Without a doubt, Streets of Rage is one of the most memorable games for many many gamers. Series like Streets of Rage, are not only an absolute nostalgia, but also a part of gaming history. Streets of Rage is one of the most popular Beat’em Up games among older players, but this doesn’t mean that the new generation doesn’t know about it. I believe anyone who is somehow connected to the gaming world, has heard about this game at some point of his/her life. When the fourth game came out, I was really excited. It’s hard to describe all the nostalgia and good memory in a few sentences, but if you’re a die-hard fan of the series, you exactly know what I’m talking about. Though when it comes to titles like this, excitement is not all you feel. You may feel a little afraid too. Maybe a little scared that the developers may mess it up at some point. It has happened before in other cases, so it can happen in this case too, right? But it never happens in Streets of Rage 4. After finishing the whole game in 2 to 3 hours, I was so happy with my experience that I immediately started the second run. Not only the game stays loyal to its roots, but also it does a great job to bring all those good memories from 26 years ago to this date. Streets of Rage 4 feels familiar yet fresh, old school yet modern and, simple yet kinda deep. In the past couple of years, we’ve seen a lot of great 2D games like Katana Zero and Valfaris. Games that proved 2D games are not only alive, but also full of surprises. Streets of Rage 4 is another game that walks down the same path. You may pick it up for the sake of nostalgia, but you will finish it because of its unquestionable quality. Putting our great memories with the first three games aside, it may be the best Streets of Rage game ever.
At the end of Street of Rage 3, our heroes defeated the infamous Mr X, the main antagonist of the game. It seemed that there won’t be a fourth game, because the game had the perfect end. Though it’s unlikely that anyone plays Streets of Rage for its story, but the developers needed a new reason to start making the fourth installment. In Streets of Rage 4, you will meet Y Twins, the children of Mr X. Once again and 10 years after their father, Y Twins has brought rage and disarray to the city. As you can guess, our heroes, Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding are back too, and this time around, they’re not alone. There are two new playable characters in Streets of Rage 4. One of them is Floyd Iraia, a big strong boy with iron hands, and the other one is Cherry Hunter, the daughter of Adam Hunter, a familiar name for the old fans. Adam himself will join them later in the game too. Not only each of these characters have their own abilities, but also they have different feel to them, which makes the fourth game a lot more diverse. On the other hand, the comic-style cut-scenes are really cool and breathe life into the game.
For example, Cherry is a petite girl whom has a really cool electric guitar and she’s so agile and fast. On the other hand, Floyd is big and slow, but when you play with him, a few punches are enough to knock the strongest enemies out of the screen. Axel, Blaze and Adam are kinda balanced, but they are not totally same either. My personal favorite in my first play-through was Adam, but as I said before, you have to wait a few missions for him to step in.
Streets of Rage 4, is a precious piece of art. The developers have obviously tried to keep the nostalgia alive, but this doesn’t mean that the game feels old and outdated. If you’re an old fan of the series, playing Streets of Rage 4 feels like meeting an old friend after many many years. If you’re a newcomer, you’ll probably enjoy it a lot too. When you play with Axel or Blaze, it’s like a trip down memory lane, but at the same time, everything feels modern. Although there was a lot more room for innovation and there are some wasted potentials, but the whole thing is awesome. It’s a mixture of modern and old school Beat’em Up games. Also, the art design is perfect. I think the developers did a very smart job to choose comic style art for this game and if there’s going to be a fifth game, I hope they make it look like this one.
Streets of Rage games follow a simple rule: Move from left to right and knock out the enemies. As simple and engaging as that. But the combination of characters and new mechanisms, give the combat some depth. For example, Cherry can slide on the flood with her electric guitar and stun enemies. She can also play a heavy power chord that damages them. Floyd can pick two enemies up and knock their heads, or use his cyber arm in a cool way. Each character has their own special ability that can be used with press of a button. Each time you use that, you’ll lose some of your health. To recover that, you have to hit enemies without taking damage. If you do take damage however, you will permanently lose that portion of health. Beside that, there’s a Star Move, which is kind of a special move that can deal a lot of damage to enemies around at once. You won’t lose any health using this move, but you need to find some stars, which are really rare. In later missions, there are always some cold weapons like knives and pipes that you can use to kill your enemies faster. You can also find some sort of food in the environment to recover your health. The cool thing is that you can change the sort of foods you can find in the main menu! I changed them to hamburger and pizza, because I’m a fast food fan, but you can go for healthier options like apples and chicken!
Enemies and bosses look really cool too. From karate boys of China town to emo boys and punks of down town, and even robots and chefs, you’ll see a variety of enemies that differ in looks and moves. Even on normal difficulty some of the bosses can be quite challenging, which is a good thing, because you want the boss fights to be hard, isn’t that so? Streets of Rage 4 can be really easy or really hard depending on what difficulty you’re playing on. At the start of each level, you have three lives and if you get killed three times, you’ll have to start the mission form the beginning. But unlike the old games, you can’t take your extra lives into the next level, because the game automatically resets your lives and stars at the start of each level. You can buy extra lives and stars before starting a mission, but that would cut off your points. So if you care about getting S rank on every level, you better not use this. Also, if you can get to a particular point on each level, the game will give you an extra life. Overall Streets of Rage 4 is quite balanced.
If you can’t get enough of this game on your own, you can always play it with your friends. Offline multiplayer supports up to 4 players, but the online multiplayer mode allows you to play with just one other guy, which is a bummer. Overall, the multiplayer mode always feels better. There’s a small problem though; while fighting in crowded scenes you can easily lose your hero. The colors used for enemies, environment and heroes are really similar and sometime this can confuse you. Other than that, everything is solid and great.
If you are a Streets of Rage fan, playing this game MUST be on your list! If you’re from a younger generation and don’t have a lot of memories with this game, just grab and play it, you won’t regret this!