We had been waiting for a proper sequel to Streets of Rage for, what, nearly three decades now? And last year, LizardCube and DotEmu finally gave us the good news we’ve been waiting for when they announced that Streets of Rage 4 is finally coming.
The announcement came out of nowhere, with the title embodying the classic gameplay style of the original games – but with some new tricks. Not only that, but it also had a new coat of polish on it, in DotEmu’s traditional remastering style. The end result is not only the best-looking Streets yet, but also possibly the best-playing as well. We recently had a chance to put this to the test during a stop at PAX East 2020.
The gang’s (almost) all here
So far, there are five characters featured within the game. Series favorites Axel and Blaze are back, along with the newcomer, Cherry, who’s Adam’s daughter. And for those who have been missing Adam since the original Streets of Rage days, he’s back and better than ever. Rounding out the cast is Floyd Iraia, a big dude that knows his way around a couple of cyborg arms. (No one call him Jax, tho.)
After choosing your character, you’ll hit these Streets, taking on any thugs that stand in your way. Though we’re still not sure who’s sending them after you just yet, it’s up to you to clean house with an arsenal of moves. You’ll need every trick in the book, especially as the screen loads up with these enemies.
Did someone say co-op?
In traditional fighting game fashion, Streets of Rage 4 features two-player online support, so you can team up with others. It’s a great day to bust some heads with someone that might not even be in the same living room.
But the real innovative feature here is one that’s sure to be embraced by couch potatoes everywhere. There is local co-op, but it supports up to four players. That’s right – for the first time in the history of the franchise, you can stand alongside three cohorts and really put on a clinic. What’s more, the game runs smoothly throughout, even with all the chaotic action unfolding on-screen.
These options make it great to bring a friend along for the ride. And if you’re down for a little rivalry, you can even turn off friendly hits and see who suplexes the most first. Granted, it’s probably better if you save that ruthless aggression for your opponents. But, hey, whatever floats your boat.
These fighters have the moves
One great thing about Streets of Rage 4 is how these characters have an incredible arsenal of moves. Each one has something that caters to their style. For instance, Adam truly delivers with a set of glowing kicks. Floyd, on the other hand, is more about supercharging his arms. Whether he’s grabbing an opponent and discharging them like a battery or unleashing an electrical shock bubble around his buddy, he’s quite effective.
What’s more, each character has a super move, which you can unleash once during their life. It practically clears most of the screen of enemies, just as the back-up team did in the original Streets of Rage. The difference here is how stylish each of the attacks is, and how good you look when you’re the last one standing in the middle of it.
One other great aspect of the gameplay that’s been tweaked is being able to deliver multiple hits on an enemy. With this, you can juggle them in the air a few more times and up your combo meter count. It actually grows in number as you continue hitting enemies. At one point, we even landed 246 hits on a row during the demo. Unprecedented!
Heal up and get back in the fight
There’s also another fun gameplay component to Streets of Rage 4 that’ll keep you going in the fight. It’s a little bar that builds up on the screen and provides a health burst when you need it the most. As you continue fighting these adversaries, it’ll continue to build up and eventually revert back to your health bar. If you get hit once, however, you end up losing it again. With reward comes risk, so you’ll need to prepare properly.
That health is quite useful, too. Over the course of the game, you’ll run into some particularly tough baddies that need to be dealt with. This includes bosses, like the ultra-powerful Shiva, who jumped in at the end of the demo. He’s able to deliver lightning-fast strikes that can take off a good chunk of your energy. Fortunately, you can counter him with one of your own attacks and keep pounding away – provided he doesn’t land a lucky shot on you first.
The nostalgia’s all here
As Streets of Rage 4 boasts an excellent visual style, we were impressed by how much it caters to the old-school crowd. True, the animation is very good, and the style works for this game very well. However, it also mimics a lot of components from the original Streets. These include the lovely backdrops, the ability to break open drums and other containers for extra goods, and so much more. It just looks nostalgic while still being new. Can old and fresh be a thing?
What’s more, the all-star soundtrack is superb thus far. Yuzo Koshiro, the original composer for Streets, is back in action, alongside several other musicians that match his type of sound. Based on what we’ve heard so far, Streets of Rage 4 has an outstanding all-star soundtrack. We can’t wait to groove more to it.
Get into the fight
We know a lot of great game revivals are coming your way shortly, including Doom Eternal and Trials of Mana among them. But you must save some room for Streets of Rage 4. What DotEmu is doing with Sega’s series is something special, whether you’re into the visuals, the sound, or the gameplay. And the four-player co-op really takes it a long way.
Check out the latest trailer below, then wishlist the game and get ready to walk these streets. Particularly with friends.