Streets of Rage 4
|Streets of Rage 4|
|Series||Streets of Rage|
|Genre(s)||Beat 'em up|
Streets of Rage 4[a] is a beat 'em up game developed by Dotemu, Lizardcube, and Guard Crush Games. It is a continuation of Sega's Streets of Rage series, and was released in 2020 for Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, macOS, and Linux. It received generally positive reviews from critics and has sold over 1.5 million copies worldwide.
Carrying on the style of gameplay from previous entries in the Streets of Rage series from the early 1990s, Streets of Rage 4 is a side-scrolling beat 'em up in which up to four players locally or two players online fight against waves of enemies, aided by disposable weapons and item pickups. Alongside standard attacks, throws, and Blitz Moves, each playable character has a set of special attacks that can be performed at the cost of some health. In this game, however, players can restore health spent on a special attack by performing successive follow-up attacks without getting hit. Each playable character also has a unique "Star Move", which can be performed by collecting Stars in each level. A new combo system is introduced, along with the ability to juggle opponents against walls and other players, allowing players to earn extra points by stringing together long combos without getting hit.
The main gameplay mode, Story Mode, sees players going through each level as the story is told, with a stage select unlocked after clearing Story Mode. Players have a limited number of lives depending on the difficulty setting, but can earn more by earning a certain number of points. If all players lose all of their lives, they will have to retry the level from the beginning, with the option to use assists that add extra lives and Star Moves at the cost of a reduced score. Upon clearing a level, players receive a rank based on how many points they scored. Points earned goes towards a lifetime score, which goes towards unlocking bonus playable characters from past games, presented in pseudo 16-bit style. The game also features Arcade Mode, which tasks players with clearing the entire game with limited lives, a Boss Rush Mode and a competitive Battle Mode, which lets two players fight against each other. The game also features a retro audio option, featuring music tracks from both the Mega Drive/Genesis and Master System/Game Gear versions of the first two games.
This article needs an improved plot summary. (January 2021)
Ten years after the events of Streets of Rage 3, in which the criminal mastermind Mr. X was defeated, Wood Oak City falls under the control of a new crime syndicate led by Mr. X's children, the Y Twins, who plan to brainwash its citizens with hypnotic music. Blaze Fielding calls in some old favors to take the twins down. Joining Blaze are her old friends Axel Stone and Adam Hunter, Adam's daughter Cherry Hunter, and Floyd Iraia, a cybernetically enhanced apprentice of Dr. Zan.
Following the success of Wonder Boy: The Dragon's Trap, a 2017 remake of 1989's Wonder Boy III: The Dragon's Trap, publisher Dotemu and developer Lizardcube approached Sega about creating a sequel in the Streets of Rage series. Sega agreed, licensed the franchise to Dotemu and production on the game began at the beginning of 2018, with the game publicly announced that August. The game was co-developed by Guard Crush Games, using a modified engine from their Streets of Fury game, with a core development team of five members across the three companies. Each playable Streets of Rage 4 character has approximately 1,000 frames of animation, with enemies having between 300 and 400 frames each. Seaven Studio ported the game for PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch while BlitWorks ported it for Xbox One and Windows 10.
The game's score was primarily composed by Olivier Deriviere, with additional compositions from Yuzo Koshiro, Motohiro Kawashima, Yoko Shimomura, Keiji Yamagishi, Harumi Fujita, Das Mörtal, and Groundislava. The soundtrack is structured so that Deriviere wrote the primary themes, while each boss fight's theme was written by one of the guest composers. Koshiro was not a part of the project from the start, but joined in June 2019 after playing a demo of the game at BitSummit, an indie game showcase in Japan. He cited fan requests and how the game was coming along as reasons for joining. Hideki Naganuma was also originally set to contribute, but dropped out of the project due to scheduling conflicts before being replaced by Fujita. The game includes the ability to switch the soundtrack to that of Streets of Rage and Streets of Rage 2.
The game's soundtrack was released digitally alongside the game on April 30, 2020 by Brave Wave Productions, with a limited vinyl release produced by Limited Run Games. A CD soundtrack is included with certain physical releases of the game, and Tee Lopes has contributed an additional remix for an exclusive 15 track soundtrack CD for those who ordered physical editions from Limited Run Games.
The game was released for Microsoft Windows, Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One on April 30, 2020. A limited physical release for the PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch versions by Limited Run Games was made available as both a standard edition with reversible box art and a classic edition with a steelbook case and a Genesis-style clam-shell case. A limited edition version including a CD soundtrack, a 7-inch statue, a chicken stress ball, and an artbook has also been offered. Another physical release for PS4, Switch, and Xbox One is being planned by Signature Edition, releasing the game in both a standard version include keyrings and an art booklet and a signature edition with a CD soundtrack, enamel pins, and a bandana. Following the announcement of other physical editions, Dotemu and Limited Run Games announced that all orders of their physical editions would include a complimentary CD with an exclusive remix by Tee Lopes, as well as free Steam keys for those who ordered the limited edition.
A downloadable content titled Mr. X Nightmare has been announced for release in 2021, adding three additional characters who are also bosses in the main game storyline (Estel Aguirre, alongside the current incarnations of both Max Thunder and Shiva), and a Survival Mode, as well as additional moves, enemies and weapons. A free update adding additional color palletes, a training mode, and a "New Mania+" difficultly will be released alongside the DLC.
|PC Gamer (US)||76/100|
Leo Faierman of The Sydney Morning Herald wrote that "the visuals, sounds and mechanics aren't as envelope-pushing in 2020 as the originals were in the early '90s, but the balance between embracing nostalgia and reformulating the brawler for the current decade is struck wonderfully." Heidi Kemps of GameSpot opined the game "looks great, sounds great, and plays very well" and that even "if the experience is relatively short, it's the sort of game you and your buddies can easily enjoy playing and re-playing."
Michael Huber of Easy Allies stated that Streets of Rage 4 masterfully revitalized the series, describing the combat and soundtrack as high points, but criticized the online components at launch. Dale Driver of IGN wrote that "it’s still a very conservative update to the quarter-century-old format that feels like a slave to the past." Joe Juba of Game Informer agrees that it "feels like an homage to the ‘90s, but it’s also stuck in that era."
The game reached number 14 in the UK sales charts. It also reached 20th on the US downloads chart. As of September 2020[update], the game has sold over 1.5 million digital copies worldwide.
It received a "Gold" award from Famitsu. Polygon listed Streets of Rage 4 among the 22 best games on the Switch. It was nominated for Best Action Game at The Game Awards 2020, but lost to Hades.
- known in Asia as Bare Knuckle IV (ベア・ナックルIV)
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