Rate this review: Streets of Rage Remake
High: Hours of beatíem up fun
Low: A rooftop platforming stage
WTF: The first exploding barrel
Imagine your out for a night on the town. Itís a Friday night in the city. Itís a crisp, clear summer evening; the streetlights are glowing fiercely in the air. Youíre on your way to see a movie, but on the way you decide to stop at your local bar for a quick drink. Just as you round the corner you can hear the faint sound of hot techno music in the air. Where the music is coming from you just canít figure out, there are no signs of amplification. It sounds like itís being created from the hazy twilight sky. Up ahead on the sidewalk there is a commotion. Itís a group of people, and they are grappling with each other. Mesmerized you approach this brawl to get a closer look. You see a petite woman dressed in red with long auburn hair and a huge shirtless wrestler surrounded by five thugs. Perplexed by this scene you wonder if they need assistance, perhaps they are being mugged? You watch as the woman in red sends a flurry of kicks to one of the young punks, sending him crashing into a newspaper box. Another punk dressed in yellow, armed with a knife lunges at the woman but is stopped cold by a haymaker to the jaw. He falls like a sack of potatoes. You glance over to see how the wrestler is doing. The barrel-chested wrestler is easily handing the other three punks. With a purple dressed punk caught in a headlock, the hulking menace send a massive back hand to the faces of the other two punks, sending them sprawling. He then tosses the purple punk into a nearby dumpster with ease. Frozen in terror you canít believe what you are witnessing. Cold sweat is rolling down your brow. Your attention turns back to the woman. Sheís walking towards you, slowly but with purpose. Her long brown hair is flowing in the breeze. Sheís stepping closer, and staring at you with nothing but fire in her eyes. Itís just another typical Friday night in Streets of Rage Remake.
Streets of Rage Remake is a strange anomaly of video game creation with no official SEGA backing or big financial support. SoRR is a fan made game, spanning 8 years of development, it is a love letter written to fans of 16-bit era fighting games. Twenty contributors put their time and effort into the project, with no guarantee that the game would even see the light of day. If youíre expecting to boot up this game and get just an HD version of Streets of Rage, boy youíre in for a BIG surprise! Not only have the original games been recreated, so much painstaking detail has been added as well. Itís not just a straight-ahead redo of Streets of Rage 1, 2 and 3. Bomber Games took the original three games and threw them in an awesome blender with a hand full of bacon. Every enemy, level, weapon and character has been combined into one giant game with an awesome remix of the original soundtracks.
Letís get into the basic mechanics of the game. At its core SoRRís combat plays as a hybrid of Streets of Rage 2 & 3(with tons of custom options Iíll get to later), but thatís not giving it justice. By combining the two, Bomber Games has managed to create a fighting system that has a unique feel and pays homage to the original games. Combat is fluid, brawls are frenetic and collision works as well as the originals. All the classic weapons are back as well as new additions like pepper spray and you can now pick up guns and grenades! There are even new weapon moves added to the game. Special attacks are still reliable and unique moves are now mapped to dedicated keys, which is a nice added touch. Police from SOR1 are still here with a whole new aerial attack. SoRR is a mechanically sound game, although, some of the platforming parts of the game are frustrating. One particular rooftop stage had me dying a lot. Two-player co-op is still loads of fun. If you donít want to cram the keyboard with a friend you now have the option to activate computer controlled AI as the second player. You can even tailor the ALís behavior to match your play style. I played through the game twice using this computer-controlled teammate and it worked perfectly. Playing on my trusty old MacBook the game ran fine, with none of the Genesis flicker that plagued the era. The customization options in the start menu are extensive. You can tailor game play elements to match previous entries in the series. Playerís can tweak everything from jump behaviors, voices, camera type, and much more. With all this youíre going to have hours of fun beating up punks and skids.
Story wise nothing is changed here, and with good measure! Mr. X is in charge of a corrupt city and you have to go kick his ass, nuff said. What Bomber Games manages to do is take all the stages from the original games and create one large game. You start the game at an intro map and you choose your path to take through the city. Depending on the path you choose, SoRRís stages, cutscenes, and even endgame change. Some stages even split into separate paths. I found at least four distinct routes through the game that are different. New vehicle stages were created for SoRR and they are loads of fun. Each stage is bridged together by hand drawn artwork that progresses the story, itís not Shakespeare but itís a nice touch. Finishing the game enables a store where you can buy tons of new game content. Youíll find unlockable characters, cheats, artwork, character skins, game modes and even a level editor! All the original sprites look awesome and new additions like the inclusion of vehicles are great. Almost all the original music is brought back for SoRR, but is either remixed or reimagined and sounds amazing. Included is an amazing remix of ďDreamerĒ that will make you want to head out to your local club and start kicking some ass.
Eight years, twenty different contributors and no official backing from SEGA, its amazing Streets of Rage Remake even saw the light of day. Overall you can tell SoRR was made with nothing but pure heart and soul. The amount of user customization and level of detail here is staggering, rivaling and even surpassing many million-dollar big studio games. Some could say that this game should never have been done, that it infringes of some sort of proprietary rights. It could be said that the team from Bomber Games have waded into some murky legal waters with Streets of Rage Remake. All I can say is, ďsomebody give these guys a jobĒ.
Disclosures: This game was obtained via digital and reviewed on MacBook. Approximately 12 hours of play was devoted to single-player modes (completed 4 times) and 5 hours of play to multiplayer modes.