Stewart 'Grave' Gibson is the fighting game loving, Doomguy worshipping, Motorhead listening maniac of DarkSpawn Gaming. When not ripping and tearing Stewart can be found riding the open roads or at the nearest Lucha Libre event.
Being a bit of an older chap I have had the honour of playing the original Streets of Rage trilogy and still own them to this day on the Mega Drive, along with the system itself. Yes, I still play and them and yes, I still enjoy the living daylights out of them. Many fans will agree that Streets of Rage 2 is the best followed by the first and then third. While the third is not a bad game, in fact it is far from it, it is considered the weakest of the three games.
The reason I bring up this excellent series of old school games is due to the announcement made last year of the upcoming and long awaited sequel, Streets of Rage 4. Using a hand drawn look rather than pixels the game is looking absolutely stunning and is set to feature the games two main and recurring cast members, Blaze Fielding and Axel Stone. Details have been sparse as of yet but rumblings suggest that the game will receive a 2019 release date and will be for all formats. There have also been a handful of screen shots and short teaser/announcement trailer but not much else.
(To say this game looks good is an understatement)
While details may not be plentiful there are a few things I can tell you about it. The team behind the game, Dotemu, are responsible for the amazing remake of Wonder Boy: A Dragons Trap released in 2017 and will be using the same artist who worked on this on Streets of Rage 4, so we know the game is going to look amazing. The team are also huge fans of the games and so it goes without saying that they will do everything they can to deliver the best possible game as both a tribute to the series and as something they can be proud of themselves.
Now as great as all this is, there is one big burning question that has yet to be answered. Will the genius that is Yuzo Koshiro return to do the music for the game? If you don’t know why this is important then you need to go check the soundtracks for the Streets of Rage series as they are easily some of the greatest soundtracks, ever written, and I do mean ever. With an incredible mix of house, trance, electro and even a bit of jazz these games had it all and it all helped make the perfect tunes to bash the brains out of baddies.
(Old school at its finest)
Now I know you’re all wondering, well, that’s all well and good but why should we be excited? For those who have never played the series before this will be a perfect way to be introduced to the hard-hitting, table-smashing, face-punching world of Streets of Rage. Being a side scrolling beat ‘em up, this means that you will never have a spare moment to breath as an onslaught of enemies is constantly up in your grill and wanting to put your nose on the wrong side of your head using an assortments of weapons and their fists. Combo’s were simple but tight and so this meant that you were never over burdened with huge combo strings to remember or grades at the end of the stage, basically what this game was telling you was that survival was its own reward.
Does this all sound a bit scary to you? Don’t panic, Streets of Rage wouldn’t be the cultural phenomenon it is today if all this was done on your lonesome. These games were at their absolute peak when buddying up with a friend to walk the dangerous streets with and kick evil back side together with. The good news is Streets of Rage 4 has already confirmed that this tradition will continue with the new instalment and who knows, seeing as todays machines have more power, we may even get more players than that.
(Cracking heads is always more fun with a friend)
So, yeah if you‘re weren’t excited for the return of the daddy of all scrolling beat ‘em ups believe when I tell you, you should be. Between gorgeous graphics, incredible gameplay, couch multiplayer and a (hopefully) awesome soundtrack this could be one of the longest awaited and best sequels ever made.