Streets of Rage 4 is Short Sweet and Wrapped in Nostalgia

Unlike the grand Final Fantasy XII Remake, Streets of Rage 4 is a nostalgia play that doesn’t try to reinvent the genre.

Game Pass UltimateStreets of Rage 4 is the latest in a wave of classic video game remakes that includes Resident Evil 3, Trials of Mana and Final Fantasy VII Remake. It’s part of a bigger push to tap into the warm and fuzzies from our childhood, often in a new, slick package — from gadgets like the cute NES Classic mini console to flicks like the live-action versions of Disney classics such as The Lion King and Aladdin.

The beat ’em up genre, which looks downright primitive next to modern 3D games, has largely faded away. Maybe those fond memories of clearing wave after wave of 16-bit character sprites with my younger brother had grown rose-tinted over time.

Streets of Rage 4 is similar in scope to its predecessors. It’s short, punchy and never outstays its welcome. Brought to you by independent publisher Dotemu and developer Lizardcube, it sticks to a tried-and-true format. I was able to clear through the game’s dozen levels.

You start out with the option of four players. The first two, Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding, are mainstays from the previous three titles, and are the familiar, well-rounded options.

Two new characters, Cherry Hunter and Floyd Iraia, offer something different. The smaller Cherry, with a guitar strapped to her bag, zips and hops around the screen and offers a number of aerial attacks. The slower Floyd lumbers around and is essentially a tank who can barrel his way through enemies or toss them around like rag dolls. Their varied play style helped break up the repetition.

Each character gets a set of standard melee and aerial attacks, as well as a strong attack. There’s also a special attack that takes away a bit of your health — a mainstay of older brawlers — but Lizardcube added a new wrinkle that lets you string together a combination of hits immediately after to recoup your life.

Lastly, you’re given a more powerful, ultimate attack that costs a star icon — you typically start with two but pick up a few more throughout the levels. These attacks, which include a nice visual flourish, are best saved for the bosses.

 

Reviewer overview

Unlike the grand Final Fantasy XII Remake, Streets of Rage 4 is a nostalgia play that doesn't try to reinvent the genre. - /10

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