Beaten Bloody Raw
Remember arcades? There were a lot of fighting and beat-em-up games in them. Now there is a good reason for that: Fighting games are relatively easy to make, are short enough to warrant the payment and have minimal button input. They have clear narratives (beat up those people) and finite stages meaning one could ‘beat’ those games in an arcade in a short amount of time with enough money. Do you even remember arcades? Have I become so old that people don’t know what arcades are anymore?
Well good news for those of you who remember arcade games or want to experience what an arcade game was like without diving back to Streets of Rage or forking out money for a gargantuan machine; Secret Base has got your back and with Streets of Red – Devil’s Dare Deluxe. It brings everything you liked about arcade gaming back in glorious fashion, adds plenty of the modern amenities we all now expect and doesn’t force you to interact with other people unless you want to.
You will want to though.
The fighting itself is barebones at the most basic level and most of the time you just mash some buttons and things die. Delve a little deeper and you find that each character, of which there are six total, has three special attacks designed for entirely different situations. You chain these into you button mashing as the situation demands for heavy damage or juggle combos. You will need to recharge the gauge before throwing more special attacks in and if you manage to nail three enemies with the same special attack you get a Massacre, which gives you a health item. Overall it’s light on top and richer underneath meaning you will want to put a small amount of thought into what you are doing.
The characters are pretty different. They are not entirely unique from each other in fighting style, with most button combos having usually the same effect with different flair but the specials and character design keep them unique. The lack of severe difference makes some sections feel a bit bland and button mashing but you can counter this by trying out some more stylish attacks.
So the game has four different stages. Each of these stages has up to four nights. You pick which stage you want to do in order, and the later you pick a stage the more nights are added. Each stage has a total of four nights and multiple playthroughs will be needed to experience all the nights. Each stage has a boss at the end of the night so you will fight them all in each game.
After each stage you do get the chance to upgrade your character with rouge-lite elements. They are your standard affair of upgrades from increased skills to more cash from enemies. If you feel that the upgrades are not for you though you can forgo them for hard cash meaning you can elevate your own difficulty even further. Depending on the order you pick the stages the strength of the bosses change so you can experiment even further with difficulty going so far as to pick the most hardcore mode where you do not get healed between nights.
So what more could you want? Plenty of fighting, multiple playthroughs, modifiable difficulty, different characters, and pop culture references so plentiful you’ll need a few playthroughs to see and hear all of them. Well personally I wouldn’t mind a bit more colour in the game, as the game does rely a little heavily on brown to detail everything, but what I was leaning towards 4-player local co-op. Now I haven’t had a chance to blast this through yet, but faking it with a few controllers shows that the difficulty jumps per person so it’s highly recommended even if the mess of things happening on screen means you may lose yourself in the violence.
To be honest, this game was just thrown at me at random but it turned into a real diamond. The visuals may be a little bland but exciting music, classic gameplay with modern twists and more references than a TV tropes page makes Streets of Red a pretty easy recommendation for anyone looking to relive their arcade days or fill a game in their co-op game pool.
And it’ll cost you less money than the arcade ever did. That should have been said earlier.