I have returned to the streets of Wood Oak City leaving behind a trail of destruction and the mark of my knuckles generously stamped on the anatomy of hundreds of punks. The ones in denim jackets, the badass with a baggy garish yellow raincoat and those damned chubby men with a cap that costs so much to knock down. This is the fauna that inhabits Streets of Rage 4.
I've eaten chickens and apples lying on the street. I have destroyed urban furniture, amusement machines and all kinds of private property taking cover in the street justice. Even when it wasn't necessary. And despite the fact that it is a sequel, I was delighted to return to the streets of Streets of Rage I was fascinated by Mega Drive and see how good they look in 2020.
The main thing: Streets of Rage 4 is a game designed by and, above all, for fans of the trilogy of beat’em ups from SEGA. And not only that, it even dares to give direct continuity to a saga especially loved by those of us who had the 16-bit black beast. Three titles that, logically, are a product of his time and whose frequent relaunches go more targeted at veterans than new players. DotEmu is fully aware of this.
Therefore, the return of Axel, Blaze and Adam it starts with the not so simple objective of honoring SEGA's legacy. But also the responsibility to give it direct continuity after a span of no less than 26 years since the release of the last installment.
And, without neglecting all of the above, risk finding a new visual identity and own game sensations that they do not leave the whole solely anchored to nostalgia or make the mistake of making it seem generic. Luckily for everyone, Streets of Rage 4 has been put in good hands.
As a result, Streets of Rage 4 will delight nostalgics and those who continue to deliver street punches on mobile, PCs or one of many compilations. But it is also a all artistic display with a palpably handcrafted visual section and a sublime soundtrack, able to energetically move into the 16-bit era.
A joint experience that, unsurprisingly, is best enjoyed in company. Above all, because for the first time you can share the game with three other players and you will not need extra controls: Streets of Rage 4 It gives you all the facilities to play in multiplayer, so that without dispensing with the ritual of sharing a sofa, your online player search process is thankfully simple.
Thus, and in collaboration with SEGA, DotEmu aligns all the necessary ingredients to offer the best delivery of the saga. With one foot in the legacy and the other position in what is expected of a beat'em up current. With everything, Streets of Rage 4 it lacks the weight and sonorous ambition with which the original trilogy landed on Mega Drive. At least, when it comes to the general public.
An exquisite presentation for a classic experience
It is inevitable that we have ties to Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap, the previous joint work of LizardCube and DotEmu. Both games breathe new life and glory through animations and craft scenes to SEGA classics. And it is undeniable that the artistic style of both is in tune. However, there is a huge difference: Streets of Rage 4 It is not a remake: it is a sequel in each and every one of its nuances. A great sequel, actually.
Ten years have passed since the Union X was disjointed by Axel stone and Blaze Fielding based on brute force. However, a threat emerges from the Wood Oak City skyscrapers and is slowly taking over its streets: a new crime empire has been forged by the heirs of the infamous Mr. X.
The good? The process for restoring peace is basically the same as in previous installments of Streets of Rage: Beat up the leaders of this new Union by pulling out the teeth of everyone who gets in our way. A mission that brings veteran and visibly hardened Axel and the ever-lethal Blaze back into action and associates them with a new generation of caste vigilantes: the daughter of Adam Hunter and Dr. Zan's disciple no less.
- Axel is still off-road: He has great strength and, despite not excelling in speed, his special hits have enormous potential to attack multiple enemies at once and chain ground combos or flamboyant aerial shots.
- Blaze is pure agility: Although he does not have the ability to run, his aerial play, the range of his punches and his mobility are sensational.
- Cherry is synonymous with speed: its special attacks, even jumping, are perfect for moving around and it can cross the screen in no time. In addition, with some skill you can make chains of aerial blows without the need to touch land.
- Floyd is pure muscle: Very strong blows, lethal grips (even at a distance) and it is even capable of holding multiple enemies at once while walking and stamping them against each other. Of course, it jumps just right and moves at its own pace.
Logically, the first thing that enters through the eyes is the updated and renewed visual appearance of the characters and, by extension, of the game. And it is a delight. The heroes, villains and scenarios have been drawn by hand and animated by the LizardCube studio, halfway between the cartoon style and the Western comic style. And while it is logical that the level of detail is much higher in the protagonists and bosses, the result as a whole is great.
LizardCube has dodged the bullet that failed to fit titles like Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remixbringing iconic sprites and stages to your terrain but being reverential with previous work. Retaining the classic gameplay and the design and layout of scenarios that fans of Streets of Rage They want to find and, at the same time, adding the news of a new numbered installment.
That's where the third key element of this equation comes in. While the artistic style and fluidity of the LizardCube set the tone for the game, Guard Crush Games (creators of Streets of Fury) give it its new playable identity by introducing new features like a redesigned gameplay system that powers and encourages us to make combos instead of happily unleashing punches and kicks in the wind.
And with a little skill and enough enemies on the screen it is possible to do real tricks.
The key? Integrating a new layer of variety between characters compared to the one we saw in Streets of Rage 3, so that there is a contrast when executing attacks, jumps, juggling, assaults, grabs, jump combat and, in essence, that we really care who we are going to fight with and what role we will have in cooperative play. Seeking in the same movement to completely distance themselves from the generic concept of me against the neighborhood. And he does it very well.
Streets of Rage 4 is not a remake: it is a sequel in each and every one of its nuances. A great sequel, actually
Of course, this is a sequel not only affects the appearance or the game mechanics: we will also see new minions and bosses created for the occasion, recruited expressly by the new pair of antagonists. Reflecting the achievement by creating and integrating them into the saga by marrying so well with the hand-drawn versions of the enemies from the classic installments.
With everything, Streets of Rage 4 It is the right one and gives everyone the pleasure of integrating a retro (post-processed) filter among the multiple visual adjustments that is a surprise, affecting both the characters and the settings and that manages to align the aspect of the game with the classic installments without reducing the flow of the animations or the sensation of the game one iota.
And put to tinker in the game options, which we can access simply by pressing the pause, we can find very curious aspects such as alternating the type of food with which we recharge our health with various options, so that if we prefer pizza or salad to the classic chickens or apples that will appear on the ground, Streets of Rage 4
However, we find the star option from the sound section, where we can activate the retro soundtrack of the first two installments. Something more than a detail is a gift and yet it does not overshadow the last of the great achievements of this new entry in the legacy of the saga: the original soundtrack of Streets of Rage 4 It is a true marvel of electronic dance.
DotEmu recovers the inexhaustible talent seguero of Yuzo Koshiro (the series itself Streets of Rage, The Revenge of Shinobi, Story of Thor…) and, incidentally, opens the door to Japanese and Western artists who support and give new nuances to the superb theme nineties.
Great ingredients to forge a new entry for Streets of Rage and extend his legacy, but enough to match the stale the classics had on Mega Drive?
Streets of Rage 4 lasts as long as you want, but the phases are 12
If you want to get the credits of Streets of Rage 4, that is, what it is to start from the first phase and, from there, go through the dozen levels and hordes of enemies that DotEmu and Lizardcube put before us, possibly you will not need more than an afternoon or two on normal difficulty and two players. It all depends on how long it takes you to understand what enemies and ultimate bosses do and your ability to hit without receiving in return. Another very different thing is to complete the game.
In Streets of Rage 4 You will be given all possible facilities to overcome the story mode. Not only through a difficulty adjustment, but also giving you the possibility to return to the game in case of being eliminated with advantages that remind us of SNK fighting arcades: do you want to return with more lives and more star moves? Just ask for it!
Now, if you abuse the help, it will take you a little longer to unlock the extra characters, and these give a color point to the set.
There is a shared progression level in Story and Arcade modes in which our way to complete each level is scored and rated. The higher the score, the closer we will be to the next unlockable, although some characters like Adam Hunter (which returns from the first Streets of Rage) will join our cause on the go and from there we can use them in any other game mode.
Each level of difficulty (five in total, with three levels above normal) has its own progression and rating. If we use help, and depending on what we choose, we will see how the point count is reduced by half and even reduced to a tenth. Of course, this system will ensure us reach the final fight and, quite possibly, emerge victorious.
On the other hand, once you complete the story mode you will have new modes available, although not exactly a greater variety of experiences: together with the level selector we will have the classic versus mode (combat) where we can measure ourselves with other characters, a kind of Boss Rush (boss fight) in which we will go directly to the nougat of the experience and, above the rest, an arcade mode that conveys the same sensations as Mega Drive games.
It is the Arcade mode of Streets of Rage 4 -which, as we mentioned, has to be unlocked- that which will have us returning to the game again and again. And his proposal could not be simpler: play a game from the beginning and without continuations on the difficulty you want.
Alone, with the help of a second command or sharing an online game. In any case, the Streets of Rage experience in its purest form. That one in which we taste each chicken on the ground in a special way, we will celebrate the fall of each boss for the umpteenth time and we will even be more aware, if possible, of the stage traps.
Arcade mode is the Streets of Rage experience in its purest form
The Arcade is, along with the level selector to find the perfect score, the place where it rests the huge replayability of Streets of rage 4. And yes, our advances also add to the progress system since with them we unlock new characters that we want to test in the 12 main phases and minor modes.
Because although, as we already mentioned, there is a sharp contrast between the characters, with unique abilities and attacks that accentuate their own style of play, the mere fact of Playing with the original Streets of Rage Axel gives a whole new twist: Combo mechanics are classic and if you perform a Blitz attack, you do not recover green health.
You can even summon fire from a distance to clear your screen if you have stars on hand!
Streets of Rage 4 He is of little variety in terms of game modes and has chosen to offer a level-up system that makes us constantly repeat phases like other more current beat'em up, but he is perfectly aware of the type of audience he is going to directed and not only offers them a successful continuation of the classic trilogy, but also knows how to extend its legacy and original sensations. A milestone that has its own merit.
Streets of Rage 4 is so much a tribute to the golden age of beat’em ups as a new entry in its own right in the SEGA saga. That was the plan from the beginning and it fulfills both purposes wonderfully, watering classic sensations an artistic update that, despite leaving the door open wide in retro style, looks scandalous, it is heard that it is pleasant and, on the whole, it moves even better.
Once again, DotEmu and Luzardcube retain everything the fan seeks to find in well-known acronyms and very grounded game sensations. And, with a palpable affection, they give him successful brush strokes of the house until they feel comfortable and confident with what they have in their hands.
While multiplayer is optional, Streets of Rage 4 is a game that asks you, even from the character selection menus, to be played cooperatively. And not only that: it invites you to try out how it is to walk the streets of Wood Oak City in a gang, knowing that if you have the friendly damage option activated you can increase the volume of chaos and pain on the screen. And of laughter, pique and revenge outside it.
And yet, Streets of Rage 4 It was not just a game capable of penetrating equally well between all the player profiles.
Not that it's a niche work, far from it: his game proposal is universal and timeless. It is rather than their 12 levels, the duration of which is in line with those of previous installments, make the replayability of the set appreciated by those who spent whole afternoons and nights pounding on the three-button remote on the Mega Drive or raised between arcades. Result, on the contrary, too fair in duration for all others.
All in all, the sensations it conveys Streets of Rage 4 They are enormously positive, and although I am aware of, except for the Arcade mode, the extra modes lack variety, I am very clear that my work as instant justice delivery man by Wood Oak City has only just begun. Generous doses of free street justice. Side by side with my brother, like almost 30 years ago, and with anyone who wants to join the online cause.
Streets of Rage 4
|Platforms||PS4, Xbox One, Switch and PC|
|Developer||Lizardcube / Guard Crush Games / Dotemu|
|Company||Dotemu and SEGA|
|Launching||April 30, 2020|
- The essence of the classics remains intact
- Its artistic section is a delight
- The new combos mechanics and the alternative of the classic characters
- Its 12 phases leave you wanting more
- Greater variety in game modes is missing