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From left to right: Adam, Axel, and Blaze (before she got thicc).
This city was once a happy, peaceful place... until one day, a powerful secret criminal organization took over. This vicious syndicate soon had control of the government and even the police force. The city has become the center of violence and crime where no one is safe.

Amid this turmoil, a group of determined young police officers has sworn to clean up the city. Among them are Adam Hunter, Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding. They are willing to risk anything... even their lives... on the...

Streets of Rage
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Streets of Rage (Bare Knuckle in Japan) is a series of side-scrolling beat-em-ups made by Sega for the Genesis/MegaDrive. Set in the fictional Wood Oak City, it stars three ex-cops, Axel, Blaze, and Adam. With the help of some friends, they set out to free their town from gang violence.

As often happens in these types of games, the series was pretty-grounded at first, but it got campier as time went on: The mob's reach is long, and many criminals have weapons and powers bordering on the fantastic. The boss behind the crime wave, Mr. X, is one of more-persistent video game villains, eventually being reduced to a robot and a Brain in a Jar. Even after he becomes Deader Than Dead, he is survived by two children, Mr. and Ms. Y, who fill the void in Streets of Rage 4.

Games in the series

  • Streets of Rage, released in 1991 and first entry into series which follows the adventures of the three ex-cops trying to stop the syndicate that has wormed its way into the Wood Oak City. Allows you to play as Adam Hunter, a boxer, Axel Stone, a martial artist, and Blaze Fielding, a judo expert. There was very little difference between the three characters beyond aesthetics, with special attacks being player specific rather than character specific. This was the only installment where Adam was playable until Streets of Rage 4.
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  • Streets of Rage 2, released in 1992. The story to this one sees the return of Mr. X who kidnaps Adam as revenge for what happened in the first game, baiting Axel and Blaze to save him. Two new characters were added: Skate, Adam's younger brother, and Max "Thunder" Hatchett, a wrestler who was friends with Axel. The game had bigger sprites, and the characters' movesets and differences were expanded. Rather than a screen-clearing special attack, the characters had individualized special moves at the cost of a bit of health.
  • Streets of Rage 3, which was released in 1994 and where the series gets a little... weird. The plot seeing public officials being replaced by robots with our heroes trying to track down who's responsible. Axel, Blaze, and Skate are joined by Dr. Zan, a cyborg with electrical powers. Two boss characters are also secret playable characters. The special move system was modified somewhat in this game so special moves now only cost health when used before the charge bar at the top was full.
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  • Streets of Rage 4, released in 2020 on the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC via Steam after years of rumors and cancellations. It's a co-production between Guard Crush Games, the team behind Streets of Fury, and Lizardcube who previously revived another Sega property with the 2017 remake of Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap. Mr. X's heirs, Mr. and Ms. Y, try to continue where he left off. The original trio, Axel, Blaze and Adam, return in response and they are joined by new characters Cherry Hunter, daughter of Adam, and Floyd Iraia, cybernetic grappler with connections to Dr. Zan. New gameplay systems include a juggle combo feature that lets you bounce enemies off the edge of the screen or other objects in the environment and a modified special system that allows you to earn back the health you spend to execute the move. You can also cash in special star items to perform an even more powerful special attack that blasts enemies nearby and sets them into a juggle state.

Since the original Streets of Rage was released shortly after the Super Nintendo Entertainment System port of Final Fight, the two titles were seen as dueling games during the 16-bit era, as Capcom would later produce two straight-to-SNES sequels to Final Fight around the same time Sega released their own Streets of Rage sequels for the Genesis.note 

If you want to try out the first three games for yourself, these options are available: for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, you can purchase Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection containing all three games in the series. The second game is also available on PlayStation Network while Xbox Live Arcade has Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage, which is also bundled with all three games plus some added features such the ability to play the Japanese and European versions of these games. For Windows PC users, the entire series can be purchased on Steam individually or the SEGA Genesis Classics Packs (Pack 4 has Streets of Rage and Streets of Rage 2 while Pack 5 has Streets of Rage 3). The first Streets of Rage is also available on iOS and Android. Finally, stereoscopic 3D versions of Streets of Rage and Streets of Rage 2 are available for the Nintendo 3DS via the Nintendo eShop.

In 2011, Spanish fan developer group Bomber Games released a fan remake called Streets of Rage Remake. Tropes for that game go there.


The series exhibits the following tropes:

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     General 
  • 1-Up: Rarely found in some stages, with a different appearance across the series. The first game's 1-up is an icon of the heroes grouped together, a simple 1-up icon in the second game, and icon of Adam in the third game. the fourth game does away with them, instead awarding them at certain point thresholds.
  • Action Girl: Blaze is amongst one of the best known examples of the the beat 'em up genre. While technically preceded by Tyris Flare, Blaze is the first female beat 'em up character who mostly used bare hands (and legs) to kick ass. The fourth game has her joined by Cherry.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Blaze, at least in her depiction on the Japanese cover art of 2 and the American cover art of 3. Stage 2 of the first game also features several posters showing what appears to be a female bodybuilder, although it's unclear if she plays the trope straight or is instead a Brawn Hilda.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore:
    • While the Japanese covers are no less hardcore, though in more "Heroes about to punch you" style, the Western covers are more action packed.
    • The time-out ending in Streets of Rage 3. In the Japanese version, even though an entire city gets nuked, the citizens forgive the heroes (after all, the heroes tried) and feel that this incident will be forgotten with time. Contrast with the American version, where despite the lower death toll, the citizens' trust in the heroes is heavily damaged.
  • Anti-Frustration Features:
    • SOR2: The following is why this is considered to be much easier than the previous:
      • All enemies have lifebars. Boss lifebars are improved to where they accurately read the health instead of second-guessing the early stages of the fight.
      • Not having dual bosses when in 2-player mode, which was heavily notable in the previous installment.
      • A special move that drains health. While the police assist can kill all enemies on-screen and cut half a visible lifebar of a boss, special moves are far from being limited in usage. Special moves can dish out almost a full lifebar against single when used right, can clear an area to give you more spacing, and give some invincibility during the motion.
      • An additional blitz attack (forward-forward-attack). It has similar properties to a special move to a lesser degree, but you don't lose health. Axel spamming Grand Upper is quite common to complete the game with ease.
      • Increased damage to throws. Max is definitely no exception.
    • SOR3: Even though this game is harder than SOR2, there are some noticeable relief:
      • No more clock timer that could make you lose a life when time runs out.
      • A special move timer bar. Once full, using a special move does not drain health.
      • Blitz moves can be upgraded.
      • Falling into pits only takes out a small proportion of your heath instead of instant lose a life.
      • Vertical dodging. Very useful, especially when in a pinch.
      • All characters can now run.
      • When you're outrunning the bulldozer, it will back off for a moment if you get hit by it. During the final fight against Robot Y, the timer will briefly pause when you respawn after losing a life.
    • SOR4: To make this more accessible to players, here are the more recognizable ones:
      • While there is no special meter like the previous, doing a special move temporarily drains your health. You can recover the lost green health once you hit enemies or objects consistently without getting hit.
      • A super move that requires a star. Super moves behave almost like a police assist from SOR1, but with limited range and less damage. Unlike specials, however, super moves completely break through everything and knocks enemies down while making you fully invulnerable throughout the motion. This includes enemies and bosses...:
      • ... carrying shields.
      • ... dodging out of harm's way to avoid getting hit.
      • ... bulking up and temporarily flashing at certain times.
      • ... focusing for a certain attack, which leaves them unable to flinch in the process.
      • ... unleashing a strong attack while invincible throughout the animation.
      • Players can select characters before starting a level. Yes, even unlocked characters.
      • Rather than continues, 4 instead treats each level as a new session and gives you a set amount of lives to start off with along (depending on chosen difficulty) with the ability to earn more lives as you score. If you run out of lives, you restart the level with the option of taking assists to make life easier for yourself. This way you don't need to beat the game in one sitting on a limited number of continues.
      • 4 introduces a combo system that gives you points for defeating enemies. But the points are not dependent on how many hits you make in your combo, but the damage you cause to your foes. This means that using weapons or throwing enemies into pits is not only a viable tactic, but it will increase your score much faster than just sticking to basic punches.
      • The combo counter will be paused when the camera pans to show off enemies or a point of interest, which can help keep your high combos going without the game unintentionally destroying it.
      • If you play with friendly fire enabled, damage caused by one player onto another will drain their health, but they can regain it back in the same fashion as regaining health after using a special attack.
      • Entering the secret areas will have your health fully restored to give you a fighting chance since losing all your health in said area will kick you back to the main stage. Likewise, entering secret areas will also bring your partner back if they had ran out of lives previously.
      • When playing co-op, certain bosses will summon mooks to aid them whereas they do not in single player. Should you reach the boss alone due to your partner(s) losing all their lives, the boss will not summon their mooks.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Shiva and the martial artist enemies.
  • Art Evolution: The first two games have a colorful, if generic design for the levels and the characters. The third game uses a more muted color palette and everything is drawn (for its time) realistically. The fourth game takes a drastic art shift by making everything look like a comic book.
  • Artificial Brilliance: It's rather understated, but for a Beat 'em Up these enemies can seriously be tricky if you go over Normal (or play Streets of Rage 3 in general). They will occasionally abuse the hell out of their invulnerability frames and know how to circle around and attack you when you've left yourself open, refusing to come back onto the screen straight into your fists if they can help it. Bosses have wake-up attacks to ensure the player doesn't cheese them, and will often opt to counter a combo right as you think you have free reign to let loose. And in 4 particularly, they will exploit zoning and instant death pits in the environment if they get the opportunity.
  • Artificial Stupidity:
    • If there's a Bottomless Pit nearby, occasionally enemies may just walk into it on their own or even do an attack that hurtles them in without you having to do anything.
    • In 4, enemies have absolutely no problem with walking into a poison puddle and just hanging out until they die.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: In the first two games, Mr. X, the president of the underground crime syndicate, is also the Final Boss. His progeny in SOR4 carry on the legacy, being the co-presidents of their own syndicate.
  • Awesome McCoolname: Axel Stone, Adam Hunter, Blaze Fielding, Eddie/Sammy "Skate" Hunter, Max Thunder/Hatchett and Dr. Zan.
  • Badass in a Nice Suit: Mr. X (all games) and his Men in Black in SOR3.
  • Bad-Guy Bar: You trash the clientele in one during the second game's first stage and another in the fourth game's fifth stage. As it happens, Barbon is the boss of both.
  • Balance, Power, Skill, Gimmick: In Streets of Rage 2, Axel is the regular street brawler, Max the hulking wrestler, Skate the fast kid using spinning techniques, while Blaze has catfighty moves with high range and a better knife swing. In Streets of Rage 3, Max is replaced with Zan, a cyborg with electrical powers who's playstyle revolves mainly around crowd control, essentially taking the "gimmick" role. In Streets of Rage 4, Axel and Blaze remain largely in the same place, with Cherry taking Skate's place as the fast kid (replacing rollerblades with a guitar) while Floyd is the Max replacement. Adam, for his part, is a stronger variant on Axel.
  • Balance, Speed, Strength Trio: In the series, Axel and Blaze stay in all games as the balance and speed respectively, having the character of strength variable between games (Adam in 1, Max in 2, Dr. Zan in 3 and Floyd in 4), with the addition of Skate in the last 2 games and Cherry in 4 as a middle point between balance and speed.
  • Bar Brawl: Barbon's bar in Stage 1 of the second game as well as the latter part of stage 5 in the fourth game.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Blaze in the second and third installments.
  • Batter Up!: The baseball bats can be used as weapons.
  • Battle in the Rain:
    • Against the bartender in Streets of Rage 2's first level.
    • It occasionally rains on the beach in Streets of Rage's Stage 3.
  • Beach Level: Stage 3 in 1, Stage 6 in 2. The second example becomes Jungle Japes pretty quickly though.
  • Beauty Mark: Blaze's character select portrait in all three games depict her sporting one on the lower left side of her face.
  • Big Bad: Mr. X, a crime syndicate boss who's responsible for corrupting the city by controlling the police force and the government, followed by the rampant crime and gang violence. He is Killed Off for Real at the end of 3, so 4 has a Big Bad Duumvirate of Mr. Y and Ms. Y, his heirs and the new leaders of his crime syndicate.
  • Boss Rush: Stage 8 of 1 and 2.
  • Bottomless Magazines: The Men in Black enemies and Mr. X never run out of ammunition.
  • Bottomless Pits: Appearing in the first game for levels 4 (holes in the bridge) and 7 (getting thrown off a moving freight elevator). Falling into one would cost you a life. Oddly, the bottomless pits never appeared in game 2, but return in game 3 for the construction levels where falling into one had your character jump back up at the expense of losing at least 1/4 of your health bar. They return in 4, functioning as they did in 3.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The fourth game effectively makes the localized version of the third game non existent. When referencing the third game, Axel, Blaze, and Skate's sprites for their SOR3 versions use their original color palettes instead of the reworked ones in the localized version. Dr. Zan's profile mentions the nuclear Rakushin element, which was the main threat in the Japanese version of SOR3.
  • Cast from Hit Points:
    • Starting with the second game, a special attack replaces your police backup. Using it drains your health, but gives you invincibility during its duration and either is typically stronger than most attacks on the character's moveset, or has increased range. Streets of Rage 3 added a special bar that charged slowly between special attacks and depleted with its use. How full the bar is determines how much health the special attack drains; if the bar is full, no health is drained.
    • Averted in the Game Gear version of Streets of Rage 2, where the attacks don't drain health, making Axel's blitz attack even more of a game breaker.
    • 4 modifies the rules again. Special moves once again always consume health to execute but instead of outright draining your character's vitality, it's taken as provisional damage instead and if you can hit another enemy while the green part of your health bar is still visible, you'll earn back the health spent. You can abuse specials as much as you like but it increases how many foes you'll have to beat on in order to get it back, which also increases the risk of getting hit by someone and losing all your green health (in addition to the damage they do).
  • Character Roster Global Warming: The first game had Adam, who had the lowest speed and highest attack. The second game replaced Adam with Max, who was slower and stronger then Adam, Max was then promptly replaced in the third game with Zan who was a Long-Range Fighter instead of a glacier, and 4 had Floyd, a combination of both Zan's considerable reach and Max's titanic strength, appropriate since Floyd is friends with Zan and was largely based off Max.
  • Colour-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • Axel is associated with blue, Blaze with red and the Hunter family (Adam, Skate, Cherry) yellow. That trend was broken in III, at least in the west, when the heroes had different colors. It's restored properly in 4.
    • 4 makes use of color frequently for gameplay tells. Enemies will briefly flash red when they intend to grab you or white when currently in armor frames, while player characters will flash gold when their haymaker is charged, green when they've recovered all temporary health, or red when they lose it.
    • The bonuses points for combo damage are sorted like this:
      • White: no bonus.
      • Yellow: nice!
      • Orange: great!
      • Green: super!
      • Blue: excellent!
      • Purple: amazing!
      • Pink: sick!
      • Red: out of this world!
  • Combat Stilettos: A must for the attire of most female enemies.
  • Combination Attack: The bodyblow vault technique in 1. Mona and Lisa in 3 have a ground wave ki attacks that is more powerful when they use it together.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: In Sonic the Comic. Very dark in tone for a children's comic and written by a certain Mark Millar.
  • Compilation Re-release: The series has been included in Sonic's Ultimate Genesis Collection for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 along with tons of other Sega Genesis titles, and Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage on Xbox LIVE Arcade.
  • Covers Always Lie: Most of the stuff pictured on the overseas packaging illustration of the first game doesn't appear in the game, not to mention Axel's yellow shirt and Blaze's white gym clothes.note 
  • Covert Group with Mundane Front: The Syndicate own several commercial fronts, including a waterfront storage, a bar, a nightclub and a construction site.
  • Cue the Sun:
    • Subverted in the first game; night falls as you attack Mr. X's stronghold and the sun is rising as you challenge the man himself. The final shot (after the credits roll) is that of the heroes watching the sunset and then a starry sky beneath a bridge by their city's bay.
    • Played straight in the second game. The last shot of the ending shows the heroes waving to a rescue chopper as the sun rises.
  • Damage Discrimination: With the exception of Antonio's boomerang, any kind of thrown weapons usually deals damage to both sides. And then Mr. X with his Tommy Gun, moving down everything that moves, including his own minions.
  • Degraded Boss: A few bosses throughout the first two games appear in the middle of later levels in their respective games, and almost all of them (or all, in the case of the first game) return during the final stage.
  • Demoted to Extra: Adam in the sequels. He still appears in the games, but he's been demoted to a non-player role, although he does become a considerable Deus ex Machina in 3. He finally made his grand return in 4.
    • Max was a playable character in 2 and then was only seen in 3 briefly in the good ending credits montage. His role as the powerhouse of the team was taken by Zan. Max eventually returns in 4...as a boss, brainwashed by the Y twins.
  • Descending Ceiling: The machine presses in the industry levels.
  • Desperation Attack: The special moves in II are Cast from Hit Points so you don't want to throw them out needlessly. 3 modified this so as long as the blue charge bar was full, using a special move wouldn't hurt you.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Mr. X, of course.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: When the fight goes into bars and dance clubs, the lifespan of the furniture tends to be low. The outside sections tend to have the same thing all over the place: tires, trashcans, and road blocks.
  • Difficult, but Awesome:
    • In the first game on cooperative two-player, vaulting over or being thrown by your partner initiates a spinning and flying kick attack. It takes timing and coordination to hit an enemy with it, but it is the most powerful attack in the game, dealing 75% of a bar of damage to bosses and can kill most lesser enemies in one hit.
    • In the second game, Max cannot vault over his opponents, unlike the others. However, his grapples are the most powerful moves in the game. If enemies are grabbed from behind (which is extremely hard to accomplish due to the enemies' tendency to always face the player character), Max's suplex will deal an insane 75% of a bar worth of damage. Max can also jump while holding an enemy, allowing him to perform the Atomic Drop back-breaking move, which can deal that same high damage to other enemies as you fall on them.
    • Later games allow you to input specific button combinations to throw 3-star attacks even without said stars. These attacks are vastly powerful, and accessing them requires either accumulating 120,000 points without dying, or using these combinations, which are rather hard to execute quickly.
    • In SOR4, special moves. Special moves are toned down and more difficult to use. Certain moves, mainly charged moves, can override a special move in motion when used improperly. For example. if you used Axel's Dragon Smash (rapid fist ending with an uppercut) while an enemy is in armored status, the charged move can override the special move. Special moves also leave more frames of open vulnerability after the special move is executed compared to previous games. Even with these flaws, you can actually recover health by hitting enemies or objects, as long as you do not get hit during this duration. More experienced players would utilize this move more often to combo and/or clear out space and carefully attack enemies to refill the life gauge; this is something to master if you are going to play much harder difficulties like Mania.
  • Dirty Cop: The first game's premise is that the local police as a whole has gone corrupt thanks to Mr. X's syndicate taking over, leading to the heroes resigning in order to take matters into their own hands, with the one cop who's still good offering occasional assistance from his police car with a bazooka. It gets even worse in the fourth game after the Y Twins' takeover, with the police going as far as capturing the heroes, forcing them to beat up everyone in the precinct and break out of it.
    • Though the extent of the corruption is somewhat vague in 4. If you're not the active target, the police will instead beat up the thugs and vice versa (with the exception of the riot squad enemies, who always focus on you). Additionally Estel doesn't appear to be on the take but misinformed about the heroes' motivations and tries to stop them in the name of the law. She manages to come around after the Y Twins blow up a train and she realizes that she and the protagonists are working towards the same end. The Commissioner's allegiance is unclear (in the police station he openly opposes the heroes but on the skytrain he's assisting Estel who, as mentioned, isn't working for the twins; alternatively he could simply be trying to lay down the law himself after you tear through his department's staff).
  • Distressed Dude:
    • Adam gets kidnapped in Streets of Rage 2.
    • General Ivan Petrov (or the chief of police) in 3.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: All three original characters in 1 had the same movepool with some minor differences. In the sequels, every character plays differently.
  • Dominatrix: Each game has a female Mook like this, the only common female enemy in the first two games (and the only female enemy period in 2!), although the third one has another common female enemy. The one in the first game is named Nora, and the one in the second and third game is named Electra.
  • The Dragon: Shiva in the second game, and Dr. Dahm (Dr. Zero) in the last one. Shiva returns as the boss of the first level in Streets of Rage 3, is an unlockable playable character via a secret code and if you go for the bad ending in the Town Hall, he re-appears as the final boss. Shiva appears again as the boss of the sixth stage in Streets of Rage 4 but he has cut all ties with the Syndicate.
  • Drought Level of Doom: Each of the Streets of Rage series traditionally has a section - usually during the last level - where the players are trapped in an elevator with a small selection of weapons and power ups and are forced to refight all of the Bosses that they have already fought. They have to do this in quick succession, and at higher difficulty levels the enemies have much more health than the first time you met them and usually turn up with a crowd of mooks too.
  • Dual Boss: This is not uncommon in the series:
    • In SOR1, playing with two players would spawn two bosses instead of one for Rounds 1-4.
    • Onihime/Mona and Yasha/Lisa in Round 5 of 1 and Stage 2 of 3.
    • 2 Southers in SOR1's Round 6, who originally appeared as a boss in Round 2.
    • The boss of SOR2's Stage 7 is just Souther (a Palette Swap of Zamza) and a Palette Swap of Jet, fought together.
    • The Particle Robot bosses in SOR2's Stage 7 ONLY in Easy, Medium, and Hard mode. In Very Hard and Mania, you fight 3 of them.
    • 2 palette swaps of Stage 1's Diva in Stage 8 of 4.
    • Mr. Y and Ms. Y serves as the Final Boss of 4. To make things more interesting, whoever loses 1/3 of their health first gets to pull a spider-like Y Robot in combat. If whoever pilots the the Y Robot was defeated before the other person was defeated, the latter takes its spot on the seat.
  • Dub Name Change: The enemies in the original Streets of Rage are not named in-game. The Japanese manual has all the mooks and bosses identified, but since the English manual has no such enemy list, the Syndicate goons were essentially left nameless outside Japan. 2 added life gauges for the enemies and the names were kept the same in all versions. However, 3 changed the name of nearly every single enemy and item between regions (i.e. Galsia became Garcia).
  • Dynamic Entry: The enemies that spawn above you and have a jumping attack will enter battle by diving in at you.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The first Streets of Rage, which was developed in-house by Sega, differs greatly from the sequels which were all outsourced. Whereas the sequels play like typical post-Final Fight beat-'em-ups, the combat system in the original Streets of Rage feels much closer to the original Golden Axe. The first game is also the only installment where you can summon a cop for an on-screen nuke attack. This was replaced with a personalized special attack in the later installments. The pepper spray and broken bottle weapons also appeared in the first game only. VS mode, which became the norm in the sequels, didn't exist in the first game. note  Blaze's character design was also different; the first game had her with black hair, a headband, wristbands, shoes, and her top was more covered. Later games would give her brown hair, ditched the bands, swapped the shoes out for boots, and changed her top to give her a more exposed cleavage and exposed stomach.
  • Easy Levels, Hard Bosses: Although this is averted on the harder difficulty settings.
  • Easy-Mode Mockery:
    • In the American version of Streets of Rage 3, playing on Easy mode will only allow you to play the first 5 stages. Oh, and the American version's Easy mode is equivalent to the Japanese version's Normal. Take your pick of suck: everything is too easy and deals next to no damage on the hardest setting of the Japanese version, and unlike the 2nd entry, there is no Mania mode. The adjustments to the American version were to compensate for the improved sidestep and added flexibility for special attacks (so much so that spamming them becomes a valid tactic).
    • In 4's Story Mode, you can start a stage with assist features such as more lives and more stars (to compensate for the game not letting you continue mid-stage), but a divisor will be applied to your score at the end of the stage, with stronger assists giving you bigger penalties.
  • Elite Mooks: The further you progress, you start running into palette swaps of the basic mooks you've been busting up. They're stronger, more durable, and tend to show more cleverness in battle.
  • Eternal Engine: Stage 6 in the first game, Stage 7 in the second, and Stage 7A in the third. All feature conveyor belts.
  • Every 10,000 Points: Every game will award you an extra life upon your score reaching certain thresholds.
  • Evil Counterpart: Shiva to the main characters in general and Axel in particular. Onihime/Mona and Yasha/Lisa to Blaze. Abadede to Max.
  • Evil Laugh: Some enemies (like Big Ben) laugh at you evilly when they score a hit, and both Mr. X and Mr. Y give out a picture perfect "DAHAHAHAHAHA!" when you're knocked down. This also applies to Adam, Axel and Blaze if they Face–Heel Turn and take Mr X's place from within the Bad Ending of the first game.
  • Excuse Plot: The series overall uses this. To wit, even with some detailed cutscenes in 3 and 4, the plots of each games can be summed as such:
  • Executive Suite Fight: In the first two games during the final battle against Mr. X. The third game subverts this when the Mr. X you face is a robot. Played with in the fourth game, in stage 9. You never actually fight the Y Twins there, but they still watch your battle with Max.
  • Expy:
    • The final boss uses a projectile weapon like Machine Gun Willy and Belger, Abadede is The Ultimate Warrior, and Zamza is a clone of Blanka (he even has the same spinning attack). Not to forget that Axel is an expy of Cody, or that the Muay Thai-using enemies in SOR2 (the ones with bird names) look exactly like Joe Higashi.
    • The biker enemies in SoR2 look suspiciously like Jagi from Fist of the North Star (a.k.a. Hokuto no Ken).
    • Mona and Lisa resemble Motoko Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell.
    • Design wise, Floyd was intended as this towards Max, as concept art shows him going through designs tages where he does indeed resemble Max, and one image even shows his sprite side by side with Max's own sprite. Additionally, Floyd's metal prosthetic arms and having a "Gotcha!" grab marks him as an expy of Jax.
  • Fair Cop: The ¡Three Amigos! in the original game, as well as the squad car carrying your backup enforcer.
  • Fat Bastard: Bongo (stage 4 boss) in the first game. Big Ben and his clones in SOR2 and 3. R.Bear and Bear Jr. in 2 also, as well as Harakiri, a boss exclusive to Bare Knuckle Mobile
  • Fingerless Gloves: All of the heroes except Max, and many of the enemies.
  • Fishing for Mooks: You want to hang back and deal with enemies in small groups if possible. Wading into large melees is a good way to kill off your character.
  • Flunky Boss: Danch/Bruce and the kangaroos. Mr. X, except he keeps mowing them down with his gun when he tries to kill you. Most of the other bosses have mook enforcements too, minus the third game, which only has Jet and his flying crew.
  • Giant Mook: Bosses tend to be much taller than normal mooks, especially in 1.
  • Grievous Bottley Harm: The bottles from 1. The first connected attack is smashing the bottle over something, and all subsequent attacks are stabbing ones with the sharp bits of the now-broken bottle.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Thrown enemies will bowl over anyone in their path. Becomes a good way of using a boss's flunkies against him.
  • Hair Color Dissonance: According the character select screen in the original game, Blaze is raven-haired, although sprites and artwork elsewhere would instead suggest that she's a brunette.
  • Harder Than Hard:
    • "Hardest" mode on the 1st game. What made it really tough was that enemies could take more hits, bosses have more life, and that most of their attacks could kill you in 2-3 hits on a full life bar. The enemies' AI doesn't change much, but they move MUCH faster, so they can sweep in suddenly for those extremely damaging attacks and knock you out, possibly setting off even more enemies...
    • invokedMania in the 2nd game. Normal mooks will keep their distance, hit you as soon as they can, and will always try to flank you (probably successfully), fast enemies will become even faster, and Goddamned Bats will become Demonic Spiders. The number of enemies will increase ridiculously, as will their health, and trying to hit any enemy who happens to have anti-air attacks with a jump attack will get you grounded in no time. Bosses like Abadede and R. Bear will make you cry in anger... if you play as Axel, that is.
    • Hard in Streets of Rage 3, due to Difficulty by Region. Weep as you meet packs of fast enemies with at least two health gauges each and who can block.
    • Arcade mode in 4 where you are given a set amount of lives and no continues, so a game over means starting over from the very beginning, as in the original trilogy. Given 4 is 50% longer than 2, this is easier said than done, particularly if you opt to play on Mania.
  • Hard Mode Perks: Harder difficulty levels generally throw in extra enemies to keep the player on their toes. More enemies means more points to earn, which means a very skilled player can rack up extra lives much more frequently than they would on an easier difficulty.
  • Helpful Mook:
    • Of the accidental kind. Enemies that can throw you may accidentally toss you into other enemies, damaging them in the process. Likewise, the enemies that hold you in place would have been better off just throwing you instead of letting you kick your legs in the air to hit enemies in front of you.
    • In 4, the police and Syndicate mooks are as opposed to each other as they are you, and will fight amongst themselves if you don't present yourself as a target.
  • Highly Visible Ninja: In SOR2 and 3, the ninjas don't do much to conceal themselves. Their colors range from sky-blue to purple. They also seem to have perpetual grins on their faces in SOR3.
  • Hitbox Dissonance: Suffers a bit from this. The most frequent example would be attacks that miss initially, but hit a target who happens to wander in right before the end of the animation when the attack shouldn't have power anyway.
  • Hero of Another Story: Adam in 3 and 4
    • Aside from delivering two Big Damn Heroes in 3, in the Good Ending path, it is implied that Adam went through the bad end route while you deal with the main threat, and single-handedly took down the syndicate covering the City Hall/White House and the 'phony General/Police Chief' (which, by the way, is Shiva). This is shown in the Japanese version where he explicitly talks about the fake general/chief already being apprehended.
    • Taken further in 4, whereas after fathering Cherry, he's Still Got It and capable of kicking syndicate members ass while likewise saving the group from a police ambush.
  • Hurricane Kick: Skate has an upside-down, full-split, handstand variant as his stationary special move. Roo has a more traditional one.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Apples, beef, and roast chicken immediately heal you.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels:
    • Very Easy (2nd game only)
    • Easy
    • Normal
    • Hard
    • Hardest/Very Hard (Not in the Western version of 3)
    • Mania (Not in 3)
  • Idle Animation:
  • Improvised Weapon: Bottles, knives, lead pipes, baseball bats, planks, and pepper shakers.
    • Lethal Joke Item: The pepper shaker stuns all enemies. You can dispatch a large group of enemies by stunning them and then Cherry Tapping with the jab. If you do it slowly enough, so that the main character doesn't launch into a full combo, but so the enemies don't recover from the stun, you can send entire groups keeling backwards.
    • Some of the strongest weapons in 4 are this, such as the billiards ball and the golden turkey.
  • Inconveniently Placed Conveyor Belt: The Industry/Lab levels have these.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Some enemies laugh when you are down. Mr. X will even take a look at the camera.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: The stronger variants of Nora/Electra have a tactic they like to use on you: kneel down as if they're feigning injury/surrender and then attack you while your back's turned.
  • Japanese Ranguage: Galsia instead of García (common Hispanic surname). SOR3 fixed this, minus the accent, but perhaps for old times sake, SOR4 changes it back to Galsia.
  • Joke Character: Ash and Victy/Roo. They're both quite capable of kicking ass, regardless.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Katanas tend to be some of the most powerful weapons the heroes can get their hands on.
  • Ki Manipulation: A few of the characters' specials get a little glowy.
  • Kick Chick: Though not as prevalent as in other games, Blaze and the female enemies have powerful kick moves.
  • Kung Fu-Proof Mook: In the first and third games, it's not a good idea to try and throw the Fat Bastard enemies; you'll just get crushed under their weight, and it won't even harm them. Unless you're Skate.
  • Launcher Move: Adam's normal combo consists of two jabs, an uppercut that launches the enemy high into the air, and then roundhousing said enemy before/just as he/she lands.
  • Let X Be the Unknown: Mr. X, obviously. Mr. and Ms. Y with the Y Syndicate in the fourth game.
  • The Lethal Connotation of Guns and Others: All the bosses are various types of badass with various methods of using their fists and feet. Mr. X, being an expy of the final boss from Final Fight, just packs a cool suit, infinite mooks, and a Tommygun. The front end hurts like hell, and the back end halves your health. This is because unlike that crossbow-wielding loser, Mr. X is made of hair gel, capitalism, and badassery. His son Mr. Y packs an uzi.
  • Life Meter: A standard in the series with some changes in between games. Only bosses had health bars in the first game and they changed colors first before properly draining once their health got low. The second game has mooks and bosses with multiple life bars colored in blue and drained to red while a single star represented a full life bar. The third game keeps the same life bar system for enemies, but made the multiple life bars be signified with a number of "lives" and the bar drains from yellow to blue until they're on their last bar. Weapons also have life meters in the third game to represent their durability.
  • Limit Break:
    • Specials are treated this way in 1. A police officer will drive onto the stage and launch a powerful napalm that kills all enemies and does a lot of damage to bosses. This can only be used once per stage until a pickup is found (which is rare), or if a continue is used. It can't be used in the final stage.
    • Star Moves in 3 are turned into this in 4. All characters have a brand new powerful move that can break through any and all enemy defenses, but this costs a star to use, and more can be picked up in every stage. The 1 incarnations of Axel, Blaze and Adam in this game retain their original police special as this.
  • Long Song, Short Scene: "Up and Up" from the first game, a slower mix of "In the Bar," another variant of "Go Straight" and "Little Money Avenue" in the 2nd, and, for the US version of the 3rd game, "Kama de Coco," all found in the sound test but never heard in the games proper.
  • Marathon Level: Each game in the original trilogy has to be finished in one sitting, while Arcade mode in the fourth game calls back this lack of saving.
  • Market-Based Title: The series is known as Bare Knuckle in Japan, but Streets of Rage everywhere else.
  • Martial Arts Headband: Axel. Blaze, too, but only in the first game. And on the bad guys' side, Shiva.
  • Martial Arts Uniform: The Martial Artist enemies. Axel and Adam in 3's good ending.
  • Megaton Punch: Axel's standing/Blaze's moving Special Attack in Streets of Rage 2 and 3; in practice, anyway (technically, Blaze's is more like a Megaton Palm)...
  • Mercy Invincibility:
    • When you lose a life, your character comes back by falling from the sky and all enemies on screen are knocked down to prevent them from ganging up on the player who just respawned.
    • Also, most bosses (and some Mooks) either have an invincible move they use while they get up, or this, preventing you from trapping them with a punch or grab.
  • Mini-Boss: The stronger mooks that don't become regular until one or two stages later.
  • Mirror Boss:
    • Onihime and Yasha in the first game, also serving as Dual Bosses. They are just green clothed (and then purple in the final level) versions of Blaze and use the same moves as her.
    • A robot version of Axel in the third game also serves as this in Stage 3, gradually turning redder as it takes damage. Unlike the Blaze knockoffs, robot Axel is a LOT faster than the real Axel.
  • Mooks: The Syndicate goons.
  • Multiple Endings:
    • SOR1 had two. One where you beat Mr. X and save the city, and one which could only be reached in co-op mode, by having one player refuse Mr. X's offer to join him, and have another accept. After a fight to the death, the winner fought Mr. X and became the crime boss in his place.
    • While SOR2 lacked multiple endings, SOR3 had no less than four of them.
      • One was reached by beating Stage 5 on Easy, where the robot Mr. X insults you and Zan declares that they must try harder.
      • One had you going to the White House/City Hall to destroy the impostor General/Chief. A final battle with Shiva ensues, and a bad end is shown where Zan attempts to interrogate Shiva as to Mr. X's whereabouts. Shiva doesn't spill the beans, leaving the gang at a dead end.
      • One where you destroy the final boss and save the city from the bombs/prevent general death and destruction around the world.
      • And a bad ending where the final boss is beaten but time runs out. The bombs explode, people die, the city gets ruined and the trust the people of the city placed in Axel and the gang is damaged. BK3 attempts to soften the blow by stating that either way, nuclear war between America and Lima has been prevented, and though the bombs wrecked the city, the people forgive the heroes since they tried their best.
      • Even the bad ending in Stage 6 got censored, but only for the image that displays behind the text. In the Japanese version, a picture of the bombed city appears. In the U.S. version, it's just a black screen.
  • Multiple Life Bars: Boss characters have this and mooks will have them as well late in the game or if the difficulty is set high. Certain weapons in the 3rd game will also have this.
  • Nerf:
    • Axel's default blitz attack in the 3rd game was toned down due to being a Game-Breaker from the 2nd game. Weapons also received a nerf by having limited durability via life bar.
    • The 4th game gotten a patch that nerfed a few enemies slightly; the fire breathing variant of Big Ben is no longer Immune to Flinching when using his fire breath attack. The Nora pallete swaps at the end of stage 11 also lost their flinch immunity. The Y twin controlling the robot in the final battle also had their health reduced to compensate for the rebalance of the previous fight, which has you fighting the twins longer before one of them jumps to the robot.
  • New Jack Swing: The series' music, particularly the first two games, leans heavily into the NJS sound of the 90s, specifically taking cues from UK band Soul II Soul and American producer Teddy Riley. And while 4 leaned towards more contemporary sounds, it didn't abandon new jack swing completely, as the game's menu and ending themes can attest to, along with a few boss themes.
  • Nintendo Hard: The harder difficulties are damn hard. The American release of the third game is pretty tough, but on Hard mode, it is insane, with enemies doing massive damage to you and bosses having at least four health bars (sometimes seven). The Japanese version's enemies do much less damage and it is the same on all difficulties, and there is a Very Hard mode as well (missing from the American release — Easy is Japanese's Normal, and so Hard on US version is Japanese's Very Hard). Pick your poison — either Japanese Very Hard is way too easy, or US version even on Normal is tough.
  • No Name Given: The names of the enemies in the first game were only given in the Japanese version's manual, although almost all of them actually returned in the sequels. Notably, the two green-clad Blaze palette swaps are actually Mona and Lisa from Streets of Rage 3 (or Onihime and Yasha as they're called in Japan). There's also the nameless police officer that drops your smart bombs.
  • No-Sell: Holding Up and Jump (or just jump in 4) when you're tossed by an enemy enables you to land on your feet without taking any damage. Shiva can also do this if you try to toss him and the fat enemies (except the ones in the 2nd and 4th games) are simply too heavy to be thrown (except by Skate) and even when they're throwable again in 4, Adam, Axel and Blaze's throw animations are slower to show they really gotta put their backs into it. Estelle in 4 can also no sell your attempts to throw her by landing on their feet.
  • Nostalgia Level: Many areas in the second game are reminiscent of areas from the first game. The lift in 3's fifth stage is also nearly identical visually to the one in the last level of 2. There are four arcade machines in 4 that warp the player to retro boss fights from 2 if hit with a taser.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Barkeeping: In the second section of SOR2's first stage. Once your fight with Electra starts, though, the man takes off running... and is later revealed to be the stage boss. Roo in Streets of Rage 4 takes the boss's spot as the barkeep while said barkeep is still the boss of the level.
  • Obstructive Foreground: In addition of obstructing your view, they also hide secret items.
  • Offhand Backhand: Some of the playable characters' back attacks consist of this.
  • One-Hit KO: In 3, while falling into a Bottomless Pit will take off a large amount of your Life Meter, knocking or throwing an enemy into one kills them outright. Even if they have more than one bar of health left! There's also a feature in the 3D version of the first game that lets you beat anyone with a single punch, regardless of difficulty or enemy health.
  • Orchestra Hit Techno Battle: Some of the series' boss battle music are very energetic techno tracks that gets you pumped during a fight.
  • Palette Swap: Loads of the enemies exploit these, considering it's a beat 'em up game, after all...
    • Going one step further, the boss of Round 5 in the first game are a pair of Blaze clones.
  • Panty Shot: Streets of Rage 2 has Blaze do this in her jump kick sprite. The US Genesis version censored it, but the 3DS version restored it. Her HD sprite in 4 also has one in a few animations.
  • Pipe Pain: The heroes can use a lead pipe laying around stages to inflict some pain on the Syndicate goons.
  • Pistol-Whipping: Mr. X with his Tommy Gun.
  • Police Are Useless: Subverted. Not only are the main characters cops, but in the original game, one special attack (usable once per life per level, with the player able to gain additional uses with Power Ups shaped like small cars) involves a police car driving up from the left side of the screen fire explosives, taking health from all enemies. Played straight in the fourth game where the cops harass both the Syndicate goons and the player characters.
  • Press X to Die: In the first and third game, throws cannot be performed on the "Big Ben" type of enemy (and in certain cases, boss). However, rather than just disallowing throws on them, the game instead has these enemies crush the player any time they try a throw, doing a fairly large chunk of damage. And just to mock you further, the fat bastards will laugh at you if they squash you... or pretty much taking damage from anything in their sight. It's a bit of an annoyance for people who have played Streets of Rage 2, where the "Big Ben" type enemies were throwable with no ill effects. The exception to this is Skate, who can toss them around all day. In the Bomber Games Fan Remake, Max can slam them with no difficulty, but then again, he is a huge wall of muscle. In 4, everyone can throw them much like in 2, although their throw animations are slower than normal (except for Cherry and Floyd) to show it still takes quite a bit of effort to do so.
  • Promoted to Playable: Shiva starting in the third game (albeit as a hidden character). You can also play as his retro verison in 4.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Most characters have some version as a moving Special Attack. Axel even ends his with a Shoryuken for good measure.
  • Reality Ensues:
    • Most of the time in the series it's implied the heroes are mostly non-fatal in their brawling, which is why they manage to even get some of their info in the first place. But Mr. X is so heinous yet dangerous that the characters have to put every last ounce of effort they've got into beating him down, twice. And it's implied the cast were particularly vengeful given Adam's kidnapping in 2. Canonically this actually kills him from the sheer injuries sustained in the second beat down, resulting in being nothing more than a Brain in a Jar by the time the third game rolls around.
    • Running around beating criminals up as a civilian, even with good intentions, is illegal. The 4th game sees the police arresting Axel's group at the end of Stage 1 for exactly for this reason. Stage 2 has the group rampage through the police station, beat up all the cops and criminals in their way, and escape at the end of the stage, causing the police to target the player characters for the rest of the game... even if it's also because some of them (particularly the Commissioner) are on the Syndicate payroll.
  • Recurring Boss: Both in the same game and across the series in some cases, with those that become degraded bosses italicized in the game the degradation occurs:
    • Barbon: 2, 4. Appears as the first boss of 2 and the fifth boss of 4.
    • Abadede: 1, 2: Was the third boss in SOR1, and was quite pitiful due to his simple pattern in battle. In SOR2, he was the fourth boss, and became one of the toughest bosses to fight because of his high health, strong attacks, and his ability to counter damage easily with an attack of his own.
    • Bongo: 1, 2, 3, 4: First considered a boss in the original, became a sub-boss in the original as well, and then he had his appearance greatly changed, appearing as Big Ben.
    • Jet: 2, 3: First appeared on the second stage of the bridge in SOR2, where he had low health. He returned in SOR3, but the last battle took a heavy toll on him; he was bald, lethargic, and needed an oxygen mask, possibly being revived as a cyborg. He was much more difficult, however, as he had more attacks and mooks with jetpacks themselves.
    • Shiva: 2, 3, 4: Appeared as the penultimate boss in SOR2, where he was notable for his speed. In the third game, he is the first stage boss, but this battle is only a warm-up for the real boss battle in Stage 7 (if you fail to complete the previous mission in time). In the fourth game, he's the Stage 6 boss.
    • Onihime/Mona and Yasha/Lisa: 1, 3: Both incredibly hard bosses due to their fondness for highly damaging moves and the fact there's two of them against you.
    • Mr. X: The first three games.
    • In 4, you will fight the Commissioner and Estel in stages 2 and 4 respectively, and then both of them return for a Dual Boss fight in stage 7.
  • Recursive Reality: In II and 4 you can find Bare Knuckle arcade cabinets to punch over. Hitting them with tasers in 4 even lets you fight retro bosses.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: Objects in the background can be smashed for items, weapons, or points. This is especially important in 4 as you need points to score extra lives.
  • Rollerblade Good: Skate, heck it's in his name if it wasn't subtle enough for ya.
  • Scoring Points: Cash bags and gold bars exist to grant bonus points, and a high enough score earns you an extra life. In Streets of Rage 3, earning 40,000 points on a single life grants you a star, which upgrades your blitz attack. The harder the difficulty, more points you get at the end of each round. This applies to all of the games. The 4th game makes this is essential as it's the only way to gain lives through the levels to keep you going.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Doing What's Right!: Necessitated because The Syndicate rendered the police useless at best and corrupt at worst; the original protagonists resign from the police to shut down the syndicate
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • 2 allows you to crush its' own arcade machines in Stage 3.note 
    • They return in 4 with a twist... hitting them with a taser teleports the player into a retro area to fight a pixellated bonus boss.
  • She-Fu: To an extent, Blaze and some of the female enemies (particularly Blaze's "clones," Onihime and Yasha).
  • She's Got Legs: Blaze and the female enemies.
  • Shock and Awe: Dr. Zan, the Electra-type enemies, and most of the robots across the series.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title may well reference the movie Streets of Fire.
    • Adam Hunter and Axel Stone may be named after City Hunter and Axel Foley, respectively.
    • Some of the achievements in 4 are these.
      • Killing an enemy by tossing them in a hole is "THIS IS WOOD OAK CITY!!!"
      • Killing an enemy with a wrecking ball is "Demolition Man."
      • Breaking the car in the Streets level is "Dude, My Car!"
      • The red karate enemies in stage 9 have a rapid fire punch attack that bears a close resembles to a similar attack used by Ryo Sakazaki, and the overall mook type's counter attack pose resembles Ryo's stance in most of The King of Fighters series.
    • In Stage 5 of 4, one of the pipes in the sewer has a mural of Joe Musashi painted on.
    • Still in Stage 5 of 4, a graffiti of a rat and four colored turtles can be seen at beginning of the level.
    • Floyd seems to be one big shoutout to Jax Briggs. Both are dark skinned (Floyd being Polynesian and Jax being African-American,) both have cybernetic arms that replace their old flesh-and-blood arms and they both have a move involving grabbing an enemy for a free hit while shouting "Gotcha!"
    • In the 4th game, the biker's bar is called "The Rising Sun". Kinda remind you of a tavern with the same name.
    • Some of the Big Ben -type enemies are named "Heart".
    • In Stage 2 of SOR4 there is a cop mook named "Murphy".
    • Two of the Galsia recolors in SOR2 and SOR4 are called "Jonathan" and "Joseph".
    • In the art gallery in SOR4 you can find a certain sculpture with a note saying "Destination: Paris".
  • Slouch of Villainy: Mr. X likes to do this. Especially in the second game, he slouches in his chair while you fight a wave of mooks and then Shiva. In the first game, should you achieve the ending where your character replaces Mr. X, both Axel and Blaze will do this. Unsurprisingly, his children also do this during the climactic boss fight in stage 9 of the fourth game, although in this case it's right in the middle of a crowd.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": A lot of Mook names are obviously misspelled. Galsia should be García, among other names. See also Theme Naming. The third game fixes this (but only in the English release).
  • Stripperiffic:
    • Blaze's outfit in games 2 and 3.
    • The boss Electra, who looks like a dominatrix, complete with whip. There are multiple versions of her sprite.
    • Electra, Blaze, and mook Soozie wear markedly more clothing in the American release.
  • Strong Flesh, Weak Steel: How do you break through concrete barriers and keep that bulldozer from squashing you? Simple. By punching them. You also routinely punch robots to death, while taking a whirling spiked ball on the chin.
    • A special attack or even a well timed jab can deflect thrown knives, kunai, axes, lit torches... Pretty much everything except bullets.
  • Suplex Finisher: A lot of characters use the German suplex.
  • The Syndicate: Lead by Mr. X, who's responsible for the city's downfall in the series. His heirs, Mr. and Ms Y, take over years later in the 4th game.
  • Team Shot: The intro to the first game (see above). Returns again in the 4th game after a long absence.
  • Theme Naming: Lots of the enemies have themed names.
    • The masked biker punks from SOR2 are all named for weather conditions (Fog, Mist, Storm, Calm, etc.)
    • The Signal Gang Members in SOR2 are named after the colour of their jacket (Y. Signal for yellow jacket, B. Signal for blue jacket, etc). In SOR3 they are named after other things (Ice, Scarab).
    • The guys with jetpacks have aircraft names (Jet, Comet, etc.)
    • The Fat Bastards in SOR2 have names reflecting their girth: Big Ben, Big Go, Buffet, etc.
    • The ninja mooks are named after Japanese action stars: (Sonny) Chiba, (Toshiro) Mifune, and (Sho) Kosugi to name a few.
    • The kickboxers are named after birds (Ibis, Phoenix, Eagle).
    • Some of the Shaolin monks are named after mythical Asian creatures (Suzaku, Seiryu, Byatcko), while others are named after Buddhist terms (Ashura, Rakan, Kongoh). There are even monks named after the birds represented by the Nanto Seiken branches from Fist of the North Star (Ko-Shu, Suicho, Ko-Kaku, Hakuro and Ho-Oh).
    • The robots, in SOR2, after chemistry-related terms (molecule, particle, isotope, uranium, hydrogen, etc).
    • In BK3, The Men in Black are named either after various types of metal or as McNames.
    • Several Mooks in SOR2 seem to be named after manga/anime Characters. For example: Veherit, Caska, Griphis, Souther, and Heart.
    • The shirtless martial artists in SOR3 are named mostly after animals connected to martial arts styles, e.g. Tiger, Snake, Dragon.
    • The fat masked biker ladies in SOR4 are named after types of sweets (e.g. Sugar, Caramel).
    • The two palette swaps of Diva encountered in SOR4 are called Beyo and Riha.
  • Third-Person Seductress: Blaze. She even winks at you on the character select screen in 1.
  • Throwing Your Sword Always Works: The early games allowed knives to be thrown. 4 allows any weapon to be thrown by pressing the same button used to pick up weapons.
  • Throw the Mook at Them: You can toss enemies backwards and have them crash into other enemies. Likewise, some enemies and bosses can do this to you.
  • Timed Mission:
    • While the clocks in the first two games tick rather slowly, you will lose a life if the clock runs out. The third game gets rid of the clock altogether, except for Stage 6 when attempting to save the Chief of Police (General Petrov in Bare Knuckle 3); if the timer runs out, gas floods the building, and, should the chief/general die, you later fight an alternate Final Boss and receive the game's Bad Ending.
    • The Final Boss battle in Streets of Rage 3 is against the super-powered Robot-Y (or Neo X in Bare Knuckle 3). You have to defeat it within three minutes to get the good ending.
  • Token Trio: Adam (black dude), Axel (white guy), and Blaze (token woman).
  • True Companions: Our protagainsts are very close knit. They all quite the force and take on corruption in the 1st game, 2 was them raising hell for the Syndicate to save Adam. Later in 3, Dr. Zan adds himself to the list. And 4 certainly emphazies this when Adam comes to help out the group against the police with Axel, Blaze and his daughter Cherry, certainly happy to see him.
  • Two Guys and a Girl: Axel, Adam, and Blaze.
  • Updated Re-release:
    • The Sega Vintage Collection: Streets of Rage features various graphical and audio options, 1080p support, fully re-mappable controls, the ability to save anywhere during local modes, online multiplayer, leaderboards, new game trials, sharable replays. It also gives players the ability to play each of the games' different regional versions, allowing players to play the original Japanese version of Bare Knuckle III.
    • 3D Streets of Rage features a CRT-like filter, new sound options, a stage select function, and a new one-hit deathblow mode where enemies are killed in a single hit for beginners.
  • Urban Hellscape: Yet another example, and is almost completely a clone of Final Fight.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • The club you enter in the 2nd stage of 3 has a crowd of dancers in the background enjoying themselves, who never once so much as glance at the brawl happening next to them.
    • When entering the Y building's spa in 4, the gang start fighting endless waves of mooks. A bunch of people are relaxing in the background and don't react to all the commotion.
  • Would Hit a Girl: All the male enemies have no problem attacking Blaze, the sole female of the protagonists. Likewise, the male protagonists don't have an issue attacking female enemies.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Axel, Blaze, and Adam list their fighting styles as kickboxing, martial arts, and judo, yet their rear throws consist of German suplexes and overhead belly-to-belly suplexes. Skate features some flying grapples ala Rey Mysterio, and Max is, well... a wrestler.
  • Vice City: And it's your job to clean it up.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Shiva does this in the third game. However, Shiva is fought as the final boss if you fail to save the Chief of Police/Ivan Petrov in Stage 6. Mr. X himself does this in most of the bad endings of Streets of Rage 3.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Some enemies are just doing their thing (resting, playing arcade, partying in the disco etc.) before you drop in.
  • Whip It Good: Electra and other dominatrix ladies.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Max. Also some Mooks and bosses like Donovan and Abadede.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • While Shiva escapes after being defeated in the third game, there are no signs of him returning or even being mentioned after the plot is resolved. (Although you can have a rematch with Shiva, if you fail to save the Chief of Police/General Petrov in stage 6.)
    • The Japanese version clears this up in the good ending: While Axel & co. was trashing Mr. X's base, Adam went to the 'phony General Petrov' and arrested him. The implication is that Adam beats the crap out of Shiva, who was impersonating Petrov, and hauls him back to jail.
    • No mention of Skate at all in the 4th game.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Anyone hit with an electric attack. Electra will demonstrate this repeatedly with her electric whip.
  • Your Princess Is in Another Castle!: All the games have at least seven levels. So, when you confront Mr. X in Level 5 during the third game, don't be surprised if it's not over (and try not to snap your controller if you're playing Easy Mode...).

     Streets of Rage 1 
  • A.I. Breaker: In the original game, when fighting Mona and Lisa, they may seem very difficult at first unless you know their one weakness: back attacks. By having your back towards them and remaining still, the sisters would approach you and you could do a back attack to knock them down and repeat until both are defeated. They will hardly deviate from this approach if both sisters are alive, but if one is left standing, she will always walk to you as long as you don't move. This makes fighting the twins incredibly easy in both of their appearances. This isn't practical on Hardest because it is all too easy to run out of time.
  • Badass Driver: Your back up in the original game, who is skilled enough to follow you into a factory and onto a boat. That he and his improbably skilled bazooka wielding wingman can't help you in the final stage is a good sign of how difficult it is.
  • Battle Boomerang: SOR1 Stage 1 Boss Antonio's Weapon of Choice.
  • BFG: Police backup comes armed with a rocket launcher and a minigun, depending on whether player 1 or player 2 initiates the special attack.
  • Boss Remix: The boss theme for this game ("Attack of The Barbarian") is remixed for Mr. X ("Return of Mr. X").
  • Breakable Weapons: In 3. The first use of the Bottle in 1 shatters it, as well, but it remains useable.
  • Bullfight Boss: The Stage 3 boss whom you have to re-fight twice over the course of the game.
  • Developers' Foresight:
    • Reached the final level in SOR1 in single player mode? Player 2 can't join you! The developers knew some people would try to cheat by using player 2 as a backup character if they used all their continues as player 1, therefore they disabled player 2 from joining in. It also makes it harder to get the bad ending.
    • Also in the original game, pressing the special button to call for police backup plays a short cutscene where your gunman drives onto the scene from the left and fires. If, for whatever reason, you opt to do this very early in a stage, the screen will scroll further to the left (or down, in the case of the 7th round) than is normally possible to see, sometimes revealing entirely unique background assets that only exist for this one, very specific purpose.
  • Earn Your Bad Ending: Getting the good ending is as simple as beating the game. The bad ending, however, requires a bit more work. First, it can only be attained in a two-player game. Second, when Mr. X asks the players to work alongside him, they must each reply differently, at which point they duel to the death. Finally, when Mr. X asks the surviving player again, they must reply no, and then defeat him as usual. The reward for this is a screen of the surviving character sitting in Mr. X's chair, while the game declares "You became the boss! You are great!"
  • Face–Heel Turn: In the 2-player mode, you can do this, if one player chooses to join Mr. X and the other doesn't. This leads to an "evil" ending. Unless you both do it, in which case you just get boned and have to play through some levels again.
  • Friend on the Force: Since the main trio officially parted ways with the precinct after the syndicate's takeover, the backup enforcer used for Special Attacks becomes this. They only show up in this game however.
  • Graffiti Town: Stage 2 which has you making your way through the run down areas of the city.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Your backup in the original game is skilled enough to:
    • Fire at your position without harming you in the slightest.
    • Hit every on screen enemy surrounding you, regardless of how close or far away they are to/from you.
    • Do all of the above even if you are hundreds of feet in the air above the police car's position, or underneath a roof on a moving ferry ship.
  • Pepper Sneeze: Throwing a pepper shaker at baddies leaves them vulnerable amidst sneezing fits.
  • Power Trio: This game only. It becomes a Four-Temperament Ensemble in the sequels.
  • Precision-Guided Boomerang: Antonio, a first level boos, uses this to attack you. Aiming it right in your direction unless you get out of the way.
  • Smart Bomb: In this game, you're able to call upon another squad car for support. An allied officer then (via either a rocket launcher or heavy-duty machine gun) then provides cover fire, clearing the area with the same basic effect as napalm would. It damages onscreen enemies, but leaves the players unharmed.
  • Turn in Your Badge: What Adam, Axel, and Blaze did prior to the events of this game, finding the police system too corrupt to bring down the Syndicate by legal means.

     Streets of Rage 2 
  • Amusement Park: Stage 3. Starts on a boardwalk, through an arcade, a pirate attraction, one more walkway and finally in an alien-themed attraction.
  • Athletic Arena Level: Stage 4 which takes place in front of and in into a baseball stadium. Which has a secret lift that goes underground!
  • Badass in Distress: Adam in this game. He can fight well enough but got blindsided by an ambush when Mr. X started trying to rebuild his empire, prompting our heroes to go rescue him.
  • Battle Strip: Barbon (first boss of the second game and fifth boss of the fourth) starts the fight by ripping out of his shirt.
  • Easier Than Easy: Very Easy which is exactly as it says, enemies health are ridiculously low and there's very few of them swarming you through the level. It essentially the training wheels mode of the game.
  • Fight Clubbing: Stage 4 boss fight ends in one after the heroes take a secert elevater in the baseball park. Here you face the current champion, Abadede.
  • Fighting Clown: R.Bear and his palate swaps in 2. He's a bulbously-fat bald guy in an old-fashioned swimsuit, no shoes and a gigantic mustache wearing boxing gloves who appears to be moonwalking, and when the fight starts he launches himself at you with a flying butt-drop. Then he beats the absolute crap out of you because he's got anti-air attacks, insane reach and quickness, an overpowered grapple, and is generally considered the toughest opponent in the game bar Shiva.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars: Max sports a vertical one across his left eye.
  • Gratuitous English: "Do! Base ball" and "It's like Boo!" on some flyers and banners in the stadium level. Allegedly the latter refers to a miniboss you're about to fight.
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: Vehelits. While in the middle of an amusement park in battling thugs, you suddenly fight an attraction that resembles an undead alien dragon. The Syndicate doesn't seem to have any involvement with it at all (though it's implied they're likely controlling it from within the attraction as a means to take out the heroes).
  • Inexplicably Preserved Dungeon Meat: You can find apples and roasted chicken by smashing arcade cabinets, wooden crates, and trashcans. It may not be sanitary, or make any sense, but you take what you can get when you're being ganged up on.
  • Irony: The ending theme is named "Good Ending", even though this installment does not have Multiple Endings.
  • Offscreen Start Bonus: The first stage has a 1-Up tucked away in the lower-left corner at the start, behind a mailbox in the foreground.
  • Revenge: Mr. X's motivation in this game, wanting to avenge his defeat from the first game. To do so, he ambushes and kidnap's Adam, sending a picture of him chained up to goad Axel and Blaze to come rescue him.
  • Unique Enemy: In most stages of this game, there are unique variants of punks which will give you 10000 points if defeated, such as Mc. K and Altet (Donovans) in stage 1, and Axi and Mavin (Signals) in stage 3.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: Zamza is around when the game stops going easy on you, especially on the higher difficulty levels. He hits much harder than Barbon or Jet did, he's fast, he has a lot of health for that point in the game, and his erratic movement makes it hard to land any significant damage on him.

     Streets of Rage 3 
  • Actually a Doombot: The "Mr. X" you fight in stage 5. In a way, the "Axel" you fight in stage 3 as well, though he's more like a Robot Me Evil Twin.
  • Advancing Wall of Doom: In the third game's third stage, one segment has you running away from a bulldozer driven by a Donovan, trying to balance breaking through concrete walls and knocking the 'dozer back. At the end of the stage, you walk past a steel beam and the Donovan drives into it, causing a steel barrel to fall from the ceiling and knock him out.
  • Badass Mustache: Dr. Zan has a fetching Fu Manchu-esque wispy beard and goatee combo adding to both his coolness factor an his being a reference to Cyborg Grandpa G.
  • Bald of Awesome: Zan again.
  • The Beastmaster: Danch/Bruce albeit of the abusive ring leader variety. Defeating him before defeating his Boxing Kangaroo Victy/Roo causes the grateful animal to flee immediately and unlocks it as a playable character.
  • Blackout Basement: The Disco level, largely due to the blinking lights since you're in a rave club.
  • Bowdlerise: The storyline of Bare Knuckle 3 involved a convoluted plot of a powerful thermonuclear material called Rakushin,note ,= fear of nuclear war between America and the fictional country of Lima, and the disappearance of a respected General Ivan Petrov, who has been replaced by a robot duplicate designed by Mr. X to instigate said war. Streets of Rage 3's storyline changes the game slightly to remove the intro featuring Wood Oak City being nuked by a Rakushin bomb, changed the General to the Chief of Police, and removed the nuclear war storyline in favor of putting a corrupt impersonator and robotic copies of the city officials to further Mr. X's plan to weaken the city's law enforcement, as well as many dialogue changes, resulting in some dialogue making little to no sense. In addition, the dominatrices wore jackets, Blaze, Axel, and Skate swapped colors so Blaze wouldn't wear red (despite wearing red in previous games), and Macho Camp Ash was Dummied Out (he still existed in the game's code, but you had to use a game enhancer to use him). Oh, and they did a paper thin job of disguising the White House as a generic City Hall. Also, the Bad Ending to stage 6 isn't as subtle in the Japanese version.
    • Strangely inverted for the bad ending caused by timing out the Final Boss: In the Japanese version, even though the bombs were set off and caused catastrophic damage, the citizens at least are glad the conflict are over and forgive the heroes, and it is noted that in time, the damage can simply be repaired and the failure forgotten. In the overseas versions, the damage is on a smaller scale, but the citizens are extremely angry at the heroes for failing and it's noted that it will take a long time for the citizens' trust in the police to be restored.
  • Boxing Kangaroo: Victy/Roo, having been trained and being under the control of Danch/Bruce whom he sics on you. You can either take out Victy/Roo in their fight or focus on his owner which will free him from his control and give you another playable character to boot.
  • Brain in a Jar: The fate that had befell Mr. X after the events of 2 and his overall appearance during the Final Boss battle of this game.
  • Camp Gay: Ash, a hairy guy with a Porn Stache wearing part of a cop outfit and stockings. He's was taken out in the American verison.
  • Collapsing Lair: When Mr. X's Robot Y is defeated in Hard Mode for SOR3 (good or bad ending), the last thing Mr. X does before dying (his preservation vial was broken, exposing his disembodied brain) is set off a Self-Destruct Mechanism to trap Axel, Blaze, Skate, and Zan in the hopes of taking them with him in death.
    Mr. X: (Japanese Good Ending) You won't...escape...alive...
    • In the English version of the good ending, Mr. X begs for his life, and sets his base off when the heroes refuse.
      Mr. X: I'm dying... please help me...
      Skate: Are you kidding?
      Mr. X: Well if I die, you die. Goodbye.
  • Corridor Cubbyhole Run: The mine level. You have to make your way though it all the while some mine carts will come thundering by. You can tell when they're coming when one of the rails start vibrating, giving you time to get out of the way.
  • Cute Kitten: One pops out of the trash cans in the last section of the first stage.
  • Cyborg: Dr. Zan is the most obvious example.
  • Darker and Edgier: Aside of having a heavier soundtrack and grittier graphics, SOR3 is also more serious story-wise. It is also the only game in the series with a secondary character (Police Chief) dying on-screen (as opposed to disappearing bodies), and one of the darkest of possible endings in the series.
  • Dead All Along: In a way. See Brain in a Jar above.
  • Difficulty by Region:,The Japanese version's Normal is the North American version's Easy, Japanese Hard is North American Normal, and Japanese Very Hard is North American Hard. Also, in the NA version, enemies inflict more damage on higher difficulties, which does not happen in the Japanese version. On the flip side, performing special attacks in Streets of Rage 3 costs much less energy than in Bare Knuckle, and the sidestep actually works properly. Astute players eventually start thinking of their lifebar as offensive power.
  • Doppelgänger Attack: Yamato in the 4th level, attacking you with duplicates of himself.
  • Dummied Out: Data for the cut motorcycle level in the third game was left on the cartridge close enough to finished state that you can skip to that level using a device like Game Genie.
  • Fastball Special: Big Bens can pick up Galsias and throw them at you, and Galsias have learned to do elbowdrops in this game. You can do this using your own allies, and can be useful with the throw recovery move.
  • Gainax Ending: The easy and bad endings of 3, which show Mr. X in his human form breaking a glass of wine, make sense at first (well, you didn't manage to catch up Mr. X in private after all!), but when you get to the end of stage 7 on a harder difficulty setting and when you fail to save the hostage at level six... Fridge Logic ensues.
  • Girly Run: Ash has one while sprinting.
  • A Glass of Chianti: The final scene of one of 3's bad endings is Mr X watching Shiva get defeated with a wine glass in hand which he promptly crushes out of anger.
  • Importation Expansion: The Golden Ending of Streets of Rage 3 is expanded upon in the English language localization, stating explicitly that Dr. Dahm turned state's evidence and was committed, Dr. Zan was exonerated, and the crew went their separate ways. The Japanese version only says that the incident was quickly forgotten.
  • Imposter Forgot One Detail: Robot Axel is distinguishable from the real deal by wearing the wrong color gloves (purple in the American Version, blue in the Japanese.) The Japanese version also has the fairly obvious tell of having an entirely different name.
  • Kangaroos Represent Australia: Roo/Victy.
  • The Men in Black: The hitmen wearing suits and sunglasses and wielding guns.
  • Non-Lethal Bottomless Pits: In stage 3 of SOR3, there are several pits that you and enemies can fall into. If you fall in, you simply respawn with a lot of health lost, unless the damage was enough to outright kill you. Averted with enemies; if one falls in, they die instantly, even if they have multiple life bars!
  • Non-Lethal K.O.: Ash in the Japanese version is sent reeling and crying when all of his energy is gone instead of dying. The Japanese version of the same game also has this in VS mode where both players can beat the snot out of each other, yet both characters are shown having a win and lose quote at the end of the fight, showing it wasn't a fight to the death.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: This type of ending occur if you fail to stop Neo X/Robot Y within the time limit. Sure, you defeated Mr. X for good, but his bombs leveled the entire city and the civilians' trust in the police force has been broken (Again this was only in the American version, the Japanese one have the citizen being more lenient on them).
  • Robot Me: Axel and Mr. X get one in 3.
  • Say My Name: In the Japanese version, if the player fails to save General Ivan Petrov in Stage 6 (or the Chief of Police, though this is averted in the North American version): "IVAAAAAAAAANNNNNNN!"
  • Scenery Gorn: Happens In the bad ending of the Japanese version. All the more reason for trying not to screw up.
  • Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You: The opening sequence has Axel punching the screen.
  • Sequel Difficulty Spike: Not only is this installment much harder, the game won't let you continue to Stage 6 and beyond on the easiest difficulty. Again this was due to Sega's American branch switching the difficulties around. What was meant as "Easy" was suppose to be "Normal"
  • Taking You with Me: At the end if the final fight with Mr. X, whether you beat him in time or not, he intends to take the heroes with him when he dies by locking all the doors of the base down. Fortunately, Adam rescues them just in time.
  • Unstable Equilibrium: The star system. Survive well and you'll rack up the points needed to get stars. Die frequently, and you'll never see them, or lose them all and never get them back if you had them. In fact, especially on the Nintendo Hard North American version, it is entirely possible to have a lot of experience with the game, but never even hear of the star system.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: While the Japanese Golden Ending of 3 is a simple one-page statement saying that, essentially, it was all over and quickly forgotten; the English dub turns it into a long crawl explaining what happened to the characters afterward.

     Streets of Rage 4 
  • The Alcatraz: Stage 2, Police Precint, takes place in a prison. In this stage, Axel, Blaze, Floyd, and Cherry have been arrested by the police and once they break out, they have to fight both the prison guards and members of the Syndicate. The boss of the stage is the Commissioner, whom they fight in his office.
  • Artificial Limbs: Floyd sports two bionic arms after losing his old ones in a workplace accident. Since his employers cared more about hiring attorneys than helping him out, he turned to Dr. Zan for help. One image in the credits shows Zan working on one of Floyd's arms.
  • Ascended Extra: Nora (the hat-wearing whip wielding lady from the first game) actually becomes a boss character in this game.
  • Avenging the Villain: This is Mr. and Ms. Y's motivation in this story. To avenge the death of their father, Mr. X.
  • Battle Boomerang: Boomerangs also appear as a usable weapon in Streets of Rage 4 and you have to press the "pick up item" button on the rebound to catch it.
  • Better the Devil You Know: Shiva's main reason for dissociating from the Y Twins is their obsession with mind-controlling everyone in the city, making them much less appealing than working for their late father, Mr. X, so he respectfully encourages the heroes to defeat them.
  • Black-and-White Morality: The series is pretty clear-cut with regard to the morality of the heroes and villains. This game shakes things up a little with several crooked cops who would attack both the players and syndicate members led by Estel as the 'grey' area, since they were under misinformation that Axel and friends were also one of the bad guys for their violent approach against crime. Some of them are also implied to be the result of being bribed by the Syndicate.
  • Bonus Boss: There are four secret encounters where you can fight against retro bosses from the second game (Jack, Zamza, Abadede and SOR2 Shiva and Mr. X.) To access them, you will need to find the "Bare Knuckle" arcade machines and hit them with a taser.
  • Boss Rush: A separate mode where you fight all the bosses one after the other.
  • Bonus Feature Failure: The retro soundtrack option is not only compressed and low quality, it also only uses the soundtrack from 2 and its 8-bit counterpart.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Max in Streets of Rage 4 due to being under the control of mind-control music Mr and Ms. Y are pumping out. The heroes have to fight him to snap him out of it.
  • The Bus Came Back:
    • After being Demoted to Extra in the last two games, Adam finally returns as a playable character is Streets of Rage 4.
    • After skipping 3, Max also returns in 4, but as a boss.
  • Catch and Return: The fourth game lets you do this by catching thrown weapons or projectiles and chucking it back at the enemy. You can also exploit this by chucking melee weapons at a foe and catching the weapon back at the rebound. Don't try this on the yellow and red palette swap of the Donovan enemies since they'll catch your weapons and throw them back at you instead.
  • Continuing is Painful: Unlike the last three games, there's no continue system in this game. You're given your set of lives and have to make your way through the stages with them. You can gain more via scoring (beating up mooks, picking up money and food, etc). But once you run out of lives in a level that's it. If you're playing multi-player, you can be brought back provided your partner(s) managed to beat the level with a reset life counter. But if all go down, that's game and you have to restart from the beginning of the level.
  • The Cameo: Roo/Victy can be seen in the biker bar level, cleaning a beer glass.
  • Creator Cameo: The development staff is present at party on top of the Y Tower.
  • Cutscene Power to the Max: In alot of the cutscenes, your characters are falling from great height without suffering any damage. In-game, if you fall in the Bottomless Pits, you lose a portion of your health.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Picking items up is a separate button from attacking for practical purposes, though there's an option to merge them like in the older games if you prefer. Likewise, the fourth game doesn't let you use your defensive special to break free out of enemy grabs and hit stuns while the previous two games did let you do that.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon: The game seems to build up towards a final confrontation with the Y Twins in stage 9, at the Y Tower building, complete with an elevator leading up to them. They're not the actual stage bosses, as you fight a brainwashed Max instead. There's still some more progress to do before beating the game.
  • Evil Overlooker: Ms. Y is this in this game's cover.
  • Faceless Masses: The final area of stage 9 has you fighting in some sort of dance club/fight club stage, which is surrounded by a large crowd. Most of the crowd is drawn in very simple detail and some have really exaggerated facial expressions. Other people in the crowd, including the Y twins, don't have any eyes drawn.
  • Fighting Your Friend: Max serves as a boss via brainwashing in 4.
  • Final Boss Preview: The boss of stage 11 is Mr. Y by himself and then he reappears in the next (and final) stage of the game fighting alongside his sister (whom you also fought by herself just a moment before) and the duo make up the Final Boss.
  • Hard Levels, Easy Bosses: Levels grow progressively more difficult as you increase the game's difficulty but the boss fights largely stay the same, one outstanding exception in the middle of the game aside (the second fight against Estel, where on higher difficulties she is able to summon two Commissioners to help her).
  • Hero Antagonist: The police genuinely think they're doing the right thing arresting Axel and his vigilante friends. They even fight the Syndicate in game whenever they're presented with an opportunity to.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: The gist the boss battle on stage 9: it's Max, under the influence of the twins' mind control music. The effect wears off when you beat him and he returns to himself.
  • Immune to Flinching:
    • Nora, the third boss of 4, is able to whip the Galsia enemies with her electric whip to make them immune to hit stun. Likewise, some enemies and nearly all bosses can become resistant to flinching at certain points, signified by their sprite flashing white.
    • The boss of stage 9 is almost impossible to hit stun and you need to work around that fact to beat him. Seeing as it's Max, you shouldn't be surprised.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Stage 6 is set in a Friendly Local Chinatown...with inexplicable Japanese elements, such as a ramen cart (granted, ramen is derived from Chinese cuisine, but the cart has "ramen" written in katakana), naginatas as equippable weapons, and a garden with cherry blossoms.
  • Interface Spoiler: Exploited.11 stage icons appear on the map of Wood Oak City, and the 11th stage culminates in a boss fight with Mr. Y, the son of series Big Bad Mr. X. He even fights very similarly to him. But then a 12th stage is revealed in an image that pops up only once you've reached it on the map, and the game continues.
  • Lawful Stupid: Estel fights the heroes simply because she thinks they are breaking the law and ignores them when they try to warn them about the Syndicate's plans. Once she sees Mr. Y blow up a train full of civilians just to kill the heroes, she immediately drops the "stupid" part and assists the heroes in a later stage.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: Cops in the fourth game will attack any Syndicate enemies they see and will ignore you until all the goons are gone.
  • Major Injury Under Reaction: Very common in this game. The mid point for the first stage alone has a car crash into a wall and hit three mooks, who, aside from briefly being knocked down and losing a chunk of their health, get up like it's no worse than your fists. A couple of stages involve crashes so bad you start laid out on the ground with a reduced health bar, but with the ability to immediately proceed, wipe out waves of punks, and reclaim that health in no time.
  • Mêlée à Trois: The heroes have to fend off both the Y Syndicate and the police, which are willing to assault the other sides.
  • Mind-Control Music: The Syndicate plan to use music to control the whole city.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: Bosses aren't damage by their own weapons. Diva, Beyo and Riha and take no damage from electricity, poison and fire. Same for Estel who is unhurt by the shell firing she summoned.
  • Mythology Gag: Estel, the fourth boss, calls in a police backup to do the same duty as the police backup special from the first game, complete with a comic book cutscene of the cops arriving in the same car.
  • Older Hero vs. Younger Villain: Streets of Rage 4 pits the original trio of 1 against Mr. and Ms. Y, the children of Mr. X.
  • One-Hit Polykill: The meat cleaver can cut through a whole row of enemies if it's thrown.
  • Overlord Jr.: Mr. and Ms. Y are the children of the late Mr. X and they waste no time continuing their father's legacy.
  • Purposely Overpowered: The retro styled player characters are made this way to compensate for their simpler attack patterns. The SOR1 incarnations are the most powerful due to them lacking blitz attacks and having no downward aerial attacks. SOR3 Shiva was already overpowered in his game and it is kept in this game.
  • Retraux: Past, pixelated versions of every playable character from the first three games (minus Ash and Roo, but including Shiva) can be unlocked for use in this game. The soundtrack can also be swapped out for tracks from 2 and the Master System version of 1.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: After the police station level, Mr. Y tries to bribe the heroes with a suitcase full of cash and gold bars, at gun point. They reject his offer by burning up the money and escape.
  • Sequel Hook: The Y Twins are arrested at the end, and could return.
  • Set a Mook to Kill a Mook: When you're on a screen which has both gang members and cops as enemies, they'll focus on each other if you make a point to stay out of the way, and you still receive points for any kills made.
  • Soft Water: Mr. Y jumps off his airplane and falls in the water. You meet him in the next level completely unharmed.
  • Super Window Jump: After the police level, Mr. Y confronts the heroes and tries to bride them to stop, threating to have him men shoot them otherwise. When they refuse, the group jump out the window of the police station, which is on the top floor of the building, and land in the ocean.
  • Surprise Car Crash: The first stage shows a big crowd of mooks that you think that you have to face, but then an out of control car suddenly plows through it and into a wall, taking all of those mooks out. You can smash the wrecked car up for bonus points and an achievement.
  • Time Skip: This game is set ten years after the conclusion of 3, which sees our previous heroes much older (Axel's gotten a bit chubbier and is now sporting a beard, Blaze and Adam both look more mature, Max is sporting gray hairs, etc) and the offspring of both the original protagonists (Cherry Hunter, Adam's daughter) and antagonists (the Y Twins, the children of Mr. X) take starring roles. Although that isn't nearly as much time as what actually passed in real life since 3.
  • Too Awesome to Use: The 8th stage (Art Gallery) has a golden chicken statue that can be picked up and thrown at enemies. It's the most powerful weapon in the entire game that can One-Hit KO any regular enemy in that stage. However it can only hit once before vanishing, so you're better off just taking it with you through the stage and saving it to do obscene damage against Beyo and/or Riha at the end (and you even get an achievement for bringing it to the room they're in).
  • Worthy Opponent: Shiva considers the player character to be this after his defeat, but especially Axel, whom he salutes (martial arts style) and calls 'brother', and otherwise parts ways with them on surprisingly good terms.


Alternative Title(s): Streets Of Rage 2, Streets Of Rage 3, Streets Of Rage 4

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