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access_time July 22, 2021 at 6:00 AM in Reviews by David Poole

Review | Streets of Rage 4: Mr. X Nightmare

When Streets of Rage 4 released last year, fans of the beat ’em up genre rejoiced to a quality blast from the past with a ton of depth and attention to detail. We liked it so much, it even won an Epic Win Award from us last year. Well, not wanting to let the fun stop there, Dotemu, Guard Crush, and Lizardcube have come back to deliver one more helping with some DLC. Streets of Rage 4 gets even better thanks to the new Mr. X Nightmare content, bringing more characters, a new mode, and even deeper mechanics. It’s a no brainer that if you’re a fan of this game, you need this DLC.

The main idea of Mr. X Nightmare is the new survival mode added to the game. Even though it isn’t an additional story, there is plot context to the new mode. After the defeat of the Y twins in the main story, Dr. Zan creates a machine that allows our heroes to step into a combat simulator. Within this simulator, they would be to fight several foes, including the villainous Mr. X himself. In the seemingly endless mode, players would encounter all sorts of enemies while also learning new moves. They’ll also pick up perks after each room, allowing them to spice things up. Want to have poisonous finishers? How about extra jumps? It’s all possible with this new mode!

While the story is extremely minimal, the survival mode does have more than meets the eye. On the surface, it’s a randomly generated challenge to test your skills. In reality, it’s a way to improve your characters, allowing you to unlock new moves for every fighter in the game. With these moves unlocked, you’re able to customize several of their attacks to personalize them to your liking. Even better, these custom moves carry into the other modes as well. All of this while also taking on new enemies in the game with access to a crazy arsenal of items. This includes a swordfish, food items, and even a giant anime inspired sword.

To make things even sweeter, Mr. X Nightmare provides four more characters to select from. The selection includes several of the bosses from the main story, bringing Estel, Shiva, and Max Lightning to the fold. Max and Shiva did have some playable retro versions already, but now we can play as the modern renditions as well. Newcomer Estel also gets her time to shine among the crew. Of course, for those that miss the days of cheat codes, players can also unlock Roo in his Streets of Rage 3 form. With a simple button combination on the mode select screen, this powerful marsupial can also join your roster of bare knuckle brawlers.

These playable characters all offer something unique and different, including various special attacks, combo potential, and more. Shiva for example can’t wield weapons, but he can kick them toward enemies as a powerful projectile. Max brings his trademark wrestling moves to the table, but he also brings the lightning with his thunder. Estel has some great options as well, with some off the ground attacks that make combos a breeze. Finally, Roo delivers quick and powerful punches that make juggling against a wall easy, but he can also summon his handler Bruce as an AI ally.

Players have access to these four characters in not only Survival mode, but also the rest of the modes as well. You can even use them to unlock characters and content if you haven’t already gotten them all. While it’s nice to have them playable in story mode, it would’ve been nice to change things slightly for them. Even an additional stage to give these characters more justice would’ve been nice. At least they have a lot of charm with their voice lines and animations. My personal favorite is Bryan J. Olson’s Hulk Hogan impressions for Max.

To top everything off, Tee Lopes returns to deliver additional music for the game. The Streets of Rage 4 soundtrack was already fantastic, so having more music is always a plus. There’s not much else to consider here outside of the new voice lines. The sound design was already great, giving players a very satisfying audio sensation with each attack. For a game as combo intensive as this one, it might not seem like it, but it’s incredibly important.

Overall, the Mr. X Nightmare DLC is well worth the $8 price of admission. It makes a solid beat ’em up even greater, and seamlessly adds fantastic content to the game. While the story context is minimal, four additional characters and a fun new mode offer a ton of replay value. If the survival mode is too random for you, you can even take on weekly challenges to make it more predictable. With new enemies, items and moves, there’s plenty to love with the new update for Streets of Rage 4. Like we said before, if you’re a fan of the game at all, you need this DLC.

Final Score: 9 out of 10

GotGame is on OpenCritic, check out our reviews here.

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