(EGD) A Tale Of Cute, Bobbled-headed Musclemen, Extraordinary Violence And My Own Broken Heart

Review by beast4321 on Saturday, August 15th 2020
Click to play Streets of Rage

Streets of Rage is a game created by pieman224

Good morning, and welcome to another of these key-hammering word regurgitations I laughing call reviews. It's beast, here to polish the review badge and fire the first shot in the war against unreviewed EGD games (they'll win. They always do...) for those who don't know, it's Epic Game Drop, where members spend several months of excruciatingly agonising work creating something beautiful, entering it into the competition, then praying that some critically minded member or reviewer doesn't surgically dissect the countless hours of hard work and reveal all the nasty little flaws beneath the veneer.

Pieman224's prayers have not been answered. I've not heard of him; my first contact of his was his hype thread on the forums. I've never played the original streets of rage, based on an old Sega arcade. As I understand it, it's a retro, punch-em up. So our dearest creator set himself the unenviable task of creating it in Sploder form. Pretty cool, and the original looks good fun.

This is Pieman's first mistake. Fun. As I understand it, the original game is about running about punching stuff. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's not about hammering the w and up key for a few seconds each level. It's not about struggling to move because for whatever reason the arrow keys aren't working. It's not about a tragically half-hearted boss fight where the character is momentarily rendered bullet proof (a miracle?!?!) so opposed to an exciting, final showdown, I was left with a rather empty feeling, like that that occurs when I realise I've just wasted two minutes of my life.

There was very little to gameplay. Members on the forums voiced fears on inferior gameplay; somehow, their fears are worse than I'd imagined. It was an experience worryingly reminiscent of the no gameplay, "Perry the Platypus goes to mcdonalds" that used to flood this site, back before people lost the will to even do that. Every level, a line of muscle men run at you, you hit the w key and the die. That's it. In the original game, did every time a thug was punched did he explode to the delightful sound of a point being scored? No? The realists and retro gamers amongst you will be disappointed. A few levels in introduced enemies coming from two directions; that was a challenge, but more because my arrow keys rebelled, presumably at the bequest of the creator. Even so, it was still disappointingly easy, which rather speaks volumes. I had other issues with controls. Having played the game, I'm not even entirely convinced there was any difference between right and left punch. I can't help but feel that it might've been better if each muscle men could survive a few blows, then you could really have a fist fight; throw in an option to block and the game would've became a matter of careful timing and well placed blows as opposed to... this. Still, the physics creator is pretty limited, so I won't judge too harshly on that, even so, it isn't looking good. Neither did the highly anticipated boss fight redeem it; the beautifully rendered Mr X moved up and down for a few seconds, firing, and it was stupidly easy to dodge. Even if it wasn't, for some reason, half the time the bullets bounced off me without a penalty. One cannot help but wonder if, in the original game, this was the adrenalin pumping, pride-inducing boss fight. I suspect it probably wasn't.

Now, I have a degree of sympathy for Pieman. EGD came up faster than I was expecting, and I understand running out of time. Compound this with the mess of the physics creator, juggling pass-through and sensor layers and you have an absolute nightmare, especially trying to beat the clock. It would be hypocritical of me not to understand. Even so, this wasn't the cathartic, keyboard-mashing challenge I was hoping for, but was privately sceptical I'd see.

Scenery was nice. Nice in a complete irrelevant way; after all, if the gameplays rubbish you may as not play it, no one plays a game for scenery (COUGH). I might even go so far as to say scenery was astonishing; in the foreground, graffitied walls, broken windows, a ocean where the tide actually came in (my personal favourite), all rendered in muted, retro colours and three-dimensional perspective. Complete with so many tiny details that I would need to play it a dozen times to spot them all; shadows, bins, tennis nets, etc. In the background, distant lights of city blocks and night sky, gradually growing darker as the night wore on. The sheer effort the creator went into to make the game look good is dazzling. The characters and enemies looked incredible, and these were graphics that I believe the creator himself made. A special shout out to the Mr X graphic, which genuinely looks like he's reclined straight out of the original game. The work paid off, everything looked perfect. There was some controversy on the forums about the default heads; I liked them, and I also liked the changes in scenery between graphics and the physics creator presets. It genuinely did look like an eighties retro game with a slight Sploder twist; the health bar at the top, the graphics, the characters, all melded together to create the feel that I really was back in a world where pixelated arcades where the only place to go to escape the misery of reality. But, as I say, it's largely irrelevant. Because the gameplay's splode.

Asides from that, there's little to say. Nice music. The intro is pretty cool. Placement was largely irrelevant. No puzzles or traps to speak of, or difficulty.


Gameplay; -/-----

Controls; --/-----

Scenery; -----/-----

Overall; -.5/-----

I really wanted this to be good.

Apologises if this came off as harsh, especially for the last EGD. If its any consolation, it really did look incredible. My recommendation is that if the reader wishes to visit an art gallery but can't because of covid, play this game instead. The scenery was truly immersive, and I moved to each level eager to see what visual witchery Pieman would conjure up next. And he should be very proud of the visuals. They're, like, Jumpie level. Srsly. Just don't play this expecting a game.