Streets of Rage 3 is, for some reason, considered the weakest of an admittedly excellent trilogy of scrolling brawlers. I mean, how can you really follow on from the original and its superb sequel? This third game was never going to match expectations, but its biggest problem is not necessarily the quality of its game itself, but rather its utterly butchered localisation from the original Japanese version, known as Bare Knuckle 3.
The Western release was filled with idiotic changes, from making it a much tougher game, changing the colours of the main characters’ outfits for no reason, completely messing around with the entire narrative of the game, removing awesome looking cutscenes and making other pointless changes that make the version we got, almost an entirely new and much inferior release.
In any case, what Streets of Rage 3 and its Japanese counterpart do have, is a whole lot of cheats and for the first time in the series, some hidden characters as well. There are so many secrets that I thought it would be fun to show every single one, all together in one video.
So, let’s start with some of your common or garden cheat codes. The things you want when you need Street of Rage 3 to be that little bit easier, starting with a quick code to increase your starting number of lives.
You’ll need two controllers for this one. Just go to the Options screen, where you’d normally pick how many lives you want to start with. If you highlight the “Lives” option, hold Up, A, B & C on the second controller, and press right on the first controllers Dpad to increase the number of lives past its usual maximum of 5, all the way up to a whopping 9 lives. That should be more than enough to keep you alive that bit longer.
But if you’re still struggling, there’s always the good old fashioned Level Select cheat. On the main menu, highlight the Battle option. Then, hold Up and B together one controller one, and while you have those buttons held, either press Start or C to enter the Options menu. You’ll get a different chime, and at the bottom of the Options menu is a new Level Select option.
Here’s a cheat that might settle a few arguments during two player games. If you’ve ever fought over who gets to be Blaze, you can solve this issue on the main menu screen by holding Down & C on the second controller, and then use the first controller to select the 2 Player Mode. This will allow both players to use the same character – Unfortunately you’ll be the exact same colour so it’s a little confusing, but it’s better than nothing.
We’re not done yet, because there are some simple cheat codes available that can massively improve the offensive capabilities of some of the main characters. Each of Street’s of Rage 3’s characters (excluding Blaze, for some reason), have a cheat that gives them a boost in some way.
If Axel’s your main man, pick him as normal, and when the Round 1 Start screen appears, continuously rotate the D-pad in a clockwise motion until the game puts you in control. From then on, when you use Axel’s special attack with the A button, it’ll now knock down every enemy in the nearby area, when if contact is made with a foe, it’ll drastically whittle down their health.
Skate’s a pretty fast character, but there’s a way to make his standard punch so fast that it’s almost a blur. Pick Skate as usual, and when the game starts, don’t attack anyone – Take enough damage to lose a life. When you come back, your standard punch will be faster and powerful enough to combo enemies to oblivion by itself.
Finally, if you want to make Zan’s attacks just as fast as Skate’s improved punches, hold C on both controllers when selecting Zan. When the game starts, Zan’s punches will continue to have his long reach but will hit faster than a machine gun, and just as deadly.
So, no we’re onto the main attraction – The hidden characters. For the first time, you can play as some of this game’s bosses, which as a whole lot of fun, and most of them are unlocked in similar ways.
Early on in Stage two, you’ll encounter a duo of tricky minibosses, the deadly pugilist kangaroo, Roo, and his nasty trainer, Bruce. If you feel sorry for Roo’s slavery under Bruce, why not leave the poor animal alone and eliminate Bruce. Once this abusive slave driver is out of the picture, Roo will run away and live to fight another day. In fact, the next time you lose your lives and you’re able to select your character after continuing, if you keep scrolling through characters, you’ll discover that Roo is now selectable. He’s a fun character, with some quick but deadly moves.
If that seems like too much work for you, there’s a cheat to unlock him from the start. Just hold Up and B at the title screen and press Start. When you begin the game and select your character, Roo should be there alongside the standard four heroes.
Next up, we’re going to unlock one of the series most deadly of bosses, Shiva. You’ll fight him at the end of the first stage, and he’s no less deadly than he’s ever been. However, the moment you connect with an attack that kills him, hold B and Start together until the next level begins. Once again, when you lose all your lives and continue, Shiva will appear on the list of characters you can select.
Finally, we come to a character that’s not even in the Western versions of Streets of Rage 3, and it won’t take you long to figure out why. This next character is a boss from the Japanese version, Bare Knuckle 3, and he’s more than a little odd.
In Streets of Rage 3’s first level, you’ll see Shiva speed by in a boat, usually with some enemies in the back, ready to pounce on you. In the game’s Japanese counterpart, Bare Knuckle 3, things are a little different, as the pilot of the boat was originally this capped gentleman named Ash, and is an additional boss not seen in the Western editions, and once he leaves the confines of his boat, you will see exactly why.
Ladies and gentlemen, even in 2018 video games have some way to go in terms of portraying diverse characters, and in 1994 things were exponentially worse. How can I say this….You see, Ash is a stereotypically camp character, a very dated caricature of gay men who prances, giggles and has a feminine voice, and while in some ways it is good to see a character with an alternative lifestyle in a Mega Drive game, when you realise that in terms of Japanese culture, this sort of stereotype comes from a place of ridicule, it’s possibly better that he was removed.
Regardless, he is a hidden character in Bare Knuckle 3, and to unlock him you need to fight him in Stage 1, and like Shiva, you need to hold a combination of buttons immediately after you land the last hit on him, you need to hold the A button until the next level starts. Once again, once you lose all your lives and are given the option to Continue and select your character, Ash will be on the list of characters.
Phew, that was a lot of cheats and hidden stuff for Streets of Rage 3 and Bare Knuckle 3. Maybe this video will inspire you to give this much-maligned video game a chance, especially since it’s likely the last slice of Streets of Rage we’ll ever get, which is truly gaming’s biggest shame.
Thanks for making it this far, as always I will indeed be back soon with more gaming goodness. Please do share this video with the world via Social Media, and why not take a couple of seconds to let me know your thoughts on Streets of Rage 3 in the comments.
Until next time, have a great week and happy gaming.