Welcome to this week’s, “Sequel, Spin Off, Start Over or Stay Dead?”Â Each week we’re going to look at a dormant franchise that was once pretty popular, but for some reason has disappeared into the sands of time. Diehard GameFAN staffers will have four options for what they want to have happen to the series and you can see them in the title of this piece. For a little more detailed description see below:
Sequel – A direct sequel to the franchise. This means if it used sprites and was in 2-D, that’s how you want the next game to be as well. This might involve putting the game on a handheld system instead of a console, but it keeps the nostalgia and classic feel alive.
Spin Off – This is where you take the characters or a specific character is a totally different direction from the established franchise. Examples include Luigi’s Mansion, Hey You, Pikachu!, Shadow Hearts (From Koudelka), and so on.
Start Over – This is a reimagining of the series from the ground up. Perhaps it’s time to bring the series into 3-D. Perhaps you want a totally different control scheme or to throw away the old continuity. In a nutshell, this is taking the brand name from the old series and that’s about it. Everything else is new and re-envisioned.
Stay Dead – This is pretty obvious. This is a toxic franchise that you don’t want to see return in any way shape or form. Let the dead rest.
This week, we’re looking at a franchise that has been dead for 15 years even though the first two games in the series were amongst the most popular of the 16 bit era. Join Diehard GameFAN as we look back at Adam, Axel, Blaze and the rest of the Streets of Rage and debate what should Sega should do with this series.
Streets of Rage
Alexander Lucard – Stay Dead
Look, I love beat ’em ups. Whether it’s River City Ransom, Guardian Heroes, Batman: Arkham Asylum, or even the two Watchmen games. However, this is Sega we’re talking about. More to the point, this is Sammy Sega we’re talking about. They tend to ruin any of Sega’s classic franchises that they put their grimy mitts on.
They’ve reduced Sonic to a pathetic 3rd rate character whose name is synonymous with crap. They gave us Shadow, the dark extreme hedgehog with gun. They destroyed Shining Force with the craptacular Shining Force Neo. They gave Golden Axe to Secret Level who turned it into a mediocre title. Have you seen the newer Altered Beast games? They even managed to mess up Alien Syndrome, a series that didn’t need to be brought back in the first place.
I fear the day Sammy Sega turns their gaze upon the Sakura Taisen series, Toe Jam and Earl or Streets of Rage. With Streets of Rage, I could see them turning it into some horrible three dimensional game with lackluster controls and crappy camera angles. I don’t even trust them to farm the franchise out to another company, that’s how scarred I am by their treatment of classic franchises.
Let Streets of Rage stay dead, and let people play the original 16-Bit trilogy on the Virtual Console.
Dave Olvera – Stay Dead
I remember playing the first Streets of Rage. The side scrolling brawler was entering its golden era and Streets of Rage was Sega’s non-Golden Axe side scrolling battler. There was the blond guy, the red lady and the black guy in yellow. They each had their strengths and weaknesses and had to go outside the law to bring the big bads to justice.
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Streets of Rage and didn’t mind Streets of Rage 2 but I cannot see why anyone would want to revive a franchise in a genre that has become irrelevant to most game playing folks. The 2D side scrolling, multi-player brawler looks to be about as dead the musical as a relevant movie genre. Attempts to bring the brawler into 3D have been poor to mildly amusing and the brawler just seems to be a relic of the past (along with most mascot games save Mario [sadly]).
There is always a voice saying: add some role playing elements and maybe the game can work! I say: why? The concept of the game: going to the right and beating the crap out of things, cannot be improved that much with role playing elements. Look at the classic: Guardian Heroes. A sequel was made and was atrocious. The game already had role playing elements but nothing more could be done to improve the core game – and it was Treasure doing the work. Treasure, the same company that made the original. Treasure, the same company that has a nigh impeccable reputation. If Treasure has trouble with the side scrolling brawler what makes you think Sega-Sammy, a company that has made money by putting out grotesquely poor mockeries of their best intellectual properties, could do a capable job?
Someone would point to Yakuza and I would wonder what makes you think one relates to the other? You would have to overhaul Streets of Rage entirely, take it away from its roots and basically build an entirely new game. So would the name Streets of Rage really matter? Would it sell a few more copies because it has the Streets of Rage name?
If you are going to build something from the ground up why not go all the way? Streets of Rage is a fun little series with some nostalgia value but very little else. Sometimes it is best to leave well enough alone.
As an aside: to those of you who ask for a Phantasy Star V (proper Phantasy Star that is); no – just no. The series had a proper end. There is no need for a fifth proper Phantasy Star. One of the few things Sega has done right is to just play with Phantasy Star Online and leave the main series finished.
Mark B – Stay Dead
“But Mark,” you cry, “you LOVE beat-em-ups! You loved Beatdown! You gave TMNT: Turtles in Time Re-Shelled a solid review! How could you POSSIBLY want Streets of Rage to stay dead?”
Simple: because I know that the resulting game would either be awesome and everyone would shit all over it, or it’d be awful.
There are three potential ways Sega could re-make Streets of Rage, be it a sequel, a new game, or some sort of spin-off property:
1.) do it as a straight 2D beat-em-up, which I would inevitably love but the world would crap on because “it’s so boring” because it’s a game that’s based around the mechanics of pressing one or two buttons for four hours, because that’s kind of the point;
2.) use the Yakuza engine to remake the game as a 3D beat-em-up, which reviewers would score well and I would love, but no one would buy because they’re too busy spending money on Madden or something, I don’t know; or
3.) give it to someone else who makes it into something like Golden Axe: Beast Rider,
and given those options, I’d sooner Sega just leave the series dead than make a game no one buys or give the series to a company who pops out an abomination clothed in childhood nostalgia.
Chuck Platt – Start Over
The idea is so simple, really. Two or three tough, but misunderstood, cops take on wave after wave of gangs straight out of the Warriors. I cannot see a reason not to continue in this direction with a new take on the series. 3-D brawlers CAN work. Look at Batman: Arkham Asylum. A slick, fast-paced Streets of Rage game would make my year, especially if the soundtrack was as awesome as the first two. Sadly, I fear SEGA would find a way to ruin this beautiful idea.
Mohammad -Start Over
The last Streets of Rage title came out back in 1994 and the series isn’t popular enough to warrant a Megaman 9 retro-styled sequel 15 years after the series died.
So scrap it and start over. Just have Adam, Axel and Blaze as selectable characters and get rid of all those silly cyborgs, skate kids and boxing Kangaroos. Add in all new moves, grapples,weapons and other assorted ways to bring vigilante justice to the streets.
Finally, keep it 2D with HD graphics, hell forget HD if it’s too expensive, Warioland:Shake It and Muramasa:The Demon Blade look great without being in HD.
What if it sucks? Well, it’s not like the older games magically got shittier overnight. They’ll still be there for you to enjoy them.
A.J. Hess – Start over
I’d be happy with a competent brawler. Same thing goes for Final Fight, Double Dragon, etc. Is there a caveat? Well duh. Unless you’re going to re-release it as a downloadable arcade game, I would want a major overhaul. I guess I’m fantasizing about some sort of side-scrolling UFC Unleashed. I want dozens and dozens of moves, and different characters with different styles. I’d max out with four or five enemies per fight, but each encounter being a brutally tactical fight. I might also be thinking of a co-op version of Batman: Arkham Asylum, so I should probably just go back to playing that.
Chris Bowen – Start Over
Streets of Rage is kinda like Phantasy Star; to just say “GIVE US ANOTHER SEQUEL” is fairly ignorant to the original source material. While it’d be nice to have a “sequel” to Streets of Rage, I’d say that once you start bringing in an old man who’s a cyborg and a boxing kangaroo as playable characters, the series is fairly exhausted at that point. Besides, Sega was already outdone here; the freeware Streets of Rage Remake Project incorporates gameplay elements from 2 and 3 into the same game, and does it better to boot. It’s a fantastic game. Therefore, a sequel has already been made.
But as the success of the TMNT Arcade games has shown, there’s still a market in old-school beat ’em ups, as long as they’re done properly (which I would argue, TMNT: Turtles in Time was NOT done properly). Streets of Rage could be applied to a totally new game, with a new story, add in the popular characters (get rid of Zan, Max and the damn Kangaroo), and a 2D graphical overhaul (no Freedom Force issues, kiddies!), and you could have a winner. Would it be relegated to XBLA and the PSN like the TMNT remake was? Maybe. But I’d buy it.
Start Over – 4
Stay Dead – 3
Spin Off – 0
Well, Streets of Rage appears to be pretty decisive. We either seem to want it overhauled or left to gather cobwebs. Next week, we’ll be looking at the first of four horror games to celebrate the month of October. Until then, I’ve got to words for you: Roberta Williams.
Tags: Sequel Spin Off Start Over or Stay Dead?