Released last year, Streets of Rage 4 was already a phenomenal game, reviving SEGA’s much-loved series to the delight of fans. And now, thanks to a piece of DLC called Mr. X Nightmare, it’s even better.
Among Mr. X Nightmare‘s additional content are three additional playable characters: Estel, Max and Shiva. Those who have played through Streets of Rage 4, or earlier games in the series, will probably be familiar with a least one or two of them. And chances are they might quickly become some players’ new favourites.
Max is your typical move-slow-but-hit-hard type of guy. A wrestler, you’ll find him body slamming and suplexing enemies, doing great damage to them in the process. Estel, on the other hand, is a tough law enforcement officer. While she’s rather handy in close combat, she’s not afraid to make use of tools such as grenades to combat her enemies, as well as call for backup. And then there’s Shiva, a martial arts expert who’s fast on his feet. He refuses to pick up weapons but don’t let that worry you; his violent and deadly attacks make him one of the strongest characters in the game.
You can use all of the new characters in Streets of Rage 4‘s various modes, and you probably will as they’re great fun. They each feature their own unique movesets, complete with snazzy specials that make creating combos challenging but enjoyable. Mr X Nightmare introduces a new mode to Streets of Rage 4, too, Survival, and it’s here that fans are now going to spend a great deal of their time.
Streets of Rage 4‘s new Survival mode is essentially a roguelike. After selecting your character, you enter a simulation and fight against waves of Mr. X’s minions. After each wave a selection of perks become available to you, such as increasing the damage you inflict once your HP drops below 50%, or imbuing your special moves with the power of fire. You get to choose just one of them before entering a portal to progress onto the next wave. The question is, just how far can you get with only one life? Die, and you have to start back at the beginning again.
The randomised nature of Survival mode means it’s fun to return to time and time again, especially as it features new environments, enemies and music. The perks add an interesting twist to the gameplay, too – forget being able to double jump; how about a triple jump? Thrown in a special Survival challenge with set levels, etc. that will change on a weekly basis, and you have a mode that should have long-lasting appeal. And there’s another good reason to invest time into Survival mode: new moves for all characters found in the game.
As you play through Survival mode with a character you’ll earn additional moves with which you can then customise them. Those familiar with Axel, for example, will find that they can replace his Grand Upper with a rolling manoeuvre if they wish, or change his defensive special into what is essentially a Shoryuken. Any moves you unlock aren’t just made available in Survival mode, either. Once unlocked, you can use them in all of Streets of Rage 4‘s modes, breathing additional life into them.
Considering the Mr. X Nightmare DLC costs just £6.49/$7.99 or less depending on your platform of preference, it offers phenomenal value for money. Some players will put tens of hours into Survival mode, for sure, and then also play through Streets of Rage 4‘s Story or Arcade modes yet again with their new and/or customised characters. Though the truth is, you don’t even need to buy the Mr. X Nightmare to DLC to benefit from it; an update has been released alongside it bringing new content and gameplay tweaks to Streets of Rage 4 for free.
Jump into a standard copy of Streets of Rage 4 with the latest update applied and you’ll now find that there are colour options when selecting your character, for example, and there’s also a new difficulty level, Mania+, which will please those looking for an extreme challenge. The latest update has introduced balance changes based on community feedback, too, as well as a training mode allowing you to go toe-to-toe with enemies of your choice. And there are even tutorials, helping you master all of the playable characters.
Needless to say, there’s never been a better time to play Streets of Rage 4 if you haven’t already done so, or return to it. While the free goodies are undoubtedly welcome, it’s the extra characters, Survival mode and moves offered by Mr. X Nightmare that really breathe new life into this magnificent side-scrolling beat ’em up. With the DLC installed, Streets of Rage 4 becomes one of the best gaming experiences you can have right now. It’s utterly essential. Now we’re just hoping that Dotemu, Lizardcube and Guard Crush get to work together again on Streets of Rage 5.
Streets of Rage 4: Mr. X Nightmare DLC review: GameSpew’s Score