Streets of Rage 4 is poised to deliver a Grand Upper to our nostalgia this Spring, and we can’t wait.
Without a doubt, it’s an exciting time to be a Streets of Rage fan. With today’s announcement of Streets of Rage 4’s fifth and final playable character, Floyd, and the revelation that its release is just around the corner, there aren’t many questions that have been left unanswered about this long-awaited brawler. Now, all that’s left is to count the weeks until the first new entry in the series in over 25 years makes its debut on the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Switch, and PCs.
That said, our anticipation is through the roof. Here are some of the reasons why we can’t wait to return to the city and crack some Syndicate skulls in Streets of Rage 4.
The More The Merrier.
It’s no secret that beat-’em-ups are always better with a group of like-minded pugilists. Ask anyone what their favorite arcade slugfests were, and chances are you’ll hear plenty of people proclaim their love for classics like Konami’s gargantuan six-player X-Men cabinet and The Simpsons, which allowed players to control Bart, Lisa, Homer, and Marge simultaneously to spread multiplayer mayhem across a pixelated Springfield. That’s not to say these are the best example, mind you, but no doubt, adding a few more bodies into the mix is never a bad idea. For a more recent example, give SebaGamesDev and Blitworks phenomenal Fight’N Rage a go with a couple of friends, and I promise you’ll be a believer.
As you’d expect, Streets of Rage 4 supports both online and couch cooperative play. However, the local co-op mode will allow up to four players to dive into the action. If you’ve ever wanted to see the trio of ex-cops Axel Stone, Blaze Fielding, and Adam Hunter clean up the streets with extreme prejudice in unison, now’s your chance!
Here Come The New Challengers.
In addition to series staples Adam, Blaze, and Axel, Streets of Rage 4 also introduces two all-new crime-fighting characters to control.
Cherry Hunter is Adam’s daughter. Sporting a head full of fiery red dreadlocks and her trusty six-string, Cherry is just as comfortable shredding the city’s criminal element as she riffs on her ax. And when she’s not using her electric guitar to dial up the pain to 11, this nimble scrapper can even bounce from one enemy noggin to another with her boots like the lovechild of Lenny Kravitz and M. Bison.
As fierce as Cherry sounds, Floyd’s no slouch either. This beefy addition to the SoR roster sports cybernetic arms designed by none other than SoR 3’s Dr. Gilbert Zan. His fighting style seems to be a bit of a mix of Zan’s and SoR 2’s Max Thunder as he delivers a satisfying blend of devastating grapples and electrified attacks thanks to his combination of bionics and brawn. As if that isn’t enough, he can also unleash a massive laser from his fists to toast the opposition. Mr. X’s minions better stock up on SPF 1,000,000 if they know what’s good for them.
Simply put, we can’t wait to try these two new additions to the team out when Streets of Rage 4 releases later this Spring.
Give Us Those Beats of Rage.
Publisher Dotemu is pulling out all the stops when it comes to Streets of Rage 4’s soundtrack.
Not only has veteran SoR composer Yuzo Koshiro returned to compose the game’s soundtrack, but some veritable legends will be joining him to crank out the game’s tunes. For starters, series co-composer Motohiro Kawashima will also be reprising his role. Kawashima worked alongside Koshiro to produce the compositions for the Game Gear exclusive Shinobi II: The Silent Fury and Batman Returns on the Game Gear and Master System, among numerous other titles, and the pair have consistently delivered some of the most memorable tunes in gaming.
Of course, having these two series veterans return would have been enough for die-hard fans of the series. After all, the melodies they created for the original Genesis trilogy are timeless. However, when you’ve been waiting over a quarter-century for a sequel it’s a bit of a special occasion; a fact reflected by the addition of such VGM heavyweights Yoko Shimomura, who created the music for Street Fighter II and Super Mario RPG, Jet Set Radio composer Hideki Naganuma, and Ninja Gaiden composer Keiji Yamagishi, who will also be lending their talents to the project – talk about a dream team!
While the game isn’t even out yet, it’s hard to imagine the soundtrack for Streets of Rage 4 not being one of the best of 2020. One thing’s for sure: we can’t wait to find out for ourselves.
Taking In The Street Art.
Streets of Rage 4’s visual direction has caused quite a bit of controversy since the game was first announced. While many seem to feel the game’s detailed, hand-drawn visuals add some fresh personality to the game’s presentation, others have derided the style and consider it to look too much like a game developed in Flash. As for me, I happen to fall into the former camp. As a big fan of Lizardcube’s lush 2D artwork for 2017’s Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap (read our review here), I honestly couldn’t be happier with what’s been showcased so far. Just look at the detail in the screen above with all of the intricate objects littering the office and subtle lighting effects. It really is kind of breathtaking, at least in this author’s opinion.
So far, we’ve seen more than a few familiar foes rendered in this new art style, including Syndicate staples like Galsia, Nora, Signal, Big Ben, Donovan, Raven, and even Mr. X’s right-hand man, Shiva, and they all look great. I myself can’t wait to see the makeover other returning characters have received for Streets of Rage 4.
If you’re still not entirely sold on the game’s divisive art style, that’s fine. I won’t hold it against you. In fact, you can tell me just how wrong I am in the comments below!
Bring On The Retro Revivals!
Streets of Rage 4 truly looks to be a celebration of a bygone era when Sega and Nintendo dominated the games industry. And honestly, it’s a game I never thought we’d actually see following the untimely demise of the Sega Dreamcast. Now that Dotemu has done the unthinkable and secured the rights to resurrect this long lost franchise, we can only hope that Sega works with other developers to license some of their dormant IP for the next generation of consoles.
After all, there are countless Sega fans clamoring for Shining Force to see a return to its grid-based roots or a Phantasy Star game that offers a return to the grand storytelling the series was known for during the Genesis’ life cycle. Only time will tell, but I can’t wait to see what the future holds, and Streets of Rage 4 looks to be a spectacular return to form for one of the most fondly remembered franchises of the 16-bit era.
So, are you looking forward to getting your hands on Streets of Rage 4 this Spring? If so, what’s got you most excited about seeing this fan-favorite franchise resurrected for the modern era? We love to hear what you think, so let us know in the comments below.