|Streets of Rage 3|
|Developer: Sega CS|
|System(s): Sega Mega Drive, Virtual Console, iOS, Steam|
|Sound driver: Ancient Music Driver MD|
|Peripherals supported: Six button pad|
|Number of players: 1-2|
Streets of Rage 3, called Bare Knuckle III (ベアナックルIII) in Japan, is a side-scrolling beat 'em up released by Sega in 1994 for the Sega Mega Drive. It is third and final part of the Streets of Rage trilogy, and a direct sequel to Streets of Rage 2.
Streets of Rage 3 aimed to build on the success of its predecessor, so while the style of gameplay and control scheme is largely identical to its predecessors, significant changes were made to the overall structure of the game. Streets of Rage 3 is a faster paced release with longer levels, a more complex plot (which in turn leads to more in-depth scenarios complete with interactive levels and multiple endings) and the return of traps such as pits. Dash and dodge moves were added to each character's arsenal of moves, and weapons can now only be used for a few times before breaking.
Changes to the fighting mechanics allows for the integration of weapons with certain movesets. Team attacks, absent from Streets of Rage 2 but available in the original Streets of Rage, make a return, and are occasionally used by enemies too. Blitz moves, performed while running, have also been altered and are now upgradable over the course of the game (predicated on how many points are earned per level). Death causes a downgrade, however holding the button before a series of button combinations can give players access to the upgraded moveset at any point in the game, at the expense of the time taken to perform attacks.
Enemies are also smarter with weapons, and some can even steal health upgrades, and there are also several secret playable characters, unlockable after overcoming certain conditions during the game. Special moves also no longer drain the user's health - a separate, automatically regenerating bar is introduced for this purpose.
Prototype screenshots show that at one point, a motorcycle stage was planned for Streets of Rage 3, with some leftover code being present in the final game ROM. It is unknown why this feature was axed.
In comparison to its predecessors, Streets of Rage 3 takes a radically different approach to its soundtrack. Though still composed by Yuzo Koshiro, it is heavily influenced by Detroit's hard techno scene, popular in Tokyo dance clubs of the time. The soundtrack gathered a mixed reception in 1994, though is retrospectively considered by many to have been ahead of its time, containing elements similar to the "trance" era of dance music which would grow in popularity in the coming months and years.
Koshiro developed a composition system for this game, called the "Automated Composing System". Using features such as a random note generator (programmed in C++) , the soundtrack has a much more experimental tone, particularly noticeable in tracks such as "Bulldozer", whose composition is almost entirely randomised.
Like its predecessor, Motohiro Kawashima also contributed to the game's soundtrack.
Streets of Rage 3 is a controversial game among many thanks to Sega of America's heavy-handed localisation policies of the era. Unlike previous releases, the differences between Bare Knuckle III and Streets of Rage 3 are extremely obvious, involving the removal of features, a vastly different story (riddled in plotholes and missing scenes) and a higher level of difficulty (made worse by the fact that on the "easy" setting, the overseas release will stop after stage 5).
Of particular note is the use of "gender neutral colours" amongst the character sprites, which leads to inconsistencies with both Streets of Rage's cover art (in all regions) and the designs in previous games. Scantily clad female characters were covered up an entire miniboss (Ash) was removed due to his perceived homosexuality. These and other changes ultimately hurt critical reception in Europe and North America, with some reviewers urging Streets of Rage series fans import Bare Knuckle III or skip this title entirely.
Today, an unofficial fan translation is available for the Bare Knuckle III ROM, whose script was used with the permission of the original author. Other hacks bring back the lost motorbike stages and additional areas of round 6 which were originally removed in the western releases of the game.
Compared to its prequels, Streets of Rage 3 is a less common and more expensive game to find in its original Mega Drive form. It has, however, been released for the Japanese version of Sonic Gems Collection for the GameCube and PlayStation 2. The game also appeared in Sega Mega Drive Ultimate Collection for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The game has also been released on the Wii Virtual Console, iOS and Steam. The iOS version was removed from sale on iTunes in 2015.
Either by design choice or oversight, back attacks ( button or + button) give a very high amount of score in relation to the damage they do. Score focused gameplay therefore focuses on (ideally only consist of) back attacks. This is different from the prequel, where throws gave the highest amount of score.
|Sega Retro Average|
| Based on|
|Mega Drive, SE (rental)|
|Games in the Streets of Rage Series|
|Streets of Rage (1991) | Streets of Rage 2 (1992) | Streets of Rage 3 (1994)|
|Streets of Rage (1992) | Streets of Rage 2 (1993)|
|Streets of Rage (1993) | Streets of Rage II (1994)|
|Streets of Rage (1993)|
|Streets of Rage 2 (2007) | Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage (2012)|
|Bare Knuckle Mobile (2010)|
|Streets of Rage 2 (2011)|
|3D Streets of Rage (2013) | 3D Streets of Rage 2 (2015)|
|Fighting Force (unreleased) | Streets of Rage 4 (unreleased)|
|Bare Knuckle (1991) | Streets of Rage 2 Original Soundtrack (1993/2000) | Bare Knuckle III (1994) | Bare Knuckle Original Soundtrack (2012) | Streets of Rage (2015) | Streets of Rage 2 (2016)|
|Streets of Rage: Bad City Fighters (1994)|