Side-scrolling beat ’em-ups used to be a big deal. As such, early console gamers will remember Streets of Rage fondly. Yet, it has been a while since this genre has grabbed my attention. Accordingly, I didn’t have high hopes when I was given Fight’N Rage to review. This old-school-inspired experience should tick many boxes. However, I’ll reserve judgement until the end of this article.
Developed by Sebagamesdev and Blitworks and published by the latter, this is a side-scrolling beat ’em up. What’s more, it is inspired by Streets of Rage and has a fantastic retro feel. Subsequently, it is overflowing with nostalgia, badass music, and hard-hitting moments. Therefore, it is the perfect game for a trip down memory lane.
Fight’N Rage tells a story of rebellious survival.
The best thing about 90s games was the audacious stories. Additionally, the simple stage design, rudimentary sprites, and garish colours add to the madness. Thankfully, Fight’N Rage has these elements in abundance, and I cherished this fact! With OTT characters, ridiculous fight scenes, and an unbelievably eccentric plot, it was easy to fall for its charms.
The action is set in a futuristic and dangerous world. Humans have been enslaved by mutants and little hope of freedom can be found. Yet, things are about to change as 2 humans and a mutant rebel have had enough. What follows is a sequence of mind-boggling events that are full of fights, cheesy one-liners, and massive bosses. Furthermore, this 90s-inspired title captures the best elements from the era while taking you on an unbelievable but enjoyably nostalgic plot.
What makes Fight’N Rage so great is its simplicity. Effectively, you must choose your fighter, learn the fundamentals, and hope to survive. The developers set you up with the basics while allowing you to experiment along the way. If you are successful, you’ll learn different methods of combat and ways to dodge your opponent’s advances. However, if you are not so lucky, you’ll get your ass handed to you repeatedly, and you’ll die over and over again.
Whatever happens, you are destined to have a great time. Why? Well, this genre is extremely fun, and the action is rewarding. What’s more, it isn’t a walk in the park and this makes it better still. Each stage comprises waves of enemies that must be slaughtered. You can either punch or kick them or use any weapons you find. Alongside this, you’ll find food to increase your health. As each stage concludes, you’ll tackle a gargantuan boss. These assholes need to be taught a lesson, but that’s not always easy. Consequently, you must study their attacks, learn their moves, and overcome any weaknesses.
Choose your hero and pick a path.
With 3 heroes to choose from, picking the right one can be tough. Gal is nimble but lacks reach and this impacts her fighting. F. Norris has a small health bar but serves as an all-rounder. Finally, Ricardo, the mutant is your slow-paced ‘tank’. Each character requires a different approach, and they bring something new to each playthrough. This is particularly important when you play as 3 players in cooperative mode. The team must work together to maximise their chances. Consequently, understanding the best way to tackle each foe will be the only way to succeed.
Alongside this, there are many collectables to find and branching storylines to witness. This was fantastic, as it enhances longevity and can make the gameplay much harder. Furthermore, the right choice isn’t always obvious, and this leads to some classic moral dilemmas and many poor choices.
Fight’N Rage looks amazing.
If you love early console gaming, you’ll adore Fight’N Rage. The garish colours, simple sprites, and rinse-and-repeat backdrops were all phenomenal. On top of this, the ridiculous bosses and combat animation were fantastic to witness. As such, the developers got the 16-Bit visuals spot on, and I can’t fault their eye for detail.
The audio enhances the charm further still. With loud synth music and jarring sound effects, it’s an uncomfortable cacophony of noises. Moreover, the OTT sounds were borderline annoying and headache-inducing. Now, this may sound like a complaint, but it isn’t. Instead, it highlights how accurately the sound effects reflect a much-loved era of gaming history.
Simple controls that were tough to master.
The 3 button inputs should have been simple to master. Yet, with little explanation, and plenty of combos and attacks to learn, there is an awful lot of trial and error. What’s more, your foes follow a set pattern that can be manipulated. As such, you can overcome many of your enemies by studying their movements and pinpointing their weaknesses.
Fight’N Rage oozes both replay value and longevity. However, a lack of online play tarnishes the experience. Yes, I can play locally with 2 others, but I wanted to play online with my friends. Subsequently, I was a little disappointed, but not enough to put me off altogether. This issue to one side, you’ll return repeatedly to witness each finale for each character. This was fantastic, as it padded out the main story while giving you something to work towards.
Fight’N Rage is a wonderful addition to the genre.
I’ll always remember Streets of Rage fondly. However, times move on and the industry changes. Yet, a trip down memory lane is never a bad thing. Luckily, Fight’N Rage does just that, as it ticks plenty of boxes. With fast-paced action and a ridiculous plot, it secretes retro charm from every orifice. Accordingly, I adored it and I recommend that you buy it here! Can you overthrow your mutant overlords? Work together, defeat the monsters, and save mankind.