Streets Of Rage 3

Year: 1994
Alternate Title: Bare Knuckle III (Japan)
Platform: Genesis
Publisher: Sega
Genre: Action/adventure
Rating: ***

A serious letdown after the fantastic "Streets Of Rage 2." Mr. X is at it again, this time replacing key political figures with his own evil cyborgs. (gee, doesn't this guy ever quit?) Blaze Fielding has a new job as a private detective, and she decides to call on her old friends Axel and Skate to help with the case. The team is also aided by the mysterious cyborg, Dr. Zan, who knows the whereabouts of Mr. X's secret laboratory. The game adds a few new moves, but the controls are noticeably sloppy (if only they'd stuck with the previous engine!). For the most part, the graphics are good, but often times the color schemes are downright awful. Yuzo Koshiro's score has a couple of nice pieces in it, but most of the music is either unremarkable or just plain bad. The only real improvement over "Streets Of Rage 2" is that Blaze's outfit is much better, trading the elf shoes for a sexy pair of ass-kicking boots. Interestingly, Blaze wears her traditional red outfit in the Japanese version of the game, while the American version features her in a silver outfit. The Japanese version also features animated blood and a mini-boss named Ash, both of which were removed from the American release of the game. So, when is Sega going to revive this franchise and do "Streets Of Rage 4?"