We’ve been waiting nearly a quarter century for Streets of Rage 4

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If you’re old enough to remember the Streets of Rage series, odds are you’re… pretty old. Over 30 still counts as old these days, right? Well, if you do have memories of this side-scrolling beat-em-up series then you probably remember the Sega Megadrive (or Genesis, depending on where you sourced your gaming hardware) and blowing on cartridges to ‘make them work’. Would you have guessed that we’d see Streets of Rage 4 being announced in 2018?

The last game in the series, Streets of Rage 3, launched on the Megadrive back in 1994, the same year that South Africa held its first properly democratic elections. That’s a 24-year gap between games, and it’s liable to become a full quarter-century when the game eventually releases — there’s no release date yet but if it lands after April 2019 it’ll cross the 25-year mark.

Streets of Rage 4 is being published by a French company called Dotemu, who have a bit of a track record updating older games. They’re working in collaboration with developers Lizardcube and Guard Crush Games to put together this brawler sequel which looks… actually, it looks pretty good.

Players are going to be able to play as either Axel Stone or Blaze Fielding — the only two playable characters based on the main artwork — and the developers have promised “…new mechanics, a fresh story and a gauntlet of dangerous stages with a serious crime problem” to go along with the new hand-drawn animation style. Which is about what we’d expect from a new Streets of Rage, though we’re in the dark about what the new mechanics are. An update to gameplay would be welcome, especially after all this time, but too much deviation is going to annoy the older folks — you know, the people who have actually played the game before. It’s going to be a fine line to walk. We look forward to seeing if they manage it.

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