I remember Streets of Rage 3 pretty vividly when I was growing up. My family never actually had it for our genesis (up until recently when I decided to start buying genesis games for a collection), instead our neighbors were the ones that had the game and we would come over to play it. We used to play it constantly, trying to get to the last stage filled with robots, unlocking secret characters to play, getting the good ending, we played the hell out of that game (although I would admit, we played our copy of Streets of Rage 2 more, but thats not the point.)
Playing it as an adult with a more refined taste in games, I still find SoR3 to be a classic game worth being in any genesis fan's collection and a game that old and new players alike should play. That being said, it surprises me how SoR3 can be somewhat bashed on not only to the change's made from SoR2, but also the changes made from the japanese version of SoR3 (known as Bare Knuckle 3.) I like to refer to this game as the "Super Mario Bros. 2" of the series, because of a certain Youtube AVGN-rip-off reviewer (I'm sure most of you know who I'm referring to) who once made an onling video game review of SMB2 where he bashes the game with his nit-picky and uneducated opinion, and essentially goes so far as to imply that it is a bad game (which it is not.)
If you're wondering what exactly sets SoR3 apart from previous installments, there are some changes but not a lot. As for gameplay, it's the same old Streets of Rage we all know and love. You have a group of characters fighting thugs and killers trying to save a city being threatened with bombs set to detonate, and its up to the players to save the city. So, what are the changes made from SoR2 to SoR3? Well for one, the overall speed of the 3rd is faster than that of the 2nd, and by overall, I mean everything. The characters and enemies move faster, the combat and gameplay is faster, even the soundtrack is faster compared to the 2nd game. The amount of moves avaliable to each character has been upgraded as well. Now characters can run, roll escape, use enhanced special moves both unarmed and with a weapon. Whether you like SoR2 more than SoR3 (which I do) or not, you can't deny that SoR3 is a step up in gameplay.
What makes Streets of Rage 3 the "SMB2" of the series would be the nit-picky excuses people have about the "differences" it has with the japanese port and SoR2. Some people don't like for instance the soundtrack in SoR3. I think the soundtrack in SoR2 is better, however I thoroughly enjoy the one in SoR3. It's not a bad soundtrack, it's different. Would you rather they play the same music from the 2nd game in the 3rd instead of coming up with a new and original soundtrack? The other reasons why SoR3 is looked down upon is because there are people that say Bare Knuckle 3 is the superior version. And what makes BK3 superior to SoR3? The colors of the 4 characters are different (or atleast the 3 characters from the previous game have the same colors as before), some of the female enemies have more revealing clothing (woo woo), and you get to fight a gay sterotype mini boss...Really? This is what makes it a superior game? A pointless mini boss and a few palette swaps? That's all aesthetics, hardly enough to call BK3 superior to SoR3. For something to make either game superior to the other would have to be something involving the game itself...Kinda like the fact that the difficulty settings in SoR3 are actually harder than the difficulty settings in BK3!
All in all, Streets of Rage 3 is in my opinion a very good if sometimes underrated game for the Sega Genesis. Check it out sometime.