Streets of Rage 4 – Mr. X Nightmare Review – Fan Service Galore
Last year’s Streets of Rage 4 brought the retro beat ‘em up series back from the dead, courtesy of Dot Emu. Despite some shortcomings, it was a well-executed modern take on the classic formula, with fun and chaotic over-the-top action, a stylish aesthetic, as well as catchy music. Developer Dotemu and LizardCube didn’t just stop there, however. With the Mr.X Nightmare DLC, they’re looking to rectify some of the issues and add a healthy dose of fan service.
The expansion adds three new playable characters to the roster, namely Estel Aguirre, Max Thunder, and Shiva. In an effort to make the game more accessible to newcomers, Estel’s move set has been kept relatively simple. Originally a boss in Stage 4 and 7 in the story, she packs quite a punch and can tackle tough enemies fairly quickly. Max Thunder was a playable character in previous entries, therefore fans should be familiar with his fighting style. He’s the slowest but also the strongest character in the game, and his move set is based on grappling/wrestling maneuvers, including a bear hug, a body slam, and an atomic drop. Much like Estel, Max is also a boss in the main story, where he’s under the mind control of Ms. Y. Shiva’s variants from the second and third games were already present in the base game as unlockable characters. However, the version you encounter as a boss in stage 6 of Streets of Rage 4’s story mode is now made available via the Mr. X Nightmare DLC. While his fighting style is naturally similar to his other versions, some of his moves have been altered with unique properties to give him a unique flavor. For instance, one of his Supers allows him to summon three shadow clones of himself instead of two.
In addition to a brand new difficulty setting, there’s also a new Survival mode that gives the game tons of replay value. It’s partially inspired by the roguelike genre, and each run feels like a fresh experience thanks to some clever tweaks. This is thanks in part to the procedural placement of props, enemies, and traps at runtime. This can, however, feel unfair in situations where traps are placed more aggressively and are accompanied by a large wave of enemies. In addition, you’re rewarded with stat improvements as a bonus for taking out every successive wave of enemies. As the name implies, the goal of this mode is to survive for as long as possible in order to rake in a high score. Getting ranked in the online leaderboards grants you access to new special moves for your character.
Series purists will not be disappointed, as there’s plenty of fan service to be found here. Most of the enemies from previous entries, including bosses, have been faithfully recreated for the Mr. X Nightmare DLC, right down to their pixelated sprites. Similarly, some new environmental assets have been added that take inspiration from areas in previous entries. Though, there aren’t enough new assets to keep levels looking fresh over the course of multiple runs. Meanwhile, the soundtrack is great in itself, but, for the sake of variety, it would’ve been great to have additional retro tracks from earlier games.
At the asking price of $7.99, however, it’ll be tough for series veterans to pass up on an expansion that adds plenty of new worthwhile content to an already great game. In addition to all the fan service, a comprehensive tutorial has been added for newcomers to better understand the game’s mechanics, and it’s free if you own the base game. There really hasn’t been a better time to jump into Streets of Rage 4.
Streets of Rage 4 – Mr. X Nightmare Game Information
- Price: $7.99
- Publisher: DotEmu
- Developer: LizardCube
- Platform: PS4 (Reviewed)
- Disclaimer: A review code was given by the publisher