I think I’m in the minority when it comes to my preference of the original Streets of Rage over its more popular sequel. I admit the presentation and gameplay isn’t (naturally) as refined, but the game made a much larger impact on me upon its release, and that has given it the higher spot in my personal ranking. I also prefer its soundtrack over that of Streets of Rage 2, as great as that one’s is.
I was thus quite excited to see the first Streets of Rage get a release as part of the Sega Forever lineup. As wonderful as it is on console, the game also performs admirably as portable fun that one can simply boot up at any time. It looks and sounds great, though it’s almost a shame to play it using earphones. I have often found myself making extensive use of my car radio’s Bluetooth function to blast the soundtrack while driving. Yuzo Koshiro simply outdid himself here, and being able to play his amazing tracks wherever and whenever I want is something that was simply inconceivable back in 1991. The Sega Forever game is perfect for enjoying its music this way. I haven’t had any issues with the sound quality with this version, and the audio sounds crisp and clean overall.
Streets of Rage’s gameplay is just as good, working well with the digital D-pad. As with just about all Sega Forever releases, there’s the option to use an external controller, but I didn’t feel it was necessary. The beat-‘em-up action is slow-paced, so the D-pad doesn’t get a chance to work against you as it might in a quick twitch game. The controls are customizable too, for those who have a different preference than the default setup.
Overall, I would recommend a download to anyone wanting to play some classic Sega brawling action on the go. Streets of Rage is the kind of game that needn’t be played in a single setting, thanks to the built-in save feature. A single level can be enjoyed at a time, making this release a worthy one.