Streets of Rage 3
Don't mess with the kangaroo.
Hardcore Sega fans that also happen to own an iPhone and/or iPad can rejoice, as the company just released Streets of Rage 3, thereby completing the classic Genesis trilogy. The third entry in the series looks and plays great on both devices, thanks to a solid emulator and the inclusion of local multiplayer via Bluetooth, giving you and a friend the chance to take down the diabolical Mr. X once and for all.
The final Streets of Rage is both superior to its predecessors and sillier, since you not only square off against a kangaroo with boxing gloves, but can also play as the punch-drunk marsupial; a guilty pleasure, to say the least.
Past that, you'll notice that Streets of Rage 3 has a more fleshed out story than the other games, while individual special attacks drain less damage. On top of that, you'll be able to execute team up attacks during multiplayer, which serve as a great counter to enemies that do the same to you.
Aside from those arguably subtle differences, the foundation that made the franchise great remains intact. It's still a 2D side scrolling beat-em-up, where the only goal is to pummel whatever street slime gets in your way, either with your fists or the various weapons (knives, swords) that you'll find hidden underneath objects.
In addition, the game has four unique characters, at least initially. Brawlers include the sexy Blaze Fielding, the rollerblade wearing Eddie "Skate" Hunter, Axel Stone and Dr. Zan Gilbert, a cyborg and former Mr. X henchman. With four different endings (depending on the difficulty), there's incentive for using each warrior.
To that end, Streets of Rage 3 is both brutal and thrilling. It lacks the cool music from Streets of Rage 2, and enemies still retreat off screen, only to retaliate with a cheap attack, but let's face it. The game is from 1994. You shouldn't expect outstanding artificial intelligence.
You can, however, expect sweet looking 16-bit graphics that still look good magnified on the iPad, and traditional beat-em-up play that helped make the 90s that much cooler, at least when it came to video games. Streets of Rage 3 lacks depth, but it's still a fun time, especially if you grew up with the series. It's a bit on the pricey side ($2.99 for such an old game makes little sense), but that's still a relatively small sum to pay for walloping bad guys as a kangaroo.
Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad. Requires iOS 3.0 or later.
What's Hot: Classic beat-em-up gameplay, multiple endings and characters, still looks good on the iPad, wireless multiplayer.
What's Not: Costs $2.99, no HD support.