Streets of Rage 4 – Mr. X Nightmare Review
When Streets of Rage 4 was announced, it had a lot riding on its success. It was following on from a trilogy that was (mostly) well-received, with a considerable gap between the inconsistent third entry and the release of the fourth in 2020. Luckily, Streets of Rage 4 was an incredible tour-de-force, both feeling like a natural successor to the series but evolving it in surprising and enjoyable ways. In fact, the only thing that was missing was more content. Thankfully, DotEmu, Lizardcube, and Guard Crush Games seemingly noticed this too and recently released the Mr. X Nightmare for the game.
This reasonably-priced DLC offering brings a whole host of changes and additions to Streets of Rage 4, deepening the gameplay and even dramatically changing the way it is played in places, refreshing the experience for those (like us) who have put a tremendous amount of hours into the base game.
The biggest addition is the Mr. X Nightmare of the title. Following on from the events of the main game, the cyborg scientist Zan creates a simulation machine from the mind of the series villain, Mr. X. The idea is to create an infinite amount of scenarios to prepare the heroes for any possible threat that they would need to take down. For a series that, at one point, replaced almost everyone with cyborgs, this is actually a pretty grounded narrative hook to add to the main story.
What this translates into is a Survival Mode, where you have to fight through waves of enemies, gaining random buffs with each room cleared, with only one life. This mode allows the choice of a completely randomized set-up, where the enemies and buffs are completely randomized every time you play. Or you can choose the weekly challenge that changes, well, weekly and remains the same for each run. This mode has added something to Streets of Rage 4 that wasn’t there and we didn’t know we needed – replayability.
It wouldn’t be Streets of Rage without more possible unlocks, and Mr. X Nightmare doesn’t disappoint. In Survival Mode, characters have a customizable move set, with different attacks unlocked with the experience you gain from runs of the mode. These additional moves dramatically change the way characters control, allowing new combo opportunities and gameplay. Also, the various buffs, such as adding status effects to your attacks build on this too to create the most frenetic gameplay we’ve seen in the series so far.
Also, this mode can be played in multiplayer online and locally, just in case you wanted to smack about even more thugs than you could possibly do alone. Honestly, we would highly recommend trying this out just for the carnage alone. Oh, and the progress of unlocking new moves for all the characters in play occurs for both players with each run, but that entirely pales in the face of the horror of having to share out the buffs each stage as only one player can take them each time.
Then, there’s the next biggest addition: the DLC characters. Estel, the pain in your side throughout the main campaign is brought in, and franchise veterans Max and Shiva make the jump from boss encounter to playable characters. The main roster of Streets of Rage 4 have a tremendous amount of diversity in terms of playstyle and move sets already, and these three add even even more depth to the gameplay.
Estel has a more trickster style, throwing grenades and calling in police support (complete with the fun screen splashes for it). Max is far heavier and slower, relying on grappling their opponents and slamming them down so hard that lightning strikes that spot. Also, he has one of the most broken attacks, his Power Slide, which can be used from any other attack and pick up downed enemies. Finally, Shiva is far quicker than the other two but has the ability to combo in the air to spectacular effect.
Finally, and beautifully, are all of the smaller changes with the Mr. X Nightmare DLC. Every character now has a charged attack in their repertoire, that has a variety of results depending on the character from stunning your foes to knocking them straight down. The characters all gain a set of color palettes for the fun of it too. It’s a small change, but one that is more welcome than it deserves and speaks to how we are all about the aesthetic.
Also, there’s new weapons to find and use – including an awesome sword in Chinatown – and even a whole load of new sound effects for some reason to complete the package. Plus, we could swear that a couple of the musical tracks have altered slightly, but we cannot be sure. What we can be sure of though, is that the new music tracks for the Survival Mode are absolutely incredible. There are honestly so many little changes and additions that have come with this update that it is astounding.
What the developers have achieved here is brilliantly enhancing an already incredible game. With slight changes to the core gameplay, the addition of a new mode, the introduction of new characters, and a host of other refinements, Streets of Rage 4 – Mr. X Nightmare is somehow greater than it was before. We would have been happy with just the characters, so the other goodies brought by the DLC are just like finding a whole roast chicken in a trash can.
TechRaptor reviewed Streets of Rage 4 – Mr. X Nightmare on PlayStation 4 using a copy provided by the publisher. The game is also available on PC, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch.