rag­ing just ice

Why is it rag­ing? It just is…

XBox: The Official Magazine - - CONTENTS - Chris Burke

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.

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