Streets of Rage 4 Anniversary Edition
Happy (Very Belated) Anniversary To Streets Of Rage 4!
Last year in April, Streets of Rage 4 was released on all major consoles and PC to positive reception. Released over 26 years since Streets of Rage 3, the fourth game was birthed as a collaborative effort. This honor was shared between three developers, Lizardcube, Dotemu, and Guard Crush Games. The majority of the game engine was actually borrowed from the latter's earlier beat-em-up. Streets of Fury, Guard Crush Games' earliest endeavor, played itself like a parody, including content creators and fighting game players as bonus characters.
The original release included four characters by default, including returning characters Axel Stone and Blaze Fielding. Newcomers Cherry Hunter and Floyd Iraia join the roster to make up the default roster. Early on in Story Mode, the player will unlock another veteran fighter, Adam Hunter, bumping the number to five. The Mr. X Nightmare DLC that's included in the Anniversary Edition adds three more characters. Both of whom are returning characters Max Thunder and Shiva with newcomer Estel Aguirre, rounding out to eight. Each character plays differently from the other despite sharing a similar move set. This ensures that there's a character meant for everyone to enjoy.
The DLC Characters > The Base Roster?
Initially, I gave the three DLC fighters a spin and I immediately felt the difference from the base roster. Estel, for example, covers the distance from air-to-ground with her normal attacks. Her specials are also really good as crowd control, including grenades and flashbangs that stun enemies. Max, playing similar to how he did in the original titles, has innate armor from his special moves. He also has a massive range due to his bulk. Lastly, Shiva, who is the most interesting of the three, plays differently from other characters. That's because Shiva is the only character who doesn't use weapons. To compensate, his combo potential trumps over the rest of the cast, dealing massive damage.
My theory as to why the three DLC characters are really strong in comparison to everyone else is because each fighter is a boss. Estel is a boss who is fought early in Story mode. Shiva is not only a reoccurring boss from previous titles, but he's also a boss in this game as well. Max is also fought as a boss albeit while brainwashed. As the characters hadn't changed much from their boss forms, they play just as amazing as they are to fight against. This came into an impasse when I decided to use Blaze and Axel and how honest they were in comparison. To each their own, but I felt the DLC fighters were more fun to play as than the base characters (Aside from Cherry, maybe).
What Is 'Mr. X Nightmare' In Streets Of Rage 4?
As I was playing Streets of Rage 4, I was under the misconception that Mr. X Nightmare was a bonus story DLC. I assumed players needed to play and beat the game in order to enjoy the DLC. What Mr. X Nightmare actually is, aside from the three bonus DLC characters, is a glorified Survival Mode. The Survival Mode makes the "meat and potatoes" of Streets of Rage 4: Anniversary Edition, offering players potentially hours of content.
In Survival Mode, the player starts at level one, with each level being a specific room filled with enemies and traps. Among the weapons and items available, the items are Mr. X Nightmare exclusive. These include some of the whackiest weapons ever seen in Streets of Rage including an electric eel that attacks all enemies. After each episode, players can choose between several beneficial power-up drops. These power-ups will carry over throughout the player's run, ranging from elemental buffs and damage buffs. This gives Survival Mode a "roguelite" approach to an already established beat-em-up. The music featured in this mode is also handled by Tee Lopes, who worked on Sonic Mania and many other games.
The Anniversary Edition of Streets Of Rage 4 Is Joyous
As often as Streets of Rage 4 goes on sale, players have had multiple opportunities to enjoy one of the better modern beat-em-ups. The original was developed by fans and made with fans in mind, continuing the trend with the various cameos in Mr. X Nightmare.
While the Xbox version of Anniversary Edition is non-existent, players can still enjoy both the base game and its DLC. For convenience sake, players on the PS4 and Switch will find the most bang for their buck as well as a collector's piece. Those who already own the base Streets of Rage 4 would do better to purchase the DLC instead.
Streets of Rage 4 Anniversary Edition is available on the PC and PS4.