Initial release date: April 30, 2020
Platforms: PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, Microsoft Windows
"Streets of Rage has returned to its glory after the mishap that was Streets of Rage 3 into this love letter to franchise fans such as myself and is a great entry point for modern gamers to fall in love with the franchise."
5 difficulty levels ("easy to pick up, hard to master").
Story Mode has 12 stages.
Also: Arcade Mode, Boss Rush, Battle Mode, Extra.
Playing solo is really great fun as well as multi-player modes! (1/x)
As an 80s Kid growing up in the 90s one of the most favorite of my past times was hitting the arcades to drop quarters into the newest and most hype games that came out and back then we had so many to choose from with the Double Dragon series which kicked off the beat em up genre to Final Fight which perfected the formula to the still spectacular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time and X-Men The Arcade Game and more yet we never experienced that level of greatness at home on consoles until 1991’s Streets of Rage. For those who do not know; Streets of Rage was inspired by both Final Fight and the movie Streets of Fire and was made by Sega due to Nintendo having their exclusivity deals with Capcom and since the Sega Genesis (or Mega Drive elsewhere in the world) didn’t have that killer beat em up, Sega decided to step up to the plate and make their own.
While It may have kicked off as an inspired clone initially to Final Fight and Double Dragon, eventually with the following 2 sequels Streets of Rage turned into a franchise all of its own that had Capcom hustling to compete with it especially after the magnum opus that is Streets of Rage 2 which continues to be considered the greatest brawler/beat em up of all time. It’s been 26 years since the critically panned Streets of Rage 3 came out on the Sega Genesis and after near 3 decades of waiting we finally have Streets of Rage 4 on all platforms with the question many are wondering of if it lives up to the legacy of the franchise and exceed it or does it fail as many franchise returns do such as Double Dragon 4. We can only find this answer on the STREETS OF RAGE!!!
The story of Streets of Rage 4 takes place 10 years after 3 and the fall of Mr. X and the Syndicate with the streets being safe and the corruption being done (SOR4 follows the continuity of Bare Knuckle 3 and not Streets of Rage 3 which had an altered non canonical plot). In that 10 year gap: main characters Axel, Adam, Blaze, Skate, Max, and Dr. Zan have all moved on with their lives to some extent or another. Axel left the force and moved away from the city to seek true strength and become a better warrior (echoing Ryu of Street Fighter’s pursuit). Blaze also leaving the force and refusing to take anger management classes after attacking the police commissioner; went on to become a dance instructor while who still gets into street fights. Adam went on to continue his decorated career as an officer and joined a special forces outfit with his younger brother Skate going on to become a college student and his daughter Cherry growing up to become a high school student who is in a metal band. Dr. Zan is now helping individuals such as new main character Floyd with cybernetic arms to replace his lost ones from a construction accident.
In the wake of the fall of the Syndicate and Mr. X’s demise has arisen a new criminal syndicate composed of the remnants of the previous group and are lead by Twin crime bosses known as Mr. Y and Ms. Y who are the children of the previous villain. They have near complete control of the city from the police force to the everyday thugs, food and music industry, and more! They have developed a technology to brainwash and control anyone that they wish and are the greatest threat that Wood Oak City (yes the city is named in this entry finally) has ever faced. With this new threat looming; our heroes must once again answer the call to justice and take the fight back to the streets to save the city once again.
If you are a series veteran who played the previous 3 entries, Final Fight series, or any beat em up in general then you will feel at home here as this game plays and feels SUPERB! If you want to compare how this compares to the previous 3 entries then this is basically a supped up Streets of Rage 2 as it plays speed wise the closets to it along with having its gameplay system reverting back to not being able to run or dodge roll up and down like you could in 3 and weapons do a nice amount of damage to you and to the enemies with a large variety to choose from.
You have you buttons for attack, jump, grab item, special attack, back attack, and combination inputs for a new screen nuke like attack being special attack + grab item which is an area radius attack with Axel gaining Cody Traver’s Criminal Upper/Punisher, Blaze gaining a chi based levitation attack similar to Rose’s Super from Street Fighter Alpha and 4, Adam gaining Terry Bogard’s Power Geyser, Cherry getting a rolling thunder style move into a guitar slam, and Floyd getting a Iron Man inspired Proton Canon beam wave.
These techniques utilize one star each and act similar to the first game’s screen nukes which in the would summon a police car (more on that later) that would show up and clear the screen and would need you to pick up a police car item to replenish or die and respawn to use again. In 4 you can find stars hidden throughout levels and be able to pick up to replenish this ability and you can stack them as they don’t cost your life bars the way that the special attacks do.
Special attacks operate the same way they did in 2 and 3 with one difference being the ability to utilize them in midair. Axel will do a rolling flame attack into a flaming straight punch while Blaze will pull off a blue flying jump kick and Adam performs an aerial Tatsumaki or tornado kick.
While Streets of Rage 2 and 3 had a combo system in them, Streets of Rage 4 took that to a new level and added in not only a free flowing combo system but also the ability to juggle enemies from throws to wall bounces and more and the only limits you have are your own as you can combo and juggle into anything and especially if you play Co-Op and work together with or without friendly fire being on. Your combos are counted similar to how they are in games like Fight N Rage and honestly the closet comparison I have to Streets of Rage 4 IS Fight N Rage which was heavily an inspiration for this new entry.