Streets of Red: Devil's Dare Deluxe
Developers: Secret Base Pte
Release Date: 12/04/2018
Average Price: $8.99
Filesize: Just over 600mb
Review note: I have played through the single player content of the game multiple of times. For multiplayer, I only had 1 good opportunity.
Streets of Red is an enhanced release of 2014's Devil's Dare which was a PC exclusive at the time. Now back on Switch and PS4 with a lower price.
4 playable characters
2 unlockable characters
13 boss battles
18 regular stages
100s of zombies to splatter
A mixture of Black, Grey and Green reminiscent of Game Boy's original graphics along with the colour Red to heavily emphasize the blood. The framerate is an odd one as scrolling updates at roughly 30 frames per second when running but character movement (not animations) is 60 frames. Character sprites all stand out and are pretty recognisable too as you can guess what special abilities they have when fighting against them. The Deluxe version revamped the graphic designs for some bosses that were previously references to movies from the 80s such as the Terminator and Ghost Busters to references based on retro style games including Turtles in Time and Final Fantasy VII
|The original version was based on Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator.|
That was changed to Youtube gaming critic Jim Sterling.
A lot of recent retro style beat-em-ups focused on either 8-bit chiptune or modern music. This one used a 16-bit chiptune which is ideal to Yamaha YM2612 used for Sega 16-bit console. Every level has its own melody and the most memorable track for me is Train Station (Train-2) which starts off with certain notes which sounds very Streets of Rage worthy. Voice recordings are super clear and not crackly compressed, they do sound quite repetitive for playable characters, especially 1 of the 2 unlockable characters who have limited combat options outside of specials.
|If the game's title told you something, expect a lot of video game references.|
Combat is pretty simple but surprisingly deep thanks to Dash cancelling and setting up multiple fatalities which in return rewards the player with free food and more cash.
Fatalities are essential for extra cash which can be used to purchase upgrades, revive from an unexpected death, or getting a super high score.
The initial 4 characters have notable strengths and weaknesses.
Axel looks like the all-rounder judging from his running speed and attack properties, he has the tools for almost everything that he can grab enemies from a distance thanks to his hookshot.
Queenie stands out as her special moves have unique secondary effects ranging from freezing enemies to recovering HP. Her weakness is that she isn't super strong when comparing to
Kingston for both normal attacks and specials.
Players can purchase an upgrade at the end of each round, the available power-ups are random with an enhanced special taking up the first slot and 3 others taking up the rest, perks vary from level to level and even playthrough to playthrough. Some are very good and some are not too bad, an excellent perk, for example, is the Black Flag which has a small chance to instantly kill any non-boss enemy in the game after executing a move which has a knockback property dealing an appropriate 666 points of damage.
Streets of Red has 3 difficulties, the hardest option stands out as it has an extra layer of challenge by adding bets. You bet high to allow more bonus money for each fatality kill against an elite enemy/boss but losing a life means having to pay a lot more money to revive. Elite variant from enemies/sub-bosses have a small chance of happening but when it does happen, they appear much bigger and have more HP than their regular counterparts. Elite variant from bosses is 100% after selecting the max bet. The easiest option (casual) does not allow the player to playthrough the good ending stages because they were Casual gamers and should try harder next time.
One possible gripe I can say about this is that you are dealing roughly 3-4 enemies at once with a rare 6 in some cases. Some say it makes it too easy but if one player had to deal with 10 enemies at once, special attack spamming would be a valid strategy as extra soul point drops (they fill up special bar) from weakened enemies will allow the player to perform even more special moves and can take out the rest without any problem. The player's attack collision is too forgiving that it can hit enemies from behind the player, this does, however, lead to easy setups for multi-fatality kills.
|After clearing a stage, you get a option to select 1 out of the 4 random upgrades.|
Now this is where it gets interesting, the structure encourages multiple playthroughs to experience every single area as early stages can only access 1 area whilst later stages can access all 4 areas. This requires at least 4 nearly completed playthroughs to discover all 16 areas. No 2 playthroughs are the same thanks to the random upgrades the player can get at the end of each level.
|In 2018 standards, beat em ups are usually very short in length compared to big mainstream games but this interesting stage select structure does encourage multiple playthroughs.|
Arcade mode, there is an endless survival mode which consists of killing enemies with a certain perk enabled such as more HP, damage or faster speed. There are 9 different set of enemy waves and it resets after every 9 waves with better average stats. I got up to wave 20 where the short enemies with blades had very powerful stabs dealing 21 damage which was fatal against the agile Jackson who has 55 HP max. I was disappointed that for the Switch version at least didn't have its own leaderboards, heck even an offline leaderboard for that mode would be a neat addition to track best scores from long survival attempts.
Secret Base said that more players = more enemies to kill. I think there weren't as many enemies to fight against in a 2 player playthrough when compared to a 1 player playthrough. Money is shared between both players meaning that we couldn't always pick the most expensive upgrade because we had to save some cash for the good ending chapters. One solution is to cross your fingers and get the pirate upgrade but play well at the same time afterwards due to 50% less HP penalty. Another solution is to add a small multiplier when having more players. Something like x2 cash for 2 players to x4 cash for 4 players. This should fix the money issue when it comes to buying upgrades.
Playing the game solo does give me good opportunities to use a continue which costs money and the price rises after using a continue. This becomes risky in multiplayer because money is shared between 2 to 4 players, the only way for the lesser skilled player to not spend a dime on using a continue and carry on playing is to let the better player complete the stage.
Streets of Red is one of the more accessible and better beat em ups for the Switch so this year, it might be a bit easy for veterans of the genre even when playing the highest difficulty but multiple characters and the stage progression structure increases replay value over many games from the 90s. Just like many other games of the genre, this one is best played in multiplayer where good teamwork requires creative special move combo setups and discussing what upgrades to purchase at the end of each level. For the Switch version, the lack of leaderboards for survival mode makes it hard to track records without pressing the screenshot button.
+ Tutorial stage showing how to execute specials.
+ Tutorial stage showing how to execute specials.
+ Simple but surprising combo depth.
+ Semi-linear level structure
- A bit on the easy side for veterans.
- No online
A review code was provided by Secret Base.