Streets of Rage 4 is the next part in the legendary beat em up series that a lot of 16-bit fans were looking forward to. DotEmu has provided us with a review code, so you can read below our First Impressions of it. You can also find below a video, showing 9 minutes of PC gameplay footage.
Streets of Rage 4 is a side-scrolling beat em up that retains everything from its 16-bit predecessors. The gameplay is identical, so get ready for some old-school battles.
Players can attack their enemies with regular fists/kicks. There is also a jump button via which you can… wait for it… jump. The developers have also added a special attack button that consumes some of your energy. However, you can recover this health by landing some punches on your enemies. There is also a Super attack. This attack consumes stars which you can find through out the levels.
Basically, if you’ve played any side-scrolling beat em up, you’ll feel right at home.
Furthermore, the game looks absolutely stunning. The new art style is glorious, and the for the most part the hit detection is great. The music is also amazing, and the controls are excellent. In the following video, I was playing with the keyboard and as you can see, I had no trouble at all controlling Axel (and executing combos).
Unfortunately, though, Streets of Rage 4 is so faithful to the original games that does not bring any major innovations. While Streets of Rage was great for 16-bit console standards, it was nowhere close to the accessibility and gameplay of the arcade side-scrolling brawlers. For instance, Cadillacs vs Dinosaurs, Aliens vs Predator, Final Fight (and even The Punisher) play better than Streets of Rage. At least in my opinion. The characters in all these games also move faster, something that really bothered me in Streets of Rage 4.
Both Axel and Blaze, are walking at a really low speed. I’m certain that this was done in order to differentiate the available characters, however, the game can feel really, really slow. Not only that, but there is no Dash or Run ability. Seriously, this is something that could significantly benefit the game. Ironically, Streets of Rage 3 had a Dash. By double-tapping the forward button, you could Dash. Then, you could execute a more powerful attack by hitting the attack button. In Streets of Rage 4, you can only execute a more powerful attack (by double-tapping forward and pressing the attack button). However, you cannot Dash or Run. I seriously don’t know why DotEmu removed this feature.
I also experienced a number of bugs (that DotEmu will hopefully fix). For instance, the Supper attack button was not working and I experienced some frustrating crashes.
All in all, Streets of Rage 4 is a tribute to the classic SOR games. If you preferred other arcade side-scrolling beat em ups over it, you won’t find it special. However, if you are a die-hard SOR fan, you will love Streets of Rage 4.