Title: Streets of Rage 4: Mr. Nightmare
Release Date: July 15, 2021
Reviewed On: PC
Genre: beat em up
Last year publisher Dotemu and developers Lizardcube and Guard Crush Games released one of the best beat ‘em up experiences I’ve had in years with Streets of Rage 4. Now the team is releasing Streets of Rage 4: Mr. X Nightmare DLC containing three new playable characters, additional wacky weapons, and a survival game mode. The result is a surprisingly addicting experience that rivaled my original playtime with the base game.
Mr. X Nightmare’s new playable characters are bosses previously encountered in Streets of Rage 4’s story mode. Shiva, the martial artist originally from Streets of Rage 2, is incredibly fast but lacks power and the ability to hold onto weapons. Max Thunder, the pro wrestler from the same game, is slower but more powerful. And Estel Aguirre is the no-nonsense cop who makes up the most well-rounded character of the three.
Each is incredibly fun to play as, but because they are so diverse, it becomes indicative of your play style, depending on which character you excel with. For example, as speedy as Shiva is, I immediately realized how much I rely on weapons during battle, making him a considerably challenging character. This may require you to vastly alter your approach, but that’s to the DLC’s benefit and adds a bit of depth to the gameplay.
Hands down, the shining moment of Mr. X Nightmare is the new survival mode. While the base game did have a boss rush, it was nowhere near as complex as survival. Instead, players must make their way through a gauntlet of increasing difficulty with a single life bar. Fortunately, as you progress, you are given the option of an upgrade to your character.
These upgrades range from stat boosts, elemental effects on your weapons, super damaging golden items to some high risk/high rewards. Upgrades like dealing and receiving 100% more damage definitely give survival mode equal elements of gambling and strategy. Thankfully all these upgrades stack on top of each other with each level, meaning you can get specific about your upgrades and how you want to use them in combination.
Each run of survival mode is randomly generated, giving it a heavy rogue-like feel. While you may see some similar levels and backgrounds in a run, you unlock additional villains the more you play. These villains are a mixture of color-swapped versions of Streets of Rage 4 enemies to 16-bit fighters found throughout the previous three games.
When you earn enough experience with a character, you can also unlock alternate dash and special moves. These moves can even be carried over into story and battle mode. In addition, each character has its own set of special moves to unlock, giving players a ton of reasons to keep playing.
In addition to the randomly generated survival mode, a weekly available survival trial maintains consistent levels and villains each time. For those players that wish to work with a more familiar setting, it’s nice to have this option.
Both versions of survival mode manage to make Streets of Rage 4 even more engaging. And the randomly generated levels really help make the game feel fresh in a genre that is sometimes infamous for being repetitive. So even though I couldn’t tell you if there was a definite end to these survival trials, I had no problem diving back to see if I could get any further than I previously did.
The new weapons and music added are great as well. Remixes of tracks even touch on altered versions of Streets of Rage Game Gear songs. All tunes fit in perfectly and sound amazing. Zany weapons like the duck umbrella and the poisonous pufferfish are entertaining additions and add a bit of variation.
Streets of Rage 4: Mr. X Nightmare DLC exceeded my expectations, adding to an already fantastic game. The new characters and weapons deliver a unique experience, and the survival mode can keep you playing for hours. On top of that, the price is exceptionally reasonable for what you get. If you are a fan of beat ’em ups, this is one DLC that shouldn’t be passed up.
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