From publisher Dotemu (Wonder Boy, Windjammers 1 and 2) and developers Lizardcube (Wonder Boy) and Guard Crush Games (Streets of Fury EX), the continuation of Sega classic beat-em up series, Streets of Rage is in deep development with the fourth installment.
The early 90s are in full swing regarding the visuals and soundtrack. Beautiful hand drawn characters and deep dance and house music complement the head smashing, gut punching action. Numerous nods to the original can also be seen from the storefront signage to level locations to the street thugs the game throws at you.
The Playable character count has been upped to five with three new combatants joining veterans Axel and Blaze. Cherry Hunter is a guitar wielding battler, who can dash about the stage with speed and use her quickness to her advantage. Floyd Iraia, who is half cyborg with his metallic arms (think Jax from Mortal Kombat), can grab people from a distance extending his arms and bringing foes closer and deal massive damage and perform ground shaking throws and slams. And rounding out the new cast is Adam Hunter. Adam can do flashy tastumakis and jumping ground punches. He felt a bit like a slicker Ryu from Street Fighter in style and moveset.
Each character felt distinct in their look and moveset. Lighter folks can perform a dash maneuver to close the distance where heavier characters can execute more grabs and deal more damage per hit. Floyd has his distance grab unique to him. All characters have special moves that fit their persona in theme and deal massive damage across the battlefield. Something new is that weapons can be held while grabbing enemies, a nice quality of life feature and battle mechanic that fits the action well. When asked about if team up attacks would be returning from the original, sadly that was something that was left on the cutting room floor.
Four player local co-op and two player online play will be available which is a welcome addition to the beat-em up series. Refreshing to see the couch co-op experience alive and well in this current generation of online heavy games. As for additional modes of play, we are not aware of any outside of the core story game though the game will offer multiple difficulty modes and has the aforementioned five unique combatants.
While overall the game felt very polished and fun to play, if there were any criticisms to give, some of the character animations could use a little bit of work. With the addition of some extra frames of animation and some slight tweaks to the combo chains, it would improve the overall feel of the game. We expect some minor tweaks to the overall presentation to come before the final launch though.
Physical editions are something here at Rated G that we just simply adore. Earlier this year it was reported that Limited Run Games will be doing a physical release for this game which feels very fitting and we suspect will come with a pretty slick special edition with some cool extras.
So for fans of the original and new players who want a fun fast paced street brawler, look for Streets of Rage 4 out this Spring 2020 on PC, Xbox One, PS4 and Switch.