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While translating this game from Japanese to American and European audiences, Sega of America altered it significantly. The most notable changes were that the miniboss character Ash was removed because he was a stereotyped homosexual, females were given more modest clothing, and the costume colors were changed. Axel is dressed like Adam, Blaze’s clothes were changed from red to white, and Skate wears red and blue instead of red and yellow. Sega stated that these were changed to create “gender-neutral colors.” The voice-effects were also changed, with most noticeably Axel’s catchphrase of “Grand Upper” for his semi-special move being replaced with “Bare Knuckle”.
The plot was rewritten, leaving many gaps in the narrative. In the original Bare Knuckle 3 the story dealt with a new explosive substance called Rakushin, discovered by a Dr. Gilbert (who later turns out to be Dr. Zan), and the disappearance of a military general. In the American and European versions of Streets of Rage 3, all references to Rakushin were removed, and the general was replaced by the chief of police, and a scheme to switch city officials with robot clones was invented. Another difference was if you didn’t save the general, you had to head to the White House. This too was changed in the U.S./Euro version where instead if you didn’t save the chief, then you had to head to the City Hall, although the building depicting the City Hall was still clearly the White House.
Also, Bare Knuckle 3, even on the highest difficulty setting, was significantly easier than Streets of Rage 3 on default difficulty. A comprehensive list of all the changes between the versions, as well as a complete translation of the Japanese script, can be found at SOR online. [Info from Wikipedia]
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