Anyone here that remembers Lethal Enforcers raise your hand? Ok, we have a few. Ok, how about Pit-Fighter? Ok, less hands, but still a few. How many think that these graphics today is a good idea? What, no hands? I will have to respectfully disagree with you…
Streets of Fury is an Xbox 360 Indie Game that was released last week on the Xbox 360 and is a Dream Build Play finalist. For those that don’t know, each year Microsoft holds a competition to see who can make the best Indie game and the winner gets $50k plus more exposure for their game. Last year was the wonderful CarneyVale (review coming soon). The makers of Streets of Fury wanted to use the same “digitzed actor” graphics style from the likes of Pit-Fighter, Motal Kombat, etc from the 90s and make a 4 player Beat’Em Up. Unlike the brawlers of yesteryear though, there is quite a bit to do and unlock. To also be like the games of the 90s it has a ridiculous story involving Paris falling and street gangs taking over. The only way to stop them is to of course go out there and beat the crap out of all of them.
There are two main scenarios for the main mode of the game. I wouldn’t say story mode, because no real story is ever given other than that quick intro. Each scenario plays out somewhat differently with multiple levels leading to a boss gang member, and then moving onto the next set of levels for the next boss. In the first scenario you are eliminating them, but in the 2nd scenario you get them to join you so you have some AI teammates helping until you have a gang of your end to fight with throughout the game. You start with the ability to do Easy, Medium, and Hard with the choice of 4 different characters with different stats and moves. As you complete the different scenarios on the various difficulty levels you earn achievements (in game, not part of your GamerScore) that add more of a percentage to your “Security Level.” As you increase your security level you unlock more characters (5 more) and more difficulty levels (Very Hard and Insane). There is also the option to do a Custom scenario where you can modify the number of credits, the number of enemies lives, their “Agressivity” as they call it, the enemy count, the amount of fury you have (that’s your special meter), friendly fire, the player speed, and the gravity. Enemy count, fury, speed, gravity, and friendly fire all require a certain security level to unlock. As you can tell, you will be playing this game quite a bit to unlock everything, and it could take some time. Each scenario took me about an hour or so to do by myself. When I did Scenario B 2 player co-op it didn’t seem to go any faster.
On top of the main scenarios there is also a survival challenge as well as a multiplayer versus match. Survival challenge is the typical survival mode where you take on wave after wave of progressively harder enemies, trying to beat your hi score. The versus mode is just 2-4 players battling each other until one is left standing. You can setup teams, or do free-for-all.
Now that you know that you’d be sinking a lot of time into this game to unlock it all, you probably want to know if it’s worth it, huh? I mean, if the gameplay sucks, why bother unlocking everything, right? Well, you can relax, the game is fun. You move using the analog stick or the d-pad left and right on a 2D plane, but you can also dash into the background and foreground like in Guardian Heroes. The face buttons control jump, punch, kick, and “strong attack.” Every character has their own set of moves and combos, and you can change what move you are doing by what direction you are pressing as well. Fill up the fury meter and you hold both triggers and activate one of three different special move by pressing punch, kick, or strong attack. There are quite a lot of combos you can learn for each character and the game even includes videos of many of them (again, more videos can be unlocked). What makes all the combos work so well in this game is the fact that if you see an attack connect, it will, unlike a lot of the games that came out during the time they are honoring. This will lead to many juggles, especially if you are playing multiplayer. It plays like most other brawlers, but the combo system keeps the combat from feeling too repetitive, and playing as other characters with other moves helps as well.
Although the digitized actor look is used, there are quite a few animations that are surprisingly smooth in this game. The most noticeable are the taunts, but there are others as well, although some animations like walking as just as choppy as the old games. Another problem with the game is that there are really only a handful of actors used, so you will see the same people over and over again with only the size and color being changed. I understand that in other brawlers you will run into enemies that all look the same, but it only seems more noticeable in this game because the bosses are the same as the people you are playing as sometimes, or the same as regular thugs you fought earlier in a level. Backgrounds are recycled a lot too, so expect to get a good sense of déjà vu when playing as you’ll be fighting the same looking guys in the same looking levels quite a bit, even within the same scenario.
In the end though, it’s paying tribute to brawlers of days gone by, and it does a really good job of doing so, and at 240 MS points ($3) it’s not like they are asking for a lot of your money to give you little in return. Although repetitive, there’s a lot of fun that can be had, especially 4 player if you have like minded friends, and you can work towards unlocking quite a bit. A lot of bang for your buck.
4/5 Stars – try the trial, some may not be able to get passed the intentional cheese factor, but a lot of fun can be had multiplayer for only $3. Click here to see Xbox.com page for it and add to your download queue.