There is no denying it, Streets of Rage 4 was not only one of the best games of 2020 but also an instant classic to an already beloved classic series (check out my review). Streets of Rage 4 delivered on all aspects from the art design, music, and storytelling, and of course gameplay.
I proudly own a copy of this game for every platform it was released on and completed the campaign multiple times. So when I heard developers Dotemu, Lizardcube, and Guard Crush Games were working on DLC titled “Mr. X Nightmare” I was instantly all in.
Mr. X Nightmare is not your traditional DLC one would expect such as a continuation of the campaign or some new side missions. Instead, we get a cool mixture of goodies wrapped around a challenging new gameplay mode. The DLC includes the following:
- Three new playable characters: Estel Aguirre who debuts as a boss in Streets of Rage 4, as well as series favorites Max Thunder and Shiva, a badass boss who is also Mr. X’s right-hand man.
- Original music from Tee Lopes (Sonic Mania, League of Legends, TMNT: Shredder’s Revenge)
- New weapons and unlockable new moves
- A new Survival mode with stackable buffs, over-the-top weapons & upgrades, and a gauntlet of deadly arenas
Since I’m a lifelong wrestling fan, Max Thunder was always my go-to character in Streets of Rage 2 & 3. To avoid campaign spoilers, I’ll just say it was great to see him return, and I was over the moon to see him return as a playable character thanks to this DLC. Estel Aguirre has a good variety of moves, but Shiva is an absolute beast!. His air combo moves are ridiculous and beautiful to watch.
Shiva also doesn’t pick up weapons, rather he kicks them toward his foes which can lead to some spectacular kills. The new audio tracks are just as smooth as the rest of the tracks in the base game. My only complaint is that the new tracks do not seem to carry over into the campaign missions and appear to be solely linked to the new Survival mode.
At first glance, Survival mode appears to be your traditional horde mode which consists of multiple waves of enemies coming at you. However, once you complete the “warm-up round” you are smacked in the face with utter brutality. Each level is randomly generated with new enemies, weapons, interactive items of destruction packed in new and familiar arenas. One arena could have explosive canisters with riot-shielded cops and once you think it’s done, two Goro’s spawn in to unleash an unforgiving ass whopping.
This can all take place in level 1. I came across a level that had 3 large spiked pendulum balls and as I fought, occasionally one would get hit and swing back dealing massive damage to those behind but also doing the same to me on the return. If that wasn’t enough, a large hole appeared in the center to claim all who have the misfortune of falling in.
Thankfully, this mode isn’t completely unforgiving. You will find plenty of items to replenish your health, but the big game changer comes in the form of level bonuses. Once you complete a level, 2 or 3 options will appear. You are only allowed to choose one. Each comes with its pros and cons which will go into effect during the next level. For example, one might have all your elemental bonuses applied to your star move BUT it will do 50% less damage. Another may add a fire effect to your charge attack, but once that enemy hits the ground, a fire zone is created.
These new gameplay mechanics ensure that every level feels different and requires a bit more strategizing to best utilize your new abilities. And yes these bonuses can be stacked. You only have one life in Survival and upon death, you are given a score along with new unlockable moves, artwork, and other cool items. Every time you play Survival, the character you are using will level up which in turn leads to more unlockables for that character. This is a great motivator to not only play the mode but to keep using the same character to unlock all he or she’s moves. There is also a weekly challenge to keep things interesting. OH! And the best part is Survival can also be played in co-op.
Alongside the release of Mr. X Nightmare is a free update that includes:
- A training mode
- Color palette options
- A New Mania+ difficulty option
- Various balancing and refinement changes
I think it’s obvious that the developers at Dotemu, Lizardcube, and Guard Crush Games have every intention of giving us the ultimate Streets of Rage experience and I have to say that they have surpassed all of my expectations. Mr. X Nightmare is available July 15th for $7.99 on Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and PC.
This review was written based on a digital review copy of Streets of Rage 4 Mr. X Nightmare DLC for the PC provided by Dotemu, Lizardcube, and Guard Crush Games.