Monday 31 August 2015

Trine 3: The Artifacts of Power Review (PC)

It’s no secret that we are big fans of the Trine series at Retro 101. We’ve covered both the original games across numerous formats and rated them very highly. Indeed, there’s just something about them that fills the Lost Vikings sized hole in our lives. Frozenbyte had promised to try something different with Trine 3 and after a period in Early Access it is now here for us to adventure into once more.

As always with the series, Trine 3 looks jaw-dropingly gorgeous. The environments leap into life with colour and flourishes of detail that you just don’t find in many games. If you have the ability to play the game in 3D then things get even more beautiful as well. It’s simply stunning how good this looks and playing anything else afterwards is a real comedown in the visual department.

The big change is that now the game is in 3D. You can run into and out of the screen and the levels now scroll into the play field as well as left and right. This allows for some nice sections with the three heroes floating and swinging along but also brings with it some changes that not everyone will be happy with.

The main issue is that levels feel less focused than in the previous 2D outings. Puzzle solving is less complex and there is more emphasis on general combat and platforming. Using the wizard has become a bit of a pain as well as moving his objects around in the 3D landscape never really feels as natural as it should. There’s also an issue with depth and it can be hard to tell if you are going to land where you think you are. It’s kind of like an N64 platformer with the most beautiful graphics ever.

The characters have now lost the ability to upgrade their skills as well (though they are given selected skills to start). The Knight can stomp, charge, deflect and float with his shield while the thief can now tie her grappling hooks to things to hold them in place. The wizard is more limited with his abilities and now restricted to the summoning of a single box.

The new approach to skills is made use of well though and you will need everything to progress. The fact the heroes start with their skills also allows the game to throw things at you right from the off and get you thinking. It’s good the game does throw you in quickly because it is somewhat shorter than other games in the series. Starting out with a level to introduce each character you then get five main levels to fight through. Upon completion you are faced with a cliff hanger ending which hints at more to come. What form that will take will remain to be seen.

There are a host of shorter levels to unlock as well which focus on an individual character and as such effectively give you one life to complete them. These are tougher and designed to fit skill sets of the respective characters. Though brief they are fun to play and never out stay their welcome.

Both main story and side levels are unlocked by collecting glowing triangles. We don’t really like things like this as it can work as an artificial game lengthening device that forces players to go back to levels and hunt around for the missing twenty or thirty they need to progress. We didn’t have much trouble with getting the requisite amounts but it’s something we’d like to see removed in any future games.

Overall, while there has been a lot of a change in mechanics and progression the game never stops being fun. It’s certainly a more knock-about lose kind of fun than before but it remains humorous and throws up enough adventure to keep you interested until the end. When the 3D works in the games favour you can see exactly what the team were going for and there are some solid foundations here for future forays into it. It may not be up there with the near perfection of the 2D games but for some fairly minor stumbles we also have a bucket load of potential.

Overall 7/10

Friday 28 August 2015

Volume Review (PS4/PC)

We first came across Volume a couple of years ago at the Euro Gamer Expo. It was in a fairly early state and we struggled to get to grips with the mechanics and the general flow of the game. Now the finished game is here and it tells the story of a modern day Robin Hood trying to steal from a corrupt ruling class in a near future England.

The idea of the game is to navigate around enclosed maps in a pseudo-top down perspective and collect loot. Once everything of value has been obtained you need to reach the levels exit. There are of course a host of traps and enemies to avoid along the way and some wonderful gadgets that help you do just that.

The first thing that strikes you about Volume is that it has a wonderfully distinctive look to it. If the Vectrex was a modern day system running Metal Gear Solid VR missions then it would probably look something like this. The clear design keeps the play field uncluttered and allows players to easily identify loot, items and enemies. The only slight issue is that in tight levels it can be difficult to see everything as objects can be hidden a bit behind walls. It’s only a minor point though and for the type of game this is the visuals work just about perfectly.

Diving in you will find that your hero controls very well and the system is easy to pick up and get used to. You’re only really walking around but you can also crouch behind walls and whistle to attract attention. There are some fun gadgets to use as well and not a gun in sight (at least for you). There are gadgets that let you run quickly and silently across trigger traps and various things you can throw at walls to distract enemies while you sneak by. Our favourite is the first one you get which is the bugle. This allows you to fire a sound pellet across a planned path and then activate it at any point to lure guards away.

Each level has somewhat generous check points throughout and while this does reduce frustration it can also mean things are little too easy sometimes. You have unlimited lives and restart at the last point you passed when you get shot. That’s fine in itself but there were a number of times where it was easier to grab loot by running straight through it, dive through a checkpoint, get killed by the pursuing guard and then just start again from the point with everything reset and the loot still obtained. In a couple of levels we even managed to get through the checkpoint as we were dying, only to pop up seconds later with guards now back in place and everything fine. Again, it’s not a major issue but can make escapes feel cheap and often removes the need for the more intricate stealth sections the levels are designed for.

Level design is excellent throughout and players are always being given new things to play with, new enemies to avoid or new ways to think. The feeling of repetition never really kicked in for us and we played the game for quite sustained periods of time each time we picked it up. There’s clearly some intelligent planning going on here and with stealth games like this it is all important to get it right and Volume does.

Sound effects are kept to a minimum but work well with the stealth premise. Anything that makes a noise is crisp and also gives an indication of how far the noise is traveling. The uncluttered soundscape again acts well to help the player in their loot collection. What doesn’t work so well is the voice over with the protagonist talking to his AI companion throughout. Not only does this mask sound feedback at times it also drops a text box on the screen which can be irritating when you are trying to sneak around traps.

The story is not exactly told in a subtle way either and the script could really have done with a few revisions. Unfortunately it comes across as rather overbearing during play and the protagonists voice over never really fits in with the actions being carried out on screen. Instead it seems like someone talking to you in the room while you’re playing (and we all know how annoying that can be).

Overall, Volume is a very enjoyable and well-designed experience. It offers something a bit different in the current market and succeeds at most of the things it has set out to do. We would have liked to see a bit more of a challenge later on, the checkpoints need a bit of a placement rethink and the story can grate but it’s full of ideas, plays well and looks great.

Overall 8/10

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Dungeon Keeper Review (PC)

Deep underground something is rotten and festering and it’s about to rise up and choke all the good out of the land. That something is you and your hordes of underlings as you scratch away at the roots of the world luring in heroes and torturing and murdering them for their trouble. Dungeon Keeper places you in the role of the bad guy and in the process set the ball rolling on games that show you just how good it can be to be bad.

A god game at heart, you have to build your dungeon from scratch to lure in different types of monsters to work for you. You start out with a few imps who will dig tunnels, claim squares and collect gold. It is up to you to direct them to dig out rooms and then fill the rooms with different types of tiles to attract other monsters. You’ll need a treasure room to start to pile your wealth and then a lair for monsters to sleep in. They also need food so a chicken hatchery will be next on your list. After that you can decide what else you need.

Training rooms are used to level up your monsters, Libraries are used for research and workshops construct different things. Each also attracts different monsters such as warlocks and trolls. You can also build rooms like prisons where enemy units can be starved to death in order to have them rise as skeletons or torture chambers to try and attract dark mistresses or try and turn enemy units and heroes to your side. There’s a wide range of monsters to attract and they all serve a purpose. Some will also attack other monsters so it’s important to think about who you want in your dungeon.

The ultimate monster is the Horned Reaper who is a huge, red scythe wielding demon prone to going crazy and killing everyone and everything whether they are friend of foe. They can only be summoned via sacrificing creatures in a temple. If you do get one it’s normally best to keep them out of the way as much as possible until they are needed. 

There are other things at work here as well. Monsters need food and will also require paying. Certain creatures like dragons need to live by lava to grow strong and Bile Demons will eat you out of house and home so you’ll need to balance how many you can cope with at once. It’s a great little eco system to manage and trying to balance everything is always fun and rewarding.

Dungeon Keeper is rich with a dark and twisted humour gleefully narrated by an evil booming voice that tells you what is happening in your dungeon. There are little touches everywhere which keep it tongue in cheek and the right side of psychotic. The stupid town names and descriptions of the locals always raise a smile (who doesn’t want to destroy a town that worships fluffy bunny rabbits?), and things like being able to slap your monsters to make them work harder are also highly amusing.

Most importantly, the mechanics of the game are pretty much perfect. The opening levels give you enough time and space to get to grips with everything while also allowing you to deal with unwanted hero intruders. New features are added gradually and it never becomes overwhelming for the player. The maps are varied as well with hidden treasures to find and different types of opponents to take on. Sometimes you’ll be trying to lure the lord of the land in while other times you may be facing off against rival dungeon keepers. It never stops being fun and you’ll always want to press on to the next stage.

Overall, Dungeon Keeper has never really been bettered. The sequel is good but not quite to this level of perfection and the game has influenced titles like Overlord but the thrill of the original is still something unique. It’s one of the best strategy/God games that has ever been released and remains fun from the very start to the final, screen filling, battle. If you’re into the genre then it’s a must play and the ageing graphics aside, it still plays and feels as good as it always has.

Overall 10/10

Monday 24 August 2015

Discworld Review (PC)

Back in the mid-nineties when point and click adventure games ruled the world there was a never ending supply of quirky games to take on. The Discworld series of books by Terry Pratchet was seen as a rich source from which to draw and develop something in the genre and three PC games were made. It brought a new audience to the books and many gamers who had never read a Discworld novel still played and enjoyed the game.

Players take control of the hapless wizard Rincewind (continually followed around by his walking luggage chest), as he is tasked with getting rid of a troublesome dragon. Voiced by Eric Idle you need to go around picking up objects and then using them to solve puzzles. Very obscure, logic defying, puzzles.

Looking back it’s amazing anyone ever finished the game without a guide as there are some unbelievable leaps of faith in there which could only realistically be solved though using everything you have in your inventory on everything else until something happens. There is at least a small mercy in the fact you can’t die

It’s testament to the games script though that despite the insane difficulty that the game is still incredibly enjoyable. The voice acting and humour keep the game afloat and there are lots of things to see and interact with which cause one liners or animations. The vocal talents of Tony Robinson, Rob Brydon, John Pertwee and Kate Robbins are also on show which keeps the dialogue at the highest quality.

In a strange way, playing with a guide doesn’t really detract too much from the experience. It will certainly lesson the frustration while allowing players to enjoy the beautifully drawn environments and humour on display. The biggest sin the game commits is a succession of tiny objects that players will need to find. The worm in the square, people’s pockets and the golden banana (hidden behind a characters ear and only visible when he turns his head for a split second), are by far the worst offenders and will require pixel by pixel scanning of the screen. How anyone found these things playing on small PC monitors is anyone’s guess. The first act of the game isn’t impossibly difficult but as soon as you get into act 2 you’ll be running for a guide almost straight away.

The other big offender is the world map. Some of the locations are so tiny that you will be very lucky to stumble upon them. The inn on the West side of the map and the Broken Drum pub were things I stumbled upon completely by accident as they inhabit a tiny square in the city. Realising the back alley continued past the elevator stone thing is also not exactly obvious.

When the puzzles aren’t being impossibly obscure they are actually pretty inventive and strong. If you can get your head around the logic they provide some real ‘eureka’ moments that few other point and click games can match. Getting the Dragons breath is a fairly simple but inventive exercise and my personal favourite is stealing the chefs pancake mid-flip so he leaves the kitchen to complain about wizards altering gravity. 

Overall, Discworld is an exceptionally presented game which fans of the books will love. The graphics and voice work is top class and up there with the best in the genre. There are big downsides to the experience though with the impossible logic and difficult to find objects and locations. Don’t let that put you off though as this is a great adventure with tons of humour and things to see. If you find yourself pulling your hair out go to a guide, chances are there’s some tiny thing you’ve missed. It’ll make the whole thing seem so much better and when the game is good there’s nothing else that can match it.

Overall 8/10

Monday 17 August 2015

Rollcage Review (Playstation)

Back in the days of the N64 and Playstation there were a host of racing and car combat games hitting the market. Every week seemed to bring something different as players hunger to race around at break neck speed (and normally shoot at things), seemed to be a gold seam easily mined. The Playstation alone had Twisted Metal, Vigilante 8, Gran Turismo, Wipeout and of course Rollcage among a host of others vying for players attention.

While Wipeout was the cool kid that helped shape the Playstation generation, Rollcage was the niche alternative for the speed heads that wanted something more physical, grittier and that bit more obscure. It still has a licensed soundtrack and all the bells and whistles but, if anything, it requires even more skill and concentration to play well.

Much like Wipeout the game has you racing around a series of futuristic tracks against a host of computer controlled opponents. There aren’t a massive amount of tracks but as Wipeout 2097 proved it’s all about quality rather than quantity (and there’s significantly more than found in that game). They are drawn from a base of four locations with you racing around variations on a neon lit city, tropical island, snow covered mountain and Mars mining colony.

Tracks don’t have the loops you might find in Wipeout but do have lots of walls and tunnels, destructible scenery, speed boosts and jumps. The reason for all the walls and tunnels is of course part of the main draw of Rollcage – that being you can drive on ceiling if you really want to. 

Your car is basically a flat vehicle on four large wheels that can operate either way up. This means you can bounce around the levels like a lunatic and as long as you land facing the right way you will keep going. In practice this is easier said than done as you’ll most likely end up spinning around to such a degree that sea sickness will set it.

Rollcage is not an easy game to play when you first start. Any bump or twist in the road is likely to send your car either barrelling across the track or spinning around in a circle and it will take some time to get used to the handling system. Once you have learned to read the track and keep the vehicle balanced it really does begin to show its strengths. Some consolation comes in the fact that the computer is just as likely to spin out as you are so at least you are all in the same boat.

The real key to lasting appeal of Rollcage is the sense of speed that still remains. These tracks are fast and chaotic and that means you have to concentrate all the time. If that wasn’t enough there are a host of power ups to contend with as well. Ranging from shields to scenery collapsing rockets and teleport beams there is everything you need to keep races competitive. Your car is indestructible (a small mercy), so the only thing to worry about is getting back on track after being blasted into a wall.

The Playstation version has league and time trial modes to play with as well as a two player mode. Sadly though it lacks the Arcade mode of the PC version which means a couple of tracks aren’t actually playable in single player against the computer. A strange choice no doubt brought about by the limited power of the host machine.

Overall, Rollcage may lack the refinement and sleek racing lines of the Wipeout series but it makes up for it in sheer aggression and attitude. This is a rough and ready racing game that requires players to drive well to keep their car on the track let stay in the lead. There’s no doubt it can be frustrating and it certainly doesn’t look as sharp as you probably remember but its fast, brain meltingly fast. It’s also very chaotic in the best way. If you’re into racing games and want to try something unique then getting hold of it should be a priority.

Overall 8/10

Wednesday 12 August 2015

The Swindle Review (PS4/PC)

Another day and another Rogue-like with platform elements appears in an already saturated market. However, The Swindle tries to do things a little different by setting itself up as a heist game. It is certainly an engaging prospect and something not as prevalent as many of the other templates for Rogue-like games. Attach the steam punk setting and it is clearly trying to set itself apart from the crowd as you plan your next move from a big airship in the sky.

The basic premise behind the game is that you have one hundred days to break into the most high security location in the game. Your first heists will be against small and under guarded targets and you gradual work your way up to more secure locations which offers both more reward and more danger. Every time you die, complete a heist or run back to your airship you lose a day. 

The money you accumulate needs to be spent on upgrades for your thieves, airship and to unlock security clearance which allows you to move onto bigger and better locations for looting. There are a wide range of things to improve from abilities like jumping and hacking to adding equipment such as bombs and devices to keep away the cops.

If you are discovered during a heist an alarm will be sounded which alerts all the security measures in the level to your presence. From that point on the best thing to do is try and grab as much easy cash as you can and run back to your airship. If you hang around for too long the police will arrive in a hovering gun ship thing which proceeds to blast through the level until it reaches and kills you. When you die you lose all money found in the level and this is then unrecoverable.

There’s certainly potential here but there are a number of things which stop The Swindle being as enjoyable and compelling as it could be. The main issue is that the controls feel lose and awkward. Jumping and climbing around can be a pain and even after you have upgraded your thief things don’t really improve that much. This isn’t helped by a lack of impact behind actions which gives the player very little feedback with regards to things like successful strikes on opponents and when you have landed on walls or other surfaces.

There’s also a problem with the random nature of the level design. In numerous amounts of our runs we came up against things which were simply impossible to pass which meant we had to head back and lose a day without acquiring any gold at all. While it’s ok to have the ability levelling system, having the main money computer stuck in a level with no corridors leading to it is incredibly annoying. Games like Spelunky also use the random generator but there is always a way to proceed and in a game with a tight time limit such as this the system could use some tweaking as at the minute there are too many occasions where levels are either too repetitive or lack access to their bounty.

The final hurdle is that colour blind gamers are really going to struggle with this. Aside from red and green being used for dangerous/safe colours there are sometimes just too many enemies lurking around on sections of the level to pick out smaller objects like mines clearly. We counted a good twenty five out of a hundred runs where we had absolutely no idea what killed us.

Faults aside there is undoubtedly an interesting game here. When you get involved in a good heist the tension builds as you edge around hoping not to be discovered. Hacking a computer, stealing the funds and then making a mad cap chase back out is also a great feeling and highly rewarding when you’ve had to think on the fly as you go.

Overall, The Swindle is a good idea and an inventive setting let down at times by an awkward control scheme and levels which don’t always seem to populate in a logical or constructive way. It’s good to see new twists being added to the Rogue-like formula and a promising foundation to build upon for future updates or a sequel. At the minute though it provides an interesting distraction but nothing that is likely to keep you interested in the long term.

Overall 6/10

Monday 10 August 2015

Pillars of Eternity Review (PC)

There was a time not so very long ago when the Dungeons and Dragons RPG games where among the key reasons that gamers turned to the PC. Of a stupidly high standard, engaging and massive in size it simply wasn’t possible to get the same experience on a console. Games like Baldur’s Gate and never Winter Nights let gamers into a world rich in lore and adventure and as such most have a huge following even now. We’ve had a few enhanced editions of older games but Pillars of Eternity is the first new game in the genre to come out in a while.

Pillars of Eternity is certainly a spiritual successor to the best in the genre and anyone familiar with the style of those games will know what to expect here. You view the game from a sort of isometric/top down view and click around rather lovely looking enclosed maps to move your adventurers around. The presentation is very close to other games of this type in terms of display with the only real changes being to stream line the system so that things like spells and weapons are easier to sort out and use.

Of course, this isn’t a game in the Dungeons and Dragons universe so there is a fair amount of things to get used to. There are unfamiliar races and classes and we spent quite a long time having to read through the descriptions of things before finally settling on which type of character to build. To start with we did feel a bit lost but then that has to expected when a game of this size basically builds a new set races, classes and the general lore of the land. 

Luckily, the combat works much the same as before and if you’ve played any other Obsidian games then you’ll know what to expect. Its turn based with time freezing when you first encounter enemies so that you can set up your initial strikes. Each character has any special commands, spells or alternative equipment displayed above their portrait on the main screen and getting them to do something requires a mouse click and then another click where you want them to execute it. If everything is getting too hectic you can also pause the combat by pressing the space button. When your character performs an action you then have to wait for a bar to run down before they will then perform the next. 

The visual design of the game is strong and helps to draw you into the world. New areas cry out to be explored fully and there are lots of hidden treasures to be found so it keeps things interesting. There are also suitably epic and brooding musical scores to accompany the visuals which set the scene excellently. The addition of some colour blind options is also a very welcome sight as the initial set up of friend and foe is that of red and green. Clicking the colour blind options changes friendly targets to blue which will at least help some people. Changing the shapes around friend and foe would have made things evens clearer but it is a least a solid first step to accessibility.

The story itself is suitably epic (and slightly familiar) as well. We’ve certainly scene a main character in these types of games before who suffers from strange visions. That said the games plot is so dense and there is so much else to see and do along the way that something somewhere was always likely to seem a little familiar. Indeed, sub quests will fill up your journal like no tomorrow and there’s also a stronghold and crafting to get involved with.

We won’t even pretend to say that we have managed to complete everything the game has to offer but what we can say with confidence is that it has kept us interested for hours on end and it is highly likely that we will. In a game of this size that is the real trick as there has got to be about fifty hours of game in here at a conservative estimate and when to take into account trying out different classes you are going to be reaching into the hundreds. 

Overall, Pillars of Eternity is a triumphant return to the genre. It’s filled with moments of wonder and sends you on an adventure more epic than pretty much anything else we’ve seen over the last ten years. There’s so much detail in the world that you can’t help to be drawn in and there’s some much flexibility in how to play that it really allows you to try and adventure in the way you want to. The writing and voice acting is also excellent. If you’ve been looking for a truly epic adventure then this is the game for you.

Overall 9/10

Wednesday 5 August 2015

N++ Review (PS4)

Ever since N++ was announced we’ve been eagerly anticipating returning to the inertia based platforming. The memories of hand cramps and worn out fingers are still fresh in the mind from the Xbox 360 version of N+ and a chance to head back into such a pure piece of skill based gaming is something this generation of consoles really needed.

N++ is the final game (or version of the game depending how you look at it), in the N series and comes packed with a ridiculous amount of content. You get pretty much all the levels from N and N+ and a whole host of new levels of well. In all there are a couple of thousand levels to test yourself against. If that isn’t enough there are also race and co-op levels to try out (though you can't do this online anymore). If that still isn’t enough there’s also a level editor to make and share levels online and there will be incoming DLC as well. 

As well as levels there are a host of graphical options and music tracks to unlock as well. It’s hard to think how exactly any more could have been squeezed in here. The levels can be tackled with up to three friends as well in local co-op. It’s certainly good to have lots of different things to play around with as you’ll certainly be dying a lot. Luckily, restarts are pretty much instantaneous now so you can set off to make exactly the same mistake again in a matter of seconds.

Presentation in N has always been minimalist and it remains the same here with a simple selection of colours for each scheme and clearly defined level design. It means everything is focused on getting your little ninja to zoom around the levels at break neck speed and we wouldn’t have it any other way. We really liked the retro graphic scheme (not a massive surprise perhaps?), which makes the game look Vectrex-esque with lots of neon outlines. 

The goal of each level is to hit a switch that opens the exit door and then make your way to it. A timer bar continually ticks down throughout the set of levels you have picked and it can be topped up by picking up little gold squares. Hit the switch, grab the squares and avoid the mines and obstacles and then move on. That is essentially it, a simple concept but one that never gets old.

With the new levels come some new enemies to get your head around. The missile and gun turrets return along with all your most loathed contraptions from before but now you also have to deal with a host of new death machines such as the evil ninjas that follow your exact movement trail. Of course if they catch you it’s all over but then everything kills you in this game. Everything.

The gameplay itself is based around an inertia system. As your ninja runs, jumps and falls they pick up speed which can then be used to launch off surfaces or up the side of walls. Hit the ground from too high and you die, but hit the ground on a downward slope and your ninja will just keep running ready for the next set of acrobatics. It’s a simple system that works perfectly and you can only wonder how long it took to balance out in testing. Most importantly it makes you feel like a badass super ninja and when you get the flow of a level there a few better feelings. Luckily, the game allows you to watch replays of both your and everyone else’s best runs to show off and also see how to shave seconds off your time.

Overall, N++ is an outstanding game. The fact it contain the content from N+ as well is a massive bonus as some of those levels are simply amazing. It’s just so full of excellent content and imaginative ideas that platform fans have to check it out. It’ll also last you forever and even if you do get through everything then you can start designing your own levels. It’s the definitive version of one of the best indie games ever. Buy it, love it and get killed thousands of times in it.

Overall 9/10

Monday 3 August 2015

3D Streets of Rage 2 Review (3DS)

The Sega 3D classics range has offered us up some excellent revisions of games from the companies golden era. So far the games that run ‘into’ the screen such as Outrun and Space Harrier have come out on top but there’s no denying that Streets of Rage 2 is a genre and generation highlight so even if the 3D effect didn’t add much then we were more than happy to dive into this.

Streets of Rage 2 is a classic scrolling beat’em up in the vein of Double Dragon or Final Fight. You can pick from four characters who differ in terms of speed, power, jumping ability and throws and then take on eight stages where colourful goons with silly names line up to be knocked out. It is a defining game for the 16 bit era and on the Mega Drive this is the pinnacle of the genre. It’s only real rival of the time was Final Fight but as the SNES version of the game lacked a character and the 2 player mode this is really as good as it gets on the home consoles of this time.

You get a fairly decent amount of moves to use with a punch/kick combination, several throws a super move (which depletes some energy), and the odd hidden special attack. Lack of moves is what always leads to the feeling of repetition in games of this kind but there is enough variety in enemy type and location to ward off the feeling longer than in pretty much any other game of the time. The level design is particularly imaginative in places and certainly raises the game up a level past the Rival Turfs of this world.

In terms of what has been added someone has clearly tried to make this as definitive as it can be. You can play around with a host of different options such changing the lives and difficulty of the game. There are also options to change the version of the game from the International one to the Japanese ‘Bare Knuckle’ version, a casual mode and the ability to change the screen to mimic an old arcade machine. You can even change how the sound is emulated if you prefer the Mega Drive 2 to the Mega Drive 1.

Upon completion of the game you get a few new modes to play with as well. One lets you kill everything in one punch while the more interesting unlockable is a mode that gives you one life with each of the four characters to try and get through the game with. 

It’s bursting at the seams with content and the 3D effect actually works as well (and you even get to choose if you want the effect to pop in or pop out). A big criticism of these types of game is that you can’t tell which level enemies are moving on. If you turn on the 3D effect this is no longer a problem and makes the game much fairer as you aren’t hitting air shots.

Overall, this is the best possible revision of Streets of Rage 2 we can imagine. There’s so much to play around with that fans of the original game will love it. There’s a lot of fun for newcomers as well with the only real criticism being that characters can be a little slow when walking around. It’s the definitive version of a generational classic and you’d be mad not to give it a look.

Overall 9/10