It's been more than twenty years since its last entry, but Sega's Streets of Rage series is back with a vengeance thanks to the surprise announcement of Streets of Rage 4. There are no confirmed platforms or release window just yet, but I defy any '90s kid to watch this trailer and not belt out a "totally radical, dude!" (I will also accept "gnarly," "x-treme," and "all that and a bag of chips".)
The game looks decidedly retro in terms of gameplay, but the pixelated sprites of yester-decade have been replaced with gorgeous, hand-animated characters and environments, lending the whole affair a quasi-Saturday morning cartoon vibe. Which, just to be clear, I am totally down for.
If you weren't playing games in the age of Zubaz pants and VHS tapes or just missed out the first time around, here's the jist on Streets of Rage: like other beat-em-ups of the time such as Double Dragon, it featured bandana-wearing heroes punching and kicking their way through armies of thugs in order to rid the city of a dastardly crime syndicate.
It was a bit cornball and wacky, even for the time, with sequels adding a pro wrestler, rollerblade-wearing kid, and even a kangaroo as playable fighters. Still, players loved the tight and responsive controls, flashy graphics, and killer tunes. Streets of Rage 3 came out in 1994, and it seemed that was where the series would end. Until today, of course.
So who's behind this revival? Thank the collaborative efforts of Canadian studio Guard Crush Games and French developer Lizardcube. Guard Crush is behind the Streets of Rage spiritual successor Streets of Fury (which used live-action actors a la Mortal Kombat), while Lizardcube has some retro experience thanks to its work on the 2017 Wonder Boy: The Dragon’s Trap remake. Side note: Wonder Boy let players swap between the classic 8-bit visuals and the new hand-drawn style - will the same be true of Streets of Rage 4? Fun to think about!
Publisher Dotemu specializes in these sorts of remasters and adaptations, with games like R-Type 2, Windjammers, and the aforementioned Wonder Boy in its catalogue. In other words: this project looks like it's in good hands. Or as the '90s kid in me would say: hella fly.
The Streets of Rage 4 announcement got you in a nostalgic mood? If you want an authentic old-school experience, here's how you can create your own all-in-one retro setup. Or, if you want your classic games to look like new, read up on the best way to play old consoles on an HD TV.