I have only foggy memories of Sega's 1991 side-scrolling man-thumper Streets of Rage (I was more of a Final Fight man, played on a chum's Amiga) but I remember visiting the house of the only boy in the world to own a Mega-CD / Sega CD and playing it with him there. Though it might have been the second game, now I think of it. No matter - many buttons were bashed, many men were thumped, many naughty-swears were uttered. And yes, I do remember that thing where the police car turns up and bombs everything to death with as much fondness as the next man.
Now, a cartel of indie devs have painstakingly remade the bally thing as an elaborate, faithful but free PC game. After a remarkable eight years in development, you can play the 'final' version of this labour of violent love right now.
No simple tribute, it's in fact an attempt to merge all three Streets of Rage games into one enormous omni-basher. 19 playable biff-masters, 64 enemies, 103 stages, plus local co-op and all manner of bonus content. It's clearly a passion project, rather than any kind of cash-in, as evidenced by the devs' strict mandate that it must not be charged for.
This is version 5, which is leaps and bounds on from the many beta versions over the last near-decade. You can still explore those here, if you're so taken, but frankly you should go straight to the full-fat newest version, which is dripping with features and polish.
Works pretty well on keyboard, I'm pleased to report, though the dedication to original resolution graphics means it's not massively sharp'n'beautiful on today's many-pixelled monitors. Definitely better to have the (more or less) original look, replete with all its early-90s cheese and absurd body types, than some slick modern reworking though, I suspect.
Clearly, it risks standing on the wrong side of copyright law, but apparently no reverse engineering or code-pilfering is involved - instead, "it's all based on visual interpretation, comparing how things work in the original games and trying to mimic it for Streets of Rage Remake." The devs have informed Sega of its existence, and as of the time of writing no smackdown has arrived - hopefully all is thus well.
Grab 218MB of meticulously-recreated console vigilantism from here, although you'll likely need to go through a MegaUpload or RapidShare service to get it - servers don't come cheap, y'know.
Here's a video of that wonderful, terrible police car special move:
Thanks to the multiple kind-hearts who sent this in.