For Streets of Rage's 30th birthday, its composer says we were all wrong about this move

Is it truly possible that one of Streets of Rage's most iconic moves has been mistranslated for decades? Yuzo Koshiro says so.


The beloved bare knuckle beat-‘em-up franchise, Streets of Rage, turned 30 years old this week. That’s three decades of cleaning up the mean streets of Wood Oak City with Axel Stone, Blaze Fielding, and other beloved fighters in the series. Thirty years of throwing out Grand Upper after Grand Upper… or maybe not?! As part of the Streets of Rage 30th birthday shenanigans, longtime composer Yuzo Koshiro went online with a video to say that one of the game’s most iconic moves has been mistranslated pretty much since it first came out.

For those who don’t know, Yuzo Koshiro was the composer for the entire original Streets of Rage trilogy. His music is synonymous with the series and plays quite the role in what makes it so memorable. It’s so good that that he was credited right on the title screens beside Sega. Well, for Streets of Rage’s happy 30th, Koshiro decided to set the record straight on a matter. Axel’s iconic uppercut isn’t called “Grand Upper”. It’s “Ground Upper” and just got mistranslated for literal decades.

Pretty wild to say the least. That uppercut has been with main character Axel Stone since Streets of Rage 2 and has been a core part of his kit since 1992. He, of course, still has it in the impeccable Streets of Rage 4 and because of the Mr. X Nightmare DLC in which we can change moves on the characters, you can indeed see that the move is still called “Grand Upper” there. No offense to DotEmu, Lizardcube, and Guard Crush Games, because they’ve clearly done their homework and made a pretty much perfect Streets of Rage game.

It’s quite funny to imagine that a move got mistranslated in such a popular game and no one stepped up to fix it for literal decades. We’d opine that Grand Upper does sound quite a bit more cool, but we’ll also defer to one of the undisputed masters of Streets of Rage. “Ground Upper” it is, Mr. Koshiro.

Senior News Editor

TJ Denzer is a player and writer with a passion for games that has dominated a lifetime. He found his way to the Shacknews roster in late 2019 and has worked his way to Senior News Editor since. Between news coverage, he also aides notably in livestream projects like the indie game-focused Indie-licious, the Shacknews Stimulus Games, and the Shacknews Dump. You can reach him at and also find him on Twitter @JohnnyChugs.

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