Streets of Rage 4

Streets of Rage 4
20 Aug 20

You often have to wait for sequels to decent games but nearly 25 years might be pushing it, but when it’s worth the wait you can forgive developers for their lapse in updates.

Source: Wikipedia

The case in point is Streets of Rage, you remember that right? The beat em up series that almost put Capcom to shame with their constant rehashes of Street Fighter 2. As you’ll well know SoR was a Megadrive/Genesis exclusive which spawned 3 games in total but in 2020 we got the fourth instalment for the latest gem hardware and it is totally bitchin’ in the best way possible.

You want nostalgia? Then you’re gonna get smacked in the face with it. Everything you love about the originals is here! Not only do you get the roster of original characters but you get their 16 bit predecessors in all their pixelated glory. As for the newly designed players they are presented immaculately. There’s Alex, Blaze, and then Cherry and Floyd, they’re newbies but Adam is still lurking around but you have to progress so far into the game to unlock him. He’s also Cherry’s dad so he’s been getting bizzay! Although I reckon Adam and Blaze have been at it too!

Source: BlackGame

Anyway following the downfall of the dreaded Mr X in the previous trilogy the team must face down his offspring, the Y twins (yeah they really went to town on the naming conventions considering they had two decades to think about it). The evil twins plan is to control the population of Oakwood City by hypnotising them with some block-rocking beats using speakers in the sewer systems in addition to a concert that is to be performed that very evening. It would seem that time is of the essence.

But does the storyline really matter? The developers seem to think it does as they shove as many prolonged cutscenes between levels as possible but you’ll see that the seasoned SoR player skips them instantaneously. All we care about is kicking ass right? Too right? There’s not much difference in the gameplay from the originals. You’re pitted against hordes of nasties and as with the 16 bit version of the games they all look pretty much alike. Me thinks there’s a bit of inbreeding going on in Oakwood City, either that or they’ve taken a leaf from the Darth Sideous book of cloning.

Anyway, beat away. The more stylishly you dispense your opponent the more points you get. Each character has their own set of moves so master the one you feel most comfortable with. I go with Axel as he was my fave back in the day. There’s no denying that some of  the fighting styles come straight out of Street Fighter 2 but in this day and age who cares?

If you think back to the originals there was a super move which was to summon a police car with a rocket launcher which wiped out all enemies on screen. You don’t get that right away but we will revisit that thought so keep it in mind. Now, your characters have a super move that basically canes everyone around them and they can be called on at a moment’s notice so if a baddie is about to pull a nasty on you you’ll quickly stop them in their tracks.

Also as I mentioned before you progress further through the game you unlock characters from the old games and even better they are just as pixelated as they were in the originals. Plus, as I alluded to before, you can summon up the old skool cop car and bazooka and kick the F out of everyone.

There are a few modes. The first being the story mode which is pretty self explanatory, there is a battle mode where you can have a one on one clash with an opponent. Then there’s Boss Rush. This is basically you taking on all of the end of level bosses one at a time until you defeat them all, but that is easier said than done.

You can also play online with people all over the world which makes for some fun etiquette and also makes up for the lack of friends you had as a kid or you could only afford one controller.

The most important thing is, it looks amazing, it sounds awesome and is so honest to the games that came before it. It just lets you remember how decent 2D beat-em-up’s could be. Hey, you can even go in and turn the original 16-bit soundtrack on.

SoR4 is available on all major platforms and even on Xbox Game Pass.

Author

Paul Wright

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