Streets of Kamurocho

I have a lot of nostalgia for Streets of Rage 2, and I revisit it often. So when I fired up Streets of Kamurocho, it felt immediately familiar.

Obviously, Streets of Kamurocho (which released as a limited-time free game in celebration of the Sega 60th Anniversary Sale on Steam) is a throwback to the Streets of Rage series. I was expecting that. What I wasn’t expecting, however, was basically a reskin of Streets of Rage 2.

Note that the title fonts are the same, and while the character select screens aren’t laid out exactly the same, they use a lot of the same elements. The character select music, though, is almost identical.

Streets of Kamurocho vs Streets of Rage 2

Once you start the Streets of Kamurocho, you’re walking around (as either Kazuma Kiryu or Goro Majima — or the hidden third character) in an area that’s clearly designed around Kamurocho from the Yakuza games. The aesthetic of each game is quite different here, but both take place in city streets at nighttime.

However, I should point out that both SoK characters have has what is essentially Axel’s moveset, including the Dragon Wing move (Axel’s stationary special attack) and the Dragon Smash flurry (Axel’s forward special). And, I mean, look at the UI. It’s exactly the same. The character names even use the same font!

Streets of Kamurocho vs Streets of Rage 2

You’ll make your way down the street, which heads to the right, then bends southward, then heads to the right again. This basic layout is exactly the same in both games.

As you come around that second corner, there are three trash receptacles. There’s a healing item in the first one (an apple in SoR2 and a Staminan X in SoK), the second one is empty, and the third one is hiding a knife.

Streets of Kamurocho vs Streets of Rage 2

Oh, and on this last stretch, be careful. Two guys are going to jump out of the manholes, and after that, a guy’s going to charge you with a knife. Yes, this pattern is the same in SoR2 and SoK. I think it’s kind of funny that if you’re playing as Kiryu, the scimitar the guy drops will become a road cone that you can brandish as a weapon in classic Yakuza fashion (it will become a samurai sword if you’re playing as Majima).

At the end of this stretch of road, you’ll come to a bar (the familiar haunt Bacchus from Yakuza in Streets of Kamurocho), where you’ll confront a sub-boss (Jack in SoR2 and Lau Ka Long in SoK). No matter which of these two games you’re playing, there is an open garage next to the bar, and a sandwich board on either side of the bar’s main entry. Oh, and this sub-boss has the same evil laugh in both games.

Streets of Kamurocho vs Streets of Rage 2

Then you’ll enter the bar. Once inside, you’ll see a very similar bar interior. The Streets of Kamurocho interior is very obviously designed after the one in Streets of Rage 2 rather than the actual Bacchus from Yakuza. Just look at the angle of the floorboards. Look at those brick arches. Look at the layouts of the paintings.

Also, you can break the tables and chairs, and those will often have money underneath (moneybags in SoR2, stacks of cash in SoK). The money is hiding under the first and third table, and the second and fourth chair. The fifth table has a healing item under it.

At the end of the bar, you’ll fight another sub-boss (Electra in SoR2, Koji Shindo in SoK), then you’ll step out into the back alley and fight a group of dudes in the rain next to two trash cans (the second one has a healing item in it). One of the dudes in this crowd is the level boss (Barbon in SoR2, Akira Nishikiyama in SoK).

Streets of Kamurocho vs Streets of Rage 2

Of course, this is where the games diverge. Streets of Rage 2 will go on to the second stage from here, whereas Streets of Kurocho will simply loop back to the start of the first stage. It does seem like the enemies are more aggressive in the second round.

Now, I honestly don’t mind this. Streets of Kamurocho is a limited-time free game, and it’s designed to lure people into Sega’s big Steam sale. It makes sense to take two beloved Sega franchises and mash them up. I’d be a little annoyed if I paid for Streets of Kamurocho, but I didn’t, and I played it for probably an hour or so. I love Streets of Rage 2, and I love the Yakuza series, so I consider this time well spent.

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