When it was announced that the Streets of Rage franchise was finally getting a fourth installment, the fan-base could exhale and go “finally!” Fast-forward to Pax East 2020 and Streets of Rage 4 might be seen as one of the games of the show in many convention goers’ eyes.
Streets of Rage 4 takes place 10 years after the third game and that’s really all we know about the story. Axel and Blaze are back and look better than ever as their designs show that some time has passed between games. Joining them are Floyd Iraia, who gives off Jax from Mortal Kombat vibes, alongside Adam and Cherry Hunter. Each character has their own fighting style that feels unique to them and the look of the game makes you think the fighters are in 3D as they jump off the screen.
It plays like your typical beat-em-up where you’ll find the classic tropes from the genre. You’ll find food in trashcans and boxes, be able to attack gas cans and they’ll explode as well as using weapons you find on the street. There’s such a fulfilling feeling when you smash someone with a baseball bat or throw a knife into an opponent from halfway across the screen. Also in typical beat-em-up fashion, you’ll be able to keep enemies in the corner and attack them until they’re dead, “cheesing it” if you will, but it wouldn’t be an old school beat-em-up without stuff like that.
Fighters have their own attacks as well as special attacks that will help you out when you get in a pinch during the later levels, since these attacks can hurt large groups of enemies. Some of your attacks can be considered mid-level special attacks and use some of your health. A good comparison for this is in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Turtles in Time where you had an attack that used HP, except in Streets of Rage 4 you don’t use a lot of HP for the attack and you have the ability to regenerate it right after using the attack. If you get attacked during that time, you will lose the health; a green meter on your health gage represents it.
Boss fights are pretty tough in Streets of Rage 4 and they’re pretty innovative for a beat-em-up. During one battle, we had to avoid a girl using electrical attacks, and in another battle we had to avoid a samurai fighting with duplicates. You’ll have to think and coordinate with your teammates (if you’re playing multiplayer) to achieve victory.
Streets of Rage 4 has been highhly anticipated for quite some time and if what Dotemu showed in demo presentations is any indication then this could be the best Streets of Rage game yet.