Who doesn’t love a bit of controversy eh? Something to stir up the pot a bit, like telling your friends you don’t like “Africa” by that god-awful band Toto, or eating your pizza with a knife and fork in public (but then again that’s less controversial and just plain wrong, IT’S WHAT THE CRUST IS THERE FOR). I’m talking about controversy here because the game that I’m going to talk about may actually have its indie title contested.

The boffins over at Bomber Games have literally rebuilt that old Genesis classic Streets of Rage from the ground up. If you’re in need of an introduction to Streets of Rage, then what we’re talking about is one of the greatest 2D side scrolling beat ‘em ups of all time, and that’s where the controversy lies. Do we allow a review of this remake? A complete overhaul, created from scratch, by a completely unaffiliated Indie company?

The answer is yes, and the reason is simple. This game blows everything you’ve ever known about side scrolling beat ‘em ups out of the water. They had an incredible basis to start on, don’t get me wrong, with Streets of Rage 2’s masterful control of pace, it’s incredible soundtrack, Streets of Rage 1’s challenging yet fun difficulty levels, and Streets of Rage 3’s………well…….let’s just not talk about that one shall we? There’s not much there in terms of story line or character development, but that’s not what this game ever tried to do. From the get go you’re thrust into the combat zone. Tirades of enemies being launched across the screen, one by one falling at your feet with a cry of pain. It’s simple, it’s savage, and most of all, it’s fun.

“So what do we get in Remake then that makes it so special?” I hear the readers dying to know. Well to put it simply, these indie developers have pulled no punches, in fact they’ve literally added new punches. Along with the brand new playable characters that this remake offers, the developers have spent years painstakingly improving the details of every level, of every game, throwing them all into one big campaign of carnage and roundhouse kicks. Even then, they’ve added in NEW levels, original scores as well as remix’s of the old tunes you 21 year olds out there should still have stuck in your heads. The combat system has been given a complete overhaul, to make the frenetic pacing of the originals even faster, yet never out of control. It’s fluid, it feels like art. You’ll catch yourself smiling at how awesome the game makes you feel as you launch an enemy into a group of attackers and send them all flying, before delivering a flaming uppercut to one of the games many enemy types to take off a large chunk of his or her health.

 

The Bomber Games team received a lot of resistance regarding the creation of this game from SEGA themselves, as they were completely unaffiliated with them. It was just a couple of diehard fans who wanted to see a remake and put themselves to the test instead of waiting patiently for the mainstream developers to pick it up (which would also warrant no complaint from me at all). So when you look at all the new mini-games they’ve put in, all the new features such as the SOR-Maker which lets you create your own stories and campaigns for the game to be uploaded and downloaded by the community, the character editors, the brand new cheat mode and gameplay affecting options that can be bought from the in game store for the coins you’ve earned during play, it begins to look like this is one remake that UNDOUBTABLY beats out the original. Sure the nostalgia will always be there, picking up the old A-B-C controller and duking it out in all that 16-bit glory, but this right here is something special. Welcome to the new age………radioactive, radioactive (I’m sorry I couldn’t resist).

What’s even better is you can pick this game up FOR FREE over at the Bomber Games website. Do yourself a favour, check it out. If you’re in to fast paced, arcade style beat-em-ups, there’s nothing better.

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