Booth Location: Washington State Convention Center – Booth 6802 on the 6th floor
We’re no strangers to the OG side-scrolling beat-em-ups of yester-year. Double Dragon, River City Ransom, Guardian Heroes and many others took up a large chunk of my console-play childhood. All three parts of the Streets of Rage (aka Bare Knuckle) trilogy took its fair share of my time as well, as I would reply each part over again, solo and with friends, to experience each of the series’ characters. Luckily, if you’re as big a fan of the series as I am, you have more Streets of Rage to look forward to past the re-ported bundles they put out on the Xbox Marketplace or the Playstation Store.
Here comes Streets of Rage 4, a completely new addition to the franchise that continues the story from the original Streets of Rage trilogy. This new title will be available for Xbox One, PS4, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
Similar to what we saw in Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, King of Fighters XII and King of Fighters XIII, Streets of Rage 4 features hand-drawn animated sprites for its current-gen visual style. Fans of the series will notice how, despite the new art style, Streets of Rage 4 preserves much of the original postures and frames for many of the characters that debuted in the original trilogy. You can see here how Axel and Blaze present the same idle movements but with lush new hand-drawn graphics. Not to mention, the games music follows suit with the series’ electronic dance influenced music – scored by Yuzo Koshiro and Motohiro Kawashima.
The Streets of Rage 4 story moves several years past the timeline in Streets of Rage 3, demonstrated by the appearance of an older-looking Axel.
And while Blaze seemed to dodge the effects of Father Time, Adam (Streets of Rage ‘1’) did not, as the game features a new character in his daughter, Cherry Hunter.
Guard Crush Games’ Cyrille Lagarigue (main programmer) and Beausoleil Samson-Guillemette (programmer) were on the floor at Pax West to confirm for us that the game’s roster won’t stop there. Streets of Rage 4 will feature more characters to play as by the time that the game launches.
Of course, we were sure to get some hands on with the game, trying out two stages in this new upcoming title. The gameplay seems to lean very close to the style of Streets of Rage 2. Characters can use normal attacks, special attacks that eat at their life gauge, jumps, grabs, and a new star attack. Much like in Streets of Rage 1, each character starts a new life with this attack stored up. Once used, the character will freeze gameplay to perform a high-damage area-of-affect attack.
The special attacks feature a new behavior where using them now puts a sort of health reservation on the character that performs it. The character can gain that health back if they are able to connect with enough normal attacks without getting hit. If they get hit, they then lose the health outright. I personally like this new style of risk element. An aggressive but skilled player can dish out special moves as they wish, with the chance of getting that health back solely with fighting ability.
Also new to the game is a somewhat enhanced combo and juggling fighting engine. We were able to dish out some long-winded combos. Certain moves now have the effect of also “bouncing” enemies, allowing you sweep them back up into the air for more combo juggling. During our gameplay, I was able to use Axel to effectively string a normal combo into is his forward special attack and finish it with an star attack, where the game recognized it as one unbroken combo.
From what little time we spent with Cherry, she appeared to be designed very much after Skate, where she was the only playable character in the demo with the ability to run. She’s highly mobile and acrobatic, where she features attacks that bounce her off of the screen’s boarder. She also carries a guitar on her back that is used in her special and star attacks.
From what we seen so far, Streets of Rage 4 promises to be a very fun and engaging pick-up-and-play beat-em-up that would delight fighting game fans both new and old. We plan to keep tabs on Streets of Rage 4 and its progression, and so should you! Keep tabs on the game yourself on their official website and social media on https://www.streets4rage.com, go to https://www.facebook.com/StreetsofRage4.