In 1991, the Neo Geo is still a very young system, with a limited library of a dozen games. That same year, SNK develops the first VS fighting game for its machine -Fatal Fury- but also three new Beat them Up -a kind very popular back then- Robo Army, Burning Fight and Sengoku. Meanwhile, the Sega Genesis, released fall 88' in Japan, saw the arrival of two outstanding titles in its catalog: Sonic the Hedgehog and Streets of Rage. This one was first of an emblematic BTU series of the genre. Here is an opportunity for a bloody confrontation, between Neo Geo and Genesis! Both 16-bit systems are architected very similarly. The couple 68000-Z80 is used on both machines. The comparison stops there, for the Neo Geo literally crushes its competitor in terms of power. Just take a look at the 16-bits technical table to convince yourself ... SNK's console is an arcade machine, in other words the last link in the food chain of video game! Sega's baby defends itself well, but it's far to compete with this competitor. About the cartridges, Sengoku weights no less than 55 megs, against only 8 for Streets of Rage... Will we watch an execution here in this match?
With such a difference between the machines, one could imagine the difference between graphics of both games. On the one hand, we have Sengoku with its phantasmagorical backgrounds, alternating modern and medieval Japan, plus its colorful characters and huge bosses. Streets of Rage can't really match with its very, very simplistic graphics, its much smaller sprites, less detailed, and not too varied too... as well, everything is relatively dull. At the time, it didn't shock too much players: without going for 'beautiful', the game was not deemed to be super-ugly. Suffice to say that the weight of years has not spared Sega's soft. Sengoku has aged better graphically, and still stands as a nice 2-d game nowadays.
SENGOKU .................................... 86%
STREETS OF RAGE ...................... 59%
Here is a chapter where Streets of Rage can take a little revenge. Sengoku's first deflect is its stiffness, so notable that it even penalizes the gameplay significantly. It's not very decomposed either, we're just granted a good pace for action. SOR is a bit more smooth and fluid, without reaching the heights! The characters move in a somewhat more natural and swaying way, for the action is, on the other hand, less sustained than in its rival. More fun with its characters without sweeps in their asses, the game from Sega takes the advantage here.
SENGOKU .................................... 62%
STREETS OF RAGE ...................... 68%
Qualitatively, we realize that compete with the Neo Geo was simply impossible mission for the Genesis. Music, sound effects and voices are clearly the highlight of Sengoku: its warrior feudal atmosphere is excellent, packing war drums, flutes, and other cythares, for some quite epic pieces. The stages are interspersed with monologues of the Big Boss, while high-quality voices, please! As for sound effects, it rocks hard, with pretty good punches and saber sounds. Sound effects, that's precisely the weak point in Streets. Whether the blows, screams, falls and other... this is sizzling to death, and not really convincing! But still, Streets of Rage was not that pale in comparison to SNK's monster... How? With its musics! These are excellent, stikcing perfectly to the action and featuring a very, very good sampling quality. Exceptional music + awful FX, it's not enough to compete with Sengoku, who hits hard the concurrence in 1991.
SENGOKU .................................... 91%
STREETS OF RAGE ...................... 76%
Two Beat them Up games long enough, with similar lifetimes: about fifty minutes till the very end. With its difficulty, Sengoku is a real calamity: basically, the game provides about ten credits, and it's far from enough to hope finishing the game -without extensive training. So then, in-One Credit challenge, good luck! This is certainly a big challenge, but this will discourage a majority of players, even seasoned ones. Streets of Rage is much more balanced and fun to play: the CPU is sometimes big guy, but with some technical play, you get through the game without too much difficulty. It's more enjoyable than taking monumental beatings and far more pleasant for cooperation, but let's say masochists will appreciate the tremendous challenge proposed in the game from SNK.
SENGOKU .................................... 82%
STREETS OF RAGE ...................... 84%
Sengoku with its significant stiffness, is far from starting favorite for the gameplay battle. Our rivals have in common the controller's configuration: A is used to hit, B to jump, and C activates the special attack in Streets of Rage (Police!) while in SNK's soft, the same button allows transformations for the character. Three forms are possible: Kabuki Warrior, Ninja or Ninja Dog. Furthermore, a system of orbs to collect complements all this. Depending on the picked sphere, you will be temporarily grant supernatural powers, such as magic swords, fireballs or lightning attacks. A nice range of shots and opportunities! Streets of Rage meanwhile, looks more like Final Fight and features more 'traditionnal' mechanics: hit combos, jumped attacks, various throws, weapons to pick up, destructible objects... Nothing new that's right, but the game is very, very complete, and it lacks nothing that a great Beat them Up needs. Controls are better than in Sengoku and the simplicity of Sega's game, combined with its flawless gameplay, give it a landslide victory in this chapter!
SENGOKU .................................... 64%
STREETS OF RAGE ...................... 85%
The talent of Sega's programmers have triumphed over the power of Neo Geo! Like David against Goliath, the modest Genesis finally wins this match between Sengoku and Streets of Rage, thanks to its soft's intrinsic qualities. Technically out, SOR comes back to win this duel with its well-crafted gameplay. Sengoku proves stiff, awkward and too much difficult, against a more balanced opponent, smooth, providing a lot of fun with its two-players mode. SNK should not have relied too much on the power of its machine!
STREETS OF RAGE