[Beyond PlayStation] Streets Of Rage 4 Review
The wait is finally over! Streets of Rage 4 from DotEmu, Lizardcube, and Guard Crush Games is now out on Nintendo Switch. Learn more about this must-have beat ‘em up in our Streets of Rage 4 review!
The Streets of Rage series got its start back in the good old Sega Genesis days – known as the Mega Drive outside of North America – with Streets of Rage, which was released in 1991. The series is known as Bare Knuckles in Japan because of course it is. For those new to the franchise, it’s now a quadrilogy of beat ‘em ups with tight gameplay mechanics and one of the best soundtracks out there. If you have never played them, be sure to, on top of buying Streets of Rage 4 today, you also get the Sega Genesis Collection on the Nintendo Switch, an awesome compilation with classic Sega games such as all three Streets of Rage games, both Toe Jam and Earl Games, the fantastic Shining Force games, the three Sega Genesis Phantasy Star games, and many more.
Streets of Rage 4 from DotEmu, Lizardcube, and Guard Crush Games picks up ten years after the third game in the series and is set years after the previous entry in the franchise. Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding are back for another go and are joined by Cherry – Adam’s daughter – and by Floyd, a huge chunk of a man with cybernetic arms that certainly pack a punch. Worry not, because Adam Hunter will be unlocked after you’ve proven yourself worthy! The city had been at peace for ten years after the defeat of Mr. X, but a new crime empire has arisen, and it’s set on corrupting the city. Rumor has it this new organization is actually run by the Y Twins, the children of Mr. X.
Once you’ve selected if you’ll be playing in the Easy, Normal, Hard, or Hardest difficulty setting, you can get started with your new adventure. Axel and Blaze play as you’d expect, with Axel feeling a tad bit slower than in previous Streets of Rage games – must be an aging thing, right? Cherry Hunter is the more lightweight of the bunch, and this allows her to quickly move around each area as she takes some quick shots here and there. Floyd is the tank of the group and is great for dealing with stronger enemies since he can dish out as much pain as he can take.
You’ll move your character with the D-Pad or with the left analog stick – for that old-school feel. Attacks are mapped to the Y button, with jumps set to the B button. You can pick up items and weapons with the A button, using a special attack with the X button so that you can deal some considerable damage to opponents while also getting out of any trouble you find yourself in – just keep in mind that specials will drain your hit points with every use! You can perform a back attack with the L button to deal with any opponents that are trying to sneak up on you, and there’s an even more special star move you can activate by pressing the X and A buttons at the same time, but as the name suggests, you’ll need to have a star to be able to use it.
Something to consider is that when you use your special attack, you will lose some of your overall health, but there’s a small window of opportunity for you to win some of it back. You see, when you use one of your special attacks, a small part of your health bar, located at the upper part of the screen, will turn green. This is your cue to hit the enemy closest to you because if you’re fast enough and deal some solid damage to your opponents, you’ll be able to recover that part of your health bar.
As you play, you should always try to make the most of the combo system, because the longer and deadlier the combo you can sustain, the bigger the score bonus you will get! The more points you score, the better your odds of survival, since you’ll be rewarded with extra lives at different intervals, because of this you should also always pick up the moneybags and suitcases full of bills you find along the way, as well as from breaking all of the stuff around you because a penny saved is a penny earned!
And then, there are the retro pixel art characters that are also joining in on the fun from every single old-school Streets of Rage entry in the series! You’ll be able to play as the pixeltastic characters from the first three Streets of Rage games, along with the new gorgeous locations you’ll be visiting in Streets of Rage 4, and there’s even the option of using old-school sound effects, as well as the classic soundtracks from the first three games in the beloved beat ‘em up franchise.
You can also go into the Extra section on the main menu to check out info on characters, as well as different galleries showcasing the art of Streets of Rage 4. At first, only the “Other” gallery section is unlocked, but as you complete specific stages in the game, more galleries will unlock, which is a nice bonus for progressing through the game’s levels. Once you complete Story Mode, you’ll unlock a stage select option, as well as an Arcade Mode and a Boss Rush Mode. Completing the game will also unlock a Mania difficulty setting, which will challenge even the most seasoned of series veterans.
I’ve been following the development of Streets of Rage 4 from the moment it was announced, and I’m here to report that the wait has been worth it! The game looks great, and it feels like a Streets of Rage release. The soundtrack is superb, and including the old-school tracks from the Sega Genesis days, as well as the pixel characters from previous entries in the quadrilogy, was a nice way of paying homage to the long-running franchise while introducing new gameplay mechanics that help to make this new entry feel fresh. Streets of Rage 4 is out tomorrow on Nintendo Switch for $24.99, and is worth every penny.
This Streets of Rage 4 review is based on a Nintendo Switch copy provided by DotEmu.