There was a time when the side-scrolling brawler was king of video games. Yet we haven’t seen this type of genre return in recent years. This is very bizarre, especially since there is an audience who is yearning for the return of all types of retro genres. Well, there is good news for fans of games like Streets of Rage and Final Fight. Raging Justice brings the side-scrolling brawler back from the dead and unleashes it on current gen consoles.
I specifically mentioned Final Fight and Streets of Rage because they have clearly influenced Raging Justice. The mayor is in trouble. The streets have been taken over by wild gangs. It’s up to you and your friends to clean up the streets and bring justice to the city. Does that plot sound familiar? It should if you grew up with Streets of Rage and Final Fight. But the more you think about it, the more you realize that the plot was not the reason why you play these games. It’s the non-stop action!
Raging Justice has some typical gameplay elements that you have seen from brawlers of old. Each level has small, medium, and boss tier enemies that you must punch, kick, and throw/slam. On PC, you can use the keyboard, although I would recommend using a controller. With a controller, there are plenty of ways to map the buttons and turn it into an ideal gaming situation. The three playable players have a few variations in their move set, but not as much as I would like. Their super moves look a little too similar for my taste.
Side-scrolling brawlers usually have a few weapons that you can use. Raging Justice ups the ante by providing a ton of weapons for you to pick up and use. Enemies frequently bring weapons, so you can pick up new ones when a previous weapon breaks. Some weapons will deal an excessive amount of damage and wipe out low-end enemies very quickly. These weapons include the bat, sword, ax, and hammer. When you use them, the enemy will be sent crashing into the background. Other weapons can be used for melee or throwing purposes. Raging Justice also adds some rideable weapons. These are very fun to use and are extremely helpful in most situations.
An interesting twist in Raging Justice is the ability to arrest enemies. When stunned, you can arrest them instead of killing them. The arrest mechanic is vital in later parts of the game because every successful arrest will grant you extra health. However, you need to be mindful of the enemies around you who will disrupt the arrest. Every successful arrest or kill will grant you points and help you rise up the global leaderboards.
The gameplay works very well, especially if you play co-op. In a way, co-op is the least frustrating way to play. On single player, the enemy count gets very high and will overwhelm you quite often. I found myself using my super move a lot to clear out enemies and give me breathing room. Of course, the super move takes health away when you use it, leaving me more vulnerable than before. I still found some enjoyment in single player but had way more fun playing with a friend.
Don’t expect retro graphics with Raging Justice. Even though it is a retro style game, Raging Justice has HD 3D renders and looks nice. The soundtrack is heavy on adrenaline pumping tunes and the sound effects are appropriate for the genre. Each of the main characters has a distinct look. I wish the same could be said for the low and medium tier enemies. The same character models are used throughout with some variations in shirt color.
Raging Justice is a blast from the past. It’s very entertaining and fun to play with friends. It only takes about an hour or two to beat, depending on the difficulty level. It even has a mode where you try to beat as many waves of enemies as you can and get the most points possible. The number of enemies to conquer in single player can be overwhelming and frustrating. But if you are a fan of the genre, then I definitely think you should try it out.
Raging Justice is $14.99 and available now on Playstation 4, Xbox One, PC, and Nintendo Switch.
Note: GameOctane Editor Ryan Welch received a digital code from the publisher for the purpose of reviewing this game. Any code or product intended for reviews is distributed to the team to review and stream for our audience.
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Tons of action
Great use of arrest mechanic
Plenty of weapons to choose from
Fun with a friend
Very overwhelming and frustrating in single player
Similar move sets between the three main characters