B button, then release - Double kick
Here’s that infamous double kick I was talking about. However, when you use the charge version, both kicks occur every time -- regardless of distance. This is good for taking out those annoying Galsias. The only problem is that it takes about a second to charge, so you’re forced to use nothing but back-attacks to keep enemies at bay during that time. Use this move when you’re sure you won’t get in trouble. This best for taking out single fighters in sparsely populated screens. Leave crowd control up to moves like the jump-kick and back throw.


Hold B and press C - Back Fist (AKA: The Backhand, Reverse Punch, Axel’s Crappist Attack, etc.)
This isn’t that useful. Come to think of it, none of the back-attacks in this game are, except maybe Blaze’s. Anyway, it doesn’t provide complete protection like the Dragon Wing, but it can save you if there’s someone coming up behind you and you need a quick knockdown. Also, it doesn’t cost you any of your life gauge to use like the Dragon Wing does. Use it if you’re low on energy and can’t do the Dragon Wing instead.


Tap toward twice, then tap B - Grand Upper
This is great. It knocks down attackers, takes off a nice chunk of energy, and is relatively safe. Also, Axel yells something in mangled English when he does this attack that sounds like he’s exclaiming “Grab some pot.” Grab some pot indeed, Axel. See, winners really do use drugs! Well, assuming you’re able to defeat the game.

Jumping Attacks:

Stationary: Tap the C button, then the B button - Vertical Kick
I love this kick, even though I know I shouldn’t. It’s quick, it hits twice, and often it’s a more reliable way to end the normal cycle of attacks with two hits. That’s because, unlike the Double Kick, there’s a much better chance that both hits will register. Just be careful that a Donovan doesn’t uppercut you out of it. Try to do it when there aren’t a bunch of enemies around. You’re pretty open to attack while you’re flailing about in the air like that. Also make sure that you’re close enough for both hits to connect, otherwise one hit misses and the enemy recovers while you’re still in mid-air. Then they punch you because they’re mean like that. If this move is done extremely close to the ground, Axel will only do the knee part of the attack.

Directed Jump Kick: Hold toward, tap the C button, then the B button - Jumping Side Kick
While it doesn’t do much damage, this is great for safely taking out enemies with little health left. It’s also great for crowd control. Just be careful that a Donovan doesn’t uppercut you or a samurai doesn’t kick you out of it.

Down Attack: Hold toward (or remain stationary), tap the C button, then hold down and tap the B button - Knee Press
This is awesome for starting a combo with. It doesn’t knock down like your normal jump kick, so if timed right, the enemy will still be reeling from the Knee Press when you land. Thus, you are free to continue pummeling him or her, as long as they didn’t use some sort of crazy anti-air move on you; the game loves to do that on the harder difficulties.

While Holding an Opponent:

Hold away from the attacker and tap the B button - Back Throw
This throw is Axel’s main weapon as far as crowd control goes. If there’s a bunch of guys coming up behind you, just toss someone into them to knock them all down and buy yourself some time.

Vault over your opponent by grabbing them and hitting the C button (or simply grab them from behind) and press the B button - Body Slam
This one is good for damaging a single enemy and it’s slightly more powerful then the Back Throw. Use it on Galsias to take them out quickly, but don’t waste your effort vaulting if there are too many attackers around – it’s more effective to use the Back Throw.

Grab opponent, wait a second, and press the B button - Power Blow Headbutt
Eh, what can I say? It’s slow, boring and it only does moderate damage. Use something else.

Grab opponent, hold toward, tap B three times - Quarda-Knee
The Quadra-Knee looks cool, but does less damage than the double knee/headbutt combo described below. However, maximum damage is never achieved by following through with the “smash the B button” combos. Follow the first two knees up with a throw to maximize your damage potential. To maximize your earning potential, stop playing video games and get a job.

Grab opponent, hold toward, tap B twice, stop holding toward, tap B - Two Knees and a Headbutt
It’s much better to follow up the two knee strikes with a throw. The headbutt does some nice damage, but it doesn’t have the advantages of a throw. Vault over your opponent and Body Slam them from behind for maximum damage to a single thug, or use the Back Throw to control a crowd.

Special Attacks:

There’s a small health penalty for using a special attack, so use them sparingly.

Stationary: Tap the A button - Dragon Wing
This attack is great for dealing with enemies on all sides. In fact, during the Dragon Wing, Axel is virtually invincible. This attack is the key to defeating many of the more annoying bosses, such as Souther and Jet. Also, if you’re grabbed by a biker, use this to break out.

Directed: Hold toward, and tap the A button - Dragon Smash
This mother is nasty. Axel does a series of punches, followed by a Dragon Punch like move I like to call “Ryu-ripoff-ken.” It does positively *freakish* amounts of damage and is well worth the health gauge penalty for its use, assuming that all the punches connect. Using this when there are a lot of enemies around is a no-no, and bosses like Shiva just laugh at you after the first few hits and knock you out of it. Your back is left completely unguarded during the Dragon Smash, so make sure there’s no one coming up behind you when you use it. Well, unless it’s someone sexy. Then I’d just let them hit me in hopes of getting their phone number after the fighting stopped.


Knife/Ninja Dagger - Only doing a single stab, Axel achieves almost negligible damage with the knife. However, he also scores a very quick knockdown. Use it in a claustrophobic situation to buy time. Otherwise, it’s better off being thrown at a distant enemy. Note: Surprisingly, knives can be somewhat useful against Particle, Molecule and friends at the end of Round 7 – because God knows those damn robots love to throw maces at you, and this might be just what you need to disrupt them. Let the Soya throw a bunch of them on the elevator and save them for the ‘bots.

Lead Pipe - Each cumbersome swing yields decent damage. However, it takes awhile for the swing to actually hit the opponent. Thus, the more advanced your opponent is, the higher the chance you’ll be hit out of the attack before its completion. Use the lead pipe to take out lone Galsias and Donovans, as well as that pesky Col. Mustard.

Katana - This is Axel’s best choice as far as weaponry goes, doing an assload of damage verses all who are unfortunate enough to be caught in its path. However, it takes just about as long to attack with as the lead pipe, so the same precautions should be taken. The risk is worth it for the massive damage.

Bombs - Don’t even bother with bombs. They explode too quickly to be of any use. If you do pick one up, get the hell rid of it and get out of the blast radius. They are truly more trouble than they’re worth, just like relationships and traffic lights.


The combos described below are in their complete form. You might find it useful to remove the Knee Press and start the combo on the ground. You may also find it useful to remove one or two of the punches or knee slams in the middle. Technically, you only need one as a stopgap to the next attack anyway.

“Air Raid” - Jump in with a Knee Press, tap the B button three times, Vertical Jump Kick
This one is quick and does some good damage. You might find it easier to do if you omit the third punch, as it flows easier this way. Tap the B button when you land from the Vertical Jump Kick, and Axel will perform either one or both of his double kicks, (assuming you jumped after the third punch) or his Straight Punch (if you jumped after only two punches). If there’s anyone in front of you at this point, doing this will make them less than happy. Can be confusing to human opponents, but the computer tends to knock you out of the air if you’re not careful.

“Grab Some Pot” - Jump in with a Knee Press, tap the B button three times, Grand Upper
This combo is fun because Axel sounds like he’s saying “grab some pot” at the end. Also, the Grand Upper will knock down anyone who tries to weasel their way in close to you during the earlier parts of the combo. Pretty powerful.

“Really Stupid Backfist Combo” - Jump in with a Knee Press, tap the B button three times, tap away, Backfist
This one is hard to do and fairly useless, just like trigonometry. I included it in the interest of being thorough. The only real advantage is that it scores a knockdown, but so would smashing the B button one more time for the Double Kick. Use it to make the second player think you’re nuts.

“Hyper Dragon Wing” - Jump in with a Knee Press, tap the B button three times, Dragon Wing
Use this only if you’re suddenly surrounded. Why waste health gauge if you’re not getting attacked from all sides and need a quick way out?

“Hyper Dragon Smash” - Jump in with a Knee Press, tap the B button three times, Dragon Smash
This is Axel’s most damaging combo; it knocks off about 95% of a life bar if done correctly. This is great for bosses who can’t hit you out of it somehow. (Examples: That dastardly Burbon will kick you out of combos, Abadede will eventually throw his arms in the air and knock you out, etc.) The only downside is that it takes off a little of your life gauge to perform. Oh, yeah – and you’ll be helpless against attacks from behind, just like a little kitten. Use with caution or on stupid people.

“Crowds Be Gone” - Jump in with a Knee Press, grab opponent, hold toward, tap the B button twice, Back Throw
Good for getting rid of crowds, as well as really screwing over the guy you do the combo on. This should be your weapon of choice when you see some thugs sneaking up behind you as you’re trying to trash someone else.

“Vault ‘n Slam” - Jump in with a Knee Press, grab opponent, hold toward, tap the B button twice, tap the C button to vault over your opponent, Body Slam
Use this if you’re getting tired of using the other ones. There’s nothing special about it, but there’s also nothing wrong with it.

“Multi-Knees of Death” - Jump in with a Knee Press, grab opponent, hold toward, tap the B button three times

“Boring HeadButt Combo” - Jump in with a Knee Press, grab opponent, hold toward, tap B twice, stop holding toward, tap B
It’s okay, but for the love of God, use a throw to end all grapples.

“Grapple Wing” - Jump in with a Knee Press, grab opponent, hold toward, tap the B button twice, Dragon Wing
Use this if you suddenly find yourself surrounded while attempting a stronger combo. Otherwise, God knows why you’d use this one when you could be using the…

“Dragon Buster” - Jump in with a Knee Press, grab opponent, hold toward, tap the B button twice, Dragon Smash
This is almost as good as Axel’s “Hyper Dragon Smash” combo, with the added bonus of a slightly quicker execution time. The only problem is the time it takes to perform it, as well as the life gauge penalty. Make sure no one is behind you, then let ‘er rip -- kind of like in real life.

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