Out of nowhere, Sega have just announced the oft-requested but never really acknowledged Streets of Rage 4. The original trilogy were highly regarded in their day, with the brilliantly designed characters and stages being accompanied by a fantastic soundtrack and some solid, if simplistic, gameplay. I couldn’t tell you how many hours myself and my brother spent going through SoR2 specifically, often clearing the game then immediately restarting on a harder setting or to see if we could clear it quicker.
I have recently been playing SoR2 on the 3DS and it still holds up in my eyes, though being unable to co-op via game sharing it has diminished it’s appeal a little (each DS requires a copy). At first, I couldn’t quite believe that this was finally announced, convinced I’d missed the joke somewhere. Thankfully, it’s real, and it got me thinking: what would I like to see in the first Streets of Rage game in 24 years?
So far, the trailer confirms that both Axel and Blaze will be playable again, both looking a little older (Though still capable of dishing out a beating). Of course, I wouldn’t expect Dotemu to stop there. Will Max have somehow become even more built, turning into a literal mountain of a man? Will Skate still be rolling around on his inlines, or will he have adapted to the times using a Hover board or some Heeleys? Hmmm, perhaps not… and is Roo still kicking about, or will another mammal take his place? I can’t wait to find out. Now, I’d also like to see some new characters to fill out the roster too. Perhaps in aid of…
4 Player Co-op
The old adage is that sequels mean BIGGER AND BETTER. Well, a no-brainer in my eyes would be to add 4-player co-op for the first time. Games like the brilliant Castle Crashers have shown that this can work well, and with the slower pace of SoR 4 players would be amazing. It would require levels to be a bit wider perhaps, but I see no reason why this couldn’t be added. These kind of games are made for co-op (are you listening Shaq-Fu), so why not up the ante to a full 4 people? Throw even more varied and bigger enemies at us, have a much happening on screen as possible and you’ve got a recipe for a true modern take on the classic franchise. And while we’re at it, chuck in some tag-team moves. Using Axel’s suplex to launch foes in to Max’s waiting arm for a piledriver… yes please!
A Worthy Soundtrack
Any fan of the original trilogy will tell you; the soundtracks to these games are some of the best of the era. Using the Mega Drive soundchip to its fullest, despite it’s modest ability, the background tunes oozed a kind of underground feel. Something you’d find playing over a grimy bar scene, or what a local underground artist would be proud to have composed. As soon as the first note hits never fails to get me back in the groove of the game. It’s even made it to a permanent fixture on my game music playlist. Whack the bass up on your device, crank the volume and feel the rhythm. The trailers tune was pretty good, but a little too..modern perhaps. Get that early 90’s gritty feel to it and I’ll be sold!
Sega are on a real roll as of late. Between Sonic Mania delivering fans an amazing modern take on retro-styled Sonic and the recent release of the long requested Shenmue 1&2 it seems they can do no wrong. I’ll be keeping a close eye on SoR4 as it develops and can’t wait to see if all involved can live up to the expectations. Now, Sega, about a Burning Rangers remaster…