STREETS OF RAGE 4

Meet the new­est crime-fighter look­ing to clean the streets

XBox: The Official Magazine - - CONTENTS - Adam Bryant

PUB­LISHER DOTEMU DE­VEL­OPER LIZARD­CUBE, GUARD CRUSH GAMES, DOTEMU ETA TBC

De­spite be­ing an­nounced in Au­gust last year, we’ve had our fin­gers tightly crossed for an of­fi­cial word that this beat-’em-up se­quel is com­ing to Xbox One. Well, we can fi­nally put our fin­gers to bet­ter use now, be­cause our wishes have just come true. No re­lease date has been given, but just know­ing we’ll be able to play it on Xbox is good enough for now.

Next to noth­ing is known about the story, ei­ther. All we do know is that de­spite all the crim­i­nal ass-kick­ing of the pre­vi­ous games, it seems to have done lit­tle to make Wood Oak City a safer place. Gangs of thugs and punks con­tinue to plague the streets, and se­ries stal­warts Axel Stone and Blaze Field­ing are back to fin­ish what they started by kick­ing them all to the curb. Dur­ing the game­play demos we’ve seen, we caught sight of re­turn­ing bad guy Shiva, the pre­vi­ous game’s Mr X’s right-hand man. Does this spell the re­turn of the orig­i­nal tril­ogy’s an­tag­o­nist, or is Shiva in ca­hoots with an­other crime syn­di­cate? The other boss was see, Diva, who has an affin­ity for snakes, might al­lude to this. We’ll have to wait to find out.

Streets Of Rage 4 looks ab­so­lutely stun­ning. The lov­ingly hand-crafted 2D art and flow­ing an­i­ma­tions that are rem­i­nis­cent of ’90s Satur­day morn­ing car­toons are cour­tesy of Lizard­cube, which pre­vi­ously worked on the equally beau­ti­ful re­make of Won­der Boy III: The Dragon’s Trap.

No amount of footage shown can do the game jus­tice, how­ever. You can, of course, tell that a lot of love and care has been put into the char­ac­ter de­signs and an­i­ma­tions, but it’s only when you’re play­ing the game that you can truly ap­pre­ci­ate it. The char­ac­ters feel weighty and their move­ments or­ganic, with each hit landed feel­ing solid and pow­er­ful. Even their cloth­ing moves in a nat­u­ral way. Hon­estly, we could spend hours just star­ing at the char­ac­ters’ idle an­i­ma­tions.

Shred cred

Cherry Hunter is the lat­est char­ac­ter to be join­ing the squad of street soldiers. Daugh­ter of orig­i­nal crime­fighter Adam Hunter, Cherry was trained in self-de­fence by both her fa­ther and Axel. Ini­tially, she wished to fol­low in her fa­ther’s foot­steps and be­come a po­lice of­fi­cer, but found a pas­sion for mu­sic and now plays in a rock band. She still seems to find time to fight crime, though.

As well as your stan­dard combo moves and grap­ples, each char­ac­ter has unique abil­i­ties. Axel gets a new flam­ing up­per­cut – as he en­gulfs him­self in flames, the fire con­denses into his fist and he launches an at­tack that leaves be­hind a scorch­ing whirl­wind of fire. Blaze has a new, al­most mys­ti­cal abil­ity, where she per­forms some sort of rit­ual, com­plete with glow­ing eyes, dam­ag­ing any­one caught in the blast ra­dius. Cherry comes with her own unique moveset, us­ing her gui­tar as a lit­eral axe as she smashes it down on the en­emy. Her spe­cial has her slid­ing across the screen on her knees while thrash­ing her gui­tar, send­ing en­e­mies fly­ing.

There is still an­other char­ac­ter to be re­vealed, but sadly it doesn’t look like it’s go­ing to be a re­turn­ing one, un­less of course they’ve had a sig­nif­i­cant makeover. In the pro­mo­tional art there’s a sil­hou­ette of an­other char­ac­ter sport­ing what looks like a me­chan­i­cal arm. There may even be yet an­other char­ac­ter to be re­vealed, in the same im­age there is what looks like an ob­scured fifth per­son in the back­ground. It looks like our fin­gers are crossed once again - this time for Adam Hunter to make a re­turn. ■

“It’s only when you’re play­ing the game that you can truly ap­pre­ci­ate it”

LEFT Axel and Blaze have had re­designs, but they’re still in­stantly recog­nis­able.

ABOVE The pixel art has been re­placed with a gor­geous hand-drawn style from Lizard­cube.

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