Josh’s Diary of a Retro Gamer – Streets of Rage
Picking up the newest installment of the Streets of Rage series was a dream I’ve been waiting to see come to fruition for twenty nine years. As it downloaded, I was filled with a burning question, could this game recapture my childhood? Thats a huge undertaking as this series was the cornerstone to my young gaming experience. The controls of the original games were simple enough for a child to pickup while the accessible levels and award winning soundtrack kept me intrigued the entire time. Most importantly at that age, it was rewarding to beat each level and walk away with a feeling of true accomplishment. One memory that’s stuck with me to this day was the incredible feeling of hearing the final song after defeating Mr. X in Streets of Rage II. To this day, it still brings back a nostalgia I can’t begin to describe.
As a classic gamer, Streets of Rage IV has met all my expectations. The simple four button controls, the traditional line up of characters, and the incredible soundtrack provided by no other than Yuzo Koshiro was astonishing to experience. I’m not a game reviewer so I wont get into the technicals but I do want to comment on an aspect I felt was a cornerstone to this games success, its awareness of the classic fan base. The feeling of the game hadn’t been gutted and rethought out for the new generation, on the contrary, they somehow managed to recapture the classic feeling into what felt like a brand new game. The most poignant example I encountered was in the second level.
As I walked through the police station, I spotted an old arcade cabinet in the corner. When I walked up to it, it literally transported me back to the Streets of Rage II level one mini boss fight with Jack. The graphics and background transitioned back to the style of the original series with the exception of the current soundtrack. This event definitively illustrated the past and present uniting into one new cohesive game. It was a tip of the hat to its older audience to say to us, “even though you’re playing with your own kids now, we still haven’t forgotten about you.” It was the bow on top of a truly unique and exciting game I will play for years to come.