Although the Japanese Rushing Beat Series comes close There is no better beat em Series besides Streets of Rage. Final Fight and Double Dragon hold their place and though I hold Final Fight in higher reguard than Double Dragon (Double Dragon NEEDS to come back by the way)
Streets of Rage was in fact for the people living under a rock Sega's Answer to Final Fight. (and Blaze the SOR hottie didn't have a penis unlike Final Fight's Hottie Poison)
Streets of Rage was classic Sega. The Reason I imported Sonic Gems wasn't just for the superior soundtrack to Sonic CD but also for the 3 Bare Knuckles games (the Japanese name for the series)
of course We can't talk about Streets of Rage with out talking about Yuzo's music......
Ok I mentioned it. Really though it's the best example of music on the Megadrivisis. The First level of Street of Rage 2 is an immortal track of all time video game music awesomeness.
The Game has been popping up for download, On the Virtual Console I belive all 3 are to be had and 2 with online play is on the 360. Also fan remakes exist here are videos of a Dreamcast version made using ANOTHER tribute to Streets of Rage the Beats of Rage Engine
and the PC remake
But Why Sega? Why hasn't there been a Streets of Rage 4? It exists yes and there is very limited footage of Axel Running.
There are rumors going around as to why it never came out. That Sega of America were idiots and through the beat em up Genre was dead. That the Head of SOA didn't even know WTF Streets of Rage was.
Rumors an XBOX version was made also surfaced and Yuzo (The composer) even metioned
designs were being done for the game and it was going to be rather unique. This never came to pass.
The only evidence we have of what SOR 4 could have been is Sega MEH Spikeout on XBOX
Not Sega's finest moment but it is a blast on XBOX live. It's not yet BC on 360 and from what I understand the game was rare the second it came out.
Hope isn't lost though. Nights being given a (shitty) Sequel and the possibility that Good sales of Yakuza may lead to Sega consider the Greenlight for Shenmue 3. So who knows we may some day see Streets of Rage 4. But this is Sega we're talking about.
The Sega that hates us and punishes us with Shitty games.
In the meentime my Home away from home has a Great piece on Streets of Rage that goes into far more detail than I did. That would be here.