Streets of Rage 4 is an arcade-style beat’em up in which we move around the stages to kill all the enemies that come our way as we move through the different screens. It is a game that is conservative in many aspects, but updates others to adapt to the times, with some extras that will delight fans of the franchise. Additionally, it has been developed by Lizardcube and Dotemu, known for their great work with Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap of 2017, as well as by Guard Crush Games.
Its history places us ten years after the fall of Mr. X and his union, where peace had reigned in the city ... until now. A new crime empire has emerged and is corrupting all of the city's law enforcement. He is rumored to be under the very command of Mr. X's brood: the Y twins. Ex-agents Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding join forces with Cherry Hunter, daughter of his old friend, and with Floyd Iraia, an apprentice to the brilliant Dr. Zan. Together these four justices will face Union Y.
Do not expect anything overworked in this regard, since it is a simple excuse to travel around your world destroying all kinds of enemies.
As soon as you start you will see that there are five levels of difficulty to choose from: easy, normal, difficult, extremely difficult and mania. All are very well balanced and offer a challenge to match, unlocking mania by completing the story. Then you will go on to select one of the characters, finding at first four available: Axel, Blaze, Cherry and Floyd, with the possibility of getting another one when advancing. They are not the only ones that you can select, although we will talk about this later.
Its controls are very similar to those seen in classic games, being able to move laterally and through different depths of the stage, jump, attack, perform special movements at the expense of health or collect and launch objects from the stages, this time with a button exclusively for this action that avoids other problems. We can also perform the star movement of each character in exchange for stars that we get on the stages. Then there are other advanced techniques, such as blitz attacks in running, jumping or grabbing, as well as reloading an attack to enhance it and avoid falls to counterattack.
As always, we have a limited number of lives and a vitality bar that is depleted with each blow we receive, which can be recovered by collecting small or large food. We really liked how well the special movements of each character are implemented, since, although they consume part of this vitality, they can recover if we hit enemies and receive no damage, which forces us to use them with our heads, especially when we we find before large groups. In addition, by achieving a certain score we can obtain extra lives, which are essential in some sections of the adventure.
The enemies are quite varied and each one of you has its weak points to exploit, presenting a few new ones in each level. They can even carry weapons and objects that we can use when they drop them. As it could not be less, powerful bosses await us at the end of each phase, being much more challenging and with movement patterns that evolve throughout the combat. An interesting detail is that they do not go beyond the limits of the screen, so we can continue hitting them without fear of losing sight of them.
On the other hand, we have tremendously varied scenarios, loaded with details in every corner and with many interactive elements. There are objects to destroy to get money, weapons or food, traps that can damage us and even holes through which to launch rivals to kill them instantly. It is an aspect that we have loved, also hiding the odd secret.
As you will see, it is a continuous tribute to the franchise with characters, enemies, weapons and food, among other elements, that will easily be recognized by fans, but adding new features to make it feel like the continuation that it is. If you lose all lives, for example, you can start from the level you are on. You can simply be resurrected or use life and star aids in exchange for a percentage of your score, thus rewarding those who take a higher risk.
What I think of the game after playing
In conclusion, Streets of Rage 4 has achieved a continuation at the height of the originals, somewhat difficult considering what games have changed today. The controls are very intuitive and feel like you'll be trying the first game in the series again, but with tweaks that make it that much more satisfying. The audiovisual section is very good and there are tons of characters to choose from, each with their own combat style. As paste we will say that it has an upgradeable online and that the campaign is somewhat short, but it makes up for it with its replayability and the number of extras available.
An essential title if you are fond of arcade-style beat’em up or franchise, being a real pleasure to see Axel and Blaze in action again with such a careful game and lots of references to the rest of the saga.