I am a huge fan of the Streets of Rage series. In particular, Streets of Rage 2 is one of my favorite Genesis games, and might just be the greatest beat ’em up ever made. However, that statement is now in question because I have experienced a demo of developer Lizardcube’s Streets of Rage 4.
Streets of Rage 4 takes everything great about the beat ’em up genre and improves upon it
My time with Streets of Rage 4 consisted of two levels completed with a representative. I played as Adam Hunter for the first stage and newcomer Cherry Hunter for the second. You can have up to four players locally (a first for the series) or up to two online.
Right off the bat, the title’s fully hand-drawn graphics captivated me. The game is as gorgeous as Lizardcube’s other revival, Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap. Everything is crisp and wonderfully animated, without a stutter in sight.
Streets of Rage 4 plays great, too. Your characters can pummel baddies and do special attacks with certain button combinations. Also, you can start a combo with one person, launch them into the air, and have your teammate continue the attack. It’s a fantastic way to rack up massive damage and build a bond with your fellow humans.
Speaking of connections, you know what are some of my favorite new additions? You can turn the friendly fire off AND the button assigned to pick up food/weapons is not the same as the attack one. We didn’t have those features back in the Streets of Rage 2 days. Many friendships were broken due to their absence.
Unique abilities abound
Every character in Streets of Rage 4 is distinctive. For example, Adam can do short hops forward in lieu of walking. His sister, Cherry, can full-on sprint. I particularly liked playing as Cherry because I combined her speed with her basic attacks to lay into ruffians. And it’s just fun using a guitar as a weapon.
In addition, the heroes have their own combo ender (forward + forward + attack), as well as a special move that depletes their health but causes massive damage. You can also find stars that cause a screen-filling super move that obliterates adversaries. It’s SO satisfying to witness.
Having a Grand Upper of a good time
Above all, the little enhancements won my heart while playing Streets of Rage 4. The camaraderie between partners as you ping pong foes amidst your fists. The fact you can pick up a weapon, have it rebound after throwing it against a baddie or wall, and catch it on the way back. Doing a midair recovery after a goon knocks you back before you even touch the ground. Great game design, all around.
Gamers can expect Streets of Rage 4 to launch on Switch this spring, and you can follow the title here. While a sequel is way too early to discuss, the representative did mention the studio is interested in expanding the main game through DLC (extra combatants, levels, etc.). Hopefully, I’ll see some of you enthusiasts online, itching for a brawl!