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I've been buzzing, buzzing I tell you, for Streets of Rage 4 ever since it was formally announced in August 2018. I got to play it earlier this year at Gamescom, and could have quite happily spent the rest of the conference with it. The side-scrolling brawler is, entirely, my jam.
But then, how could it not be? I grew up with SEGA, and 1991's Streets of Rage and its 1992 sequel are two of my favourite games on the Mega Drive, and of all time (less so the third game, but hey, it still bangs compared to a lot of its genre peers of the era). Great visuals, great action, co-op play, amazing music - the Streets of Rage series is one of the absolute pinnacles of the 'go straight, punch dudes' gaming formula.
Streets of Rage 4 - in development across indie studios Lizardcube, Guard Crush Games and Dotemu - is nailing that same tight and crunchy gameplay, and bringing back the original composers of the music to games one to three, Yuzo Koshiro and Motohiro Kawashima, for some authentic spins on the bridge, expanders and slow moons.
On its reveal, Streets of Rage 4 showcased two characters, ex-cops turned vigilantes Blaze Fielding and Axel Stone, who were playable in all three of the previous games. They're carrying over some classic moves, and a handful of new ones.
In the summer of 2019, a new character was announced: Cherry Hunter (hey, no snickering), the daughter of Adam Hunter, a protagonist of the first game, a prisoner in the second and a non-playable ally in the third.
Now, we have a fourth playable character confirmed for Streets of Rage 4 - and bowl me over with a blitz attack if it's not another familiar face, albeit aged somewhat since the 16-bit days. Yep, the newest hero of Streets of Rage 4 is Adam Hunter, playable for the first time since '91, still in yellow but now packing a ground-cracking special move that sends any enemies in its blast radius flying. Check out the new trailer, below.
Adam's the fourth, but seemingly not the final, playable character locked in for this overdue series comeback. Check the end of the trailer for another outline, beside the revealed quartet. Could that be Max Hatchett, the wrestler from Streets of Rage 2? Or someone totally new? We'll find out soon enough, as Streets of Rage 4 is being released in the first half of 2020, for PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC and Nintendo Switch.
And while it's been 25 years since the last game, the story of this new one is set around 10 years after SoR3 - which'll explain why the old guard can still kick so much arse. Can't wait, frankly - pencil this in for a top-five slot on my GOTY 2020 list.
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