raging just ice
Why is it raging? It just is…
Back in the early ’90s, people were raging. Actually, mostly they were raving, but in videogames, they were definitely raging. Streets Of Rage, SEGA’s classic side-scrolling beat-’em-up, set the bar high back then for co-op fighting games, and Raging Justice is an enthusiastic nod to the games of that era.
Your choice of fighters – Nikki Rage, a badass cop; Rick Justice, an even badder-ass cop, and Ash, a streetsmart teen – are dishing out beatings on the mean city streets. As per bloody-typical, the streets are awash with scum with poor dress sense, and to clean those sidewalks you have to pour a real rain on them in the form of extreme violence. So far so good.
Playing good cop, and arresting stunned felons by walking into them and somehow resisting the temptation to punch, will earn you health – but this is a game that positively encourages bad cop behaviour by giving you knives to get stabby with, and having enemies drop more cash/ points as you pummel their brains with big sticks. Fighting-wise you’re mostly limited to a simple, threebutton punch/kick/jump combo, plus grab-punch/throw and a dash-attack, as well as a super-move that clears the mobs but exacts a heavy health cost. There is an array of limited-use weaponry to employ (dropped by the bad guys; you brought nothing to an everything-fight). Axes, baseball bats and hammers can trigger a one-kill bonus proclaiming ‘Timber’, ‘Home Run’, ‘Hammer time’ etc, plus there are rarer shotguns, and bombs being chucked around which you can throw back. Fire hydrants, trashcans and traffic cones can also be used as weapons, and even pigeons deal damage when kicked at enemies.
Murder on the move
Some levels introduce rideable vehicles, like lawn tractors, that you can get on and gleefully mow down baddies, but it’s not all such easy carnage. Some of the regular enemies are genuinely tricky, and the creditlimit allowed for continuing your progress is unforgiving, as some of the bosses really make you work for it.
Couch co-op play is the best way to enjoy a game like this, and luckily you can toggle friendly-fire on and off; with it on, it’s horribly difficult, even potentially relationship-ending. It’s hard not to hit each other while you’re in the midst of a mob take-down, not to mention steal each other’s loot drops, deliberately or otherwise.
Raging Justice is old-school, beat-’em-sideways fun, but the game suffers from some of those more annoying mechanics that 25 years ago you wouldn’t think twice about. The side-scrolling is static until enough enemies are dispatched, a la Streets, and so enemies again have a tendency to loiter off-screen where you can’t see them or hit them until they hit you. A repetition in bosses and regular enemies, necessary in more limited-processing times, these days holds less interest, and despite the sharper yet still retro-styled graphics, your protagonists don’t have half the charm or even pixellated personality of, say, Axel and Blaze from Streets Of Rage.
Still, it’s challenging enough to please retro game fans, even those who like their gaming nigh-impossible; with a ‘Brawl’ (survival) mode, bonuses for time-clearance, plus arrest warrants for specific non-boss perps, meaning you need to pay attention to the names of all of those miscreants that are on the screen at once. OXM VER DICT Mostly fun retro beat-’em-up that can be challenging, but not so much that it’s rewarding.
“This is a game that positively encourages bad cop behaviour”
right Their good cop/bad cop routine is mostly weighted towards the ‘bad’ side. below Some of the violence is shocking, like this taser attack.