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Streets of Rage 4 review – beloved beat ’em-up gets the Sonic Mania treatment

If you ask me what it is that made Sega’s games really sing when they were in their 90s pomp, I’d settle on just one thing. It’s the swagger, that cocky self-assuredness backed up with an impeccable sense of style. Any doubt that Streets of Rage began life as a Final Fight clone is soon erased if you look at the similarity between the two leading men, but could Cody Travers ever match the sheer attitude of Axel Stone as he piled through neon-slicked streets full of hoodlums in step to Yuzo Koshiro’s searing techno beats?

There might have been better Sega games in the 90s, but there’s no better 90s Sega games than the Mega Drive’s Streets of Rage trilogy. From the soundtrack to the set-up to the styles that characters wear – this is stonewashed denim through and through – Streets of Rage and its two sequels embody so much of the 90s spirit, something backed up by the fact that this is a series that never saw beyond the decade.

Until now, that is, but Streets of Rage 4 is more than a belated sequel. Like Sonic Mania before it, this is a fan-made game that’s at once a faithful and fully-endorsed follow-up to a Sega classic as well as a little more besides. And as with Sonic Mania before it, Streets of Rage 4 proves that, sometimes, the fans really do know best.

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