After eight years of hard work, Streets of Rage Remake is finally done and the final version has been released as of earlier this week. As a fan of the franchise, I have been looking forward for a while when Bomber Games were finally able to finish it. This is one big complete package of the best of the Streets of Rage franchise compiled into one big game with somewhat an original story. Well, not really with the original story of Mr. X and his Syndicate are up to no good as its up to Axel, Blaze, Adam, Skate, Max, and Zan to the save the city from corruption. When Bomber Games claimed there are over 100 areas in the game, they weren't joking, and it makes sense since you get to select a starting path (Four of them) to beat up dudes. Two of them will be familiar as there are the first games from the first two games while the other two are original paths mixed in with some Streets of Rage 3 stages. Then there's the multiple branching paths to take which encourages multiple playthroughs of the game, which is great seeing which path leads to a certain boss or an area just filled with unexpected stuff. For example, there are vehicular sections in the game as you're on a bike or a little boat beating up dudes. However, these sections are pretty sketchy as you will have a hard time coming out of then alive at first, but eventually figure out tactics to lessen the damages. These multiple paths also mean multiple endings, which are the various endings from the three games remade in a new visual style.
Streets of Rage Remake encourages replay value like no other compared to any other beat-em-up in existence. There's the six various characters playable at the first with Axel spamming gran uppers like no one's business, Adam getting buffed up in the stats department (now my go-to), and so on. There are characters to buy as well in the shop after beating the game once along with cheats, bonus modes such as survival and boss rush, and extras. The customizable options are also stacked as you can play the game at the default SOR3 style o even the classic SOR1 style with no special moves at your disposal. New to this remake I believe are star moves in which the more stars you have, the better your dash attack is. Adam, for example at two stars has a Balrog-like dash punch, but adds in an uppercut with three stars, which does a good amount of damage. This also encourages staying alive keeping the stars as if you die, you lose a star. Police attacks from the first game also make a return and of course useful in tight situations and against bosses in their limited use. The difficulty also ramped up for this final version as it can be hard especially at the final stretches when at it alone. The enemy AI is smarter and bosses are willing to counterattack too. The game does get easier with another person around joining in on the fun and even a AI-controlled buddy in which you can dictate its behavior (being balanced, aggressive, stupid, etc.) at the start of a playthrough.
Graphically, Streets of Rage Remake is modeled after the second/third games, so its nice to backgrounds from the first game remade in the later games' format along with seeing original settings as well. The characters have also been redrawn to fit that style too. The amazing soundtrack though is something special. All of the tracks from the various games have been remastered as it is just awesome listening to the tracks being modernized in a way Yuzo Koshiro, the franchise's composer, would of thought of if Sega wants to bring to properly bring it back. Then again after the amazing job Bomber Games did with this homage to a classic franchise, it is probably for the best Sega never touches it again even though they seem to be aware of this version's existence and requested for the download links to be taken down for now. Bomber Games also mentioned today that they will patch it up soon toning down the difficulty to make it easier to beat it alone.
Whenever you have a chance, play this game as soon as you can if you love classic beat-em-ups especially this franchise. This is retro gaming and fanmade games done right as hopefully Bomber Games get the props they deserve.