Streets of Rage 4 sees the return of a legendary SEGA series, and it's available now on PlayStation 4. It's been so long since the last game that old fans might be a little rusty, while there are also lots of potential newcomers to the franchise. With that in mind, we thought it would be useful to put together a quick guide going over the basics.
If you're new to Streets of Rage, or just want to reacquaint yourself with the fundamentals, the below should give you a good first step into Wood Oak City.
Streets of Rage 4 - Basic information and how to get started
Firstly, let's look at the very basics of how to play Streets of Rage 4.
In Streets of Rage 4, there are two control schemes to choose from. By default, you'll be using the modern controls, but there's an option in the Input Setup menu to switch to another layout that replicates the old controls from the earlier games. Let's go through them both in the below table.
It's worth noting you can also customise the controls to your liking by remapping the buttons in the Input Setup menu.
|Action||Modern Controls (Default)||Retro Controls (Legacy mode)|
|Move||Left stick / D-pad||Left stick / D-pad|
|Throw weapon||Circle||X + Square|
|Back attack||R2 / Left stick back + Square / X + Square||X + Square|
|Star move||Circle + Triangle / R1||Square + Triangle|
Pick-ups and weapons
In Streets of Rage 4, there are various pick-ups and weapons to find. Most of the time, you'll find them hidden inside destructible objects like oil barrels or phone boxes. Use Circle to pick things up.
Apple*: The apple pick-up gives you back a small amount of health.
Chicken*: A roast chicken refills your health bar completely.
*These pick-ups can be swapped out for other foods, if you prefer. Go to Options > Food. The apple can be replaced with an onigiri, croissant, onion rings, pizza, or tofu. The chicken can be replaced with a bowl of ramen, ham, loaded fries, cheeseburger, or salad.
Star: A golden star gives you an extra Star move. These moves are powerful attacks that deal lots of damage to all enemies onscreen.
Weapons: There are various weapons to pick up and use, and most of them operate in the same way. Square to attack, or circle to throw. Here are just a few of them:
- Baseball bat
- Glass bottle
Money: You can also find cash lying around, and these items simply equate to more points. Briefcases of cash and money sacks exist purely to boost your score.
There are five core characters to choose from in Streets of Rage 4. Let's go through them all below.
The de facto Streets of Rage character. A well-rounded fighter with a slight emphasis on power over manoeuvrability.
Power: 4 Technique: 3 Speed: 3 Jump: 2 Stamina: 3
Another staple character, Blaze is less powerful than Axel but makes up for it with better technique and jumping stats.
Power: 3 Technique: 4 Speed: 3 Jump: 3 Stamina: 2
Cherry is a brand new character. She's the weakest of the main cast, but is easily the fastest (and the only character capable of running).
Power: 1 Technique: 3 Speed: 5 Jump: 4 Stamina: 2
The second brand new fighter, Floyd is the strongest character in the game but is lacking in speed and jump height.
Power: 5 Technique: 4 Speed: 1 Jump: 1 Stamina: 3
Adam hasn't been playable since the very first game, but makes a return in SOR4. Like Axel, he's a good all-rounder with decent power and technique.
Power: 4 Technique: 4 Speed: 2 Jump: 3 Stamina: 3
Retro Characters: There are 12 unlockable retro characters in the game, bringing back most of the characters from the old games.
- Dr. Zan-SOR3
Streets of Rage 4 - General hints and tips
Here's everything you need to know to get good at Streets of Rage 4.
The bread and butter of Streets of Rage is its combat. There's not a whole lot of strategy to fighting in games like this, but there are a few things you should learn from the offset.
- Whichever character you choose, hitting Square multiple times gives you your basic combo. This is your go-to for most scenarios. However, this is not the end of your options.
- You can hold Square down for a strong attack. You'll know you're charged up when your character flashes yellow.
- A back attack allows you to attack someone coming in from behind. You can do this by pressing back on the left stick/D-pad and Square simultaneously, but we found it easier to just press R2.
- A blitz move is a strong attack combined with a dash forward. These are very different for each character, but are all useful for rushing enemies who are keeping their distance.
- After a jump, you can press Square to attack in mid-air. You can use this to counter enemies who also take to the skies or enemies attempting to rush you with weapons.
- If you approach an enemy and get close enough, you'll automatically grab them. In this position you can perform throws or just hit them a few times. Grabs can be very useful as they're invincible, meaning you can't be interrupted and won't take damage during the animation.
- Of course, you can pick up various weapons and use them to your advantage. Pick one up with Circle, then use Square to use it. Weapon attacks often increase your range and are fairly powerful. Keep in mind that weapons don't last forever, though.
- You can perform special attacks with Triangle. They cost you some health to use, but are useful for crowd control, which is a problem you'll come across a lot. Press Triangle on its own (no directional input) and you'll execute a defensive special. During this move, you're invincible and the move can't be interrupted.
- There's also an offensive special, which you can perform by pushing Triangle while holding a direction. These flashy moves are strong and can get you out of a pinch. You can also perform an offensive special while mid-jump.
- A Star move is your character's ultimate ability. Performed with Triangle + Circle, each fighter has a unique, screen-filling power that damages all enemies onscreen. Handy when things are getting too hectic.
Special moves and regaining health
There are some obvious and less obvious ways to get your health back in Streets of Rage 4. Of course, you can find apples or roast chickens to replenish your health bar, but it's with special attacks that things get interesting.
When you pull off a special attack, you'll notice a portion of your health meter turns green. This green segment is health that you can potentially win back, but at the same time, is at risk of being lost. To regain this green health, you need to keep landing successful hits on enemies without being hit yourself. If you get hit before you refill the green part of your health, you will lose it and can't get it back. However, if you deal enough damage without getting hit, you'll have recovered the green health and be back up to what you were before.
Points - why you should aim for a high score, and how to get one
This being an arcade-like experience, there's an emphasis on score. Usually, you can safely ignore these arbitrary points and just enjoy yourself, but there's a couple of good reasons to aim for a higher score.
As the game will alert you during the course of a stage, you can earn extra lives by achieving certain points milestones. With no 1-up items that we're aware of, this is currently the only known way to get extra lives.
The second reason why you'll want to rack up points quickly is because the game tracks your lifetime score, and this is how you unlock all the retro characters. All the points you earn during a level are added to your grand total, which builds up in a meter. After reaching specific thresholds, you'll unlock these 16-bit characters one by one. Even if you're having a bad run, completing a stage means more points in the pot.
The best way to earn points during a stage is through combos. As you land hits on enemies, you'll notice a number on the left keeping count of how many you've done in a row. Ideally, you want to get this number as high as possible. If you don't land any hits for a few seconds, the combo counter will reset and you'll bank your accumulated points. If you get hit during a combo, it'll break and you'll lose out on the points. You're rewarded for playing skilfully, in other words, so do your best to keep the combo count on the rise and watch your back.
Extra hints and tips
All your attacks can hit multiple enemies at once. If there are several enemies in front of you, your attacks won't just connect with one of them -- they'll connect with every goon within range. This lets you take on multiple targets simultaneously, which is important when the game throws so many baddies at you.
You can catch weapons in mid-air. This is a neat trick, but comes in handy every now and then. If you lob a pipe at someone, it'll bounce off them and you can catch it before it hits the ground, which is faster than picking it up off the floor. Just press Circle to snatch it out of the air.
Certain moves are invincible. We mentioned this already, but it's worth making it clear. There's no dedicated block in Streets of Rage, which means you're an open target at all times. However, two moves in the game give you brief moments of invincibility. The first is when performing a grab throw -- during this animation, you won't be interrupted or damaged. The same goes for when you pull off your neutral special, by pressing Triangle with no directional input. Use these to your advantage!
Eat food responsibly. Let's go through what we mean by that. Firstly, don't waste a chicken (full health boost) if you've only lost a bit of your health. Either eat an apple (small health boost) instead, or wait for your health to drop to a point where a chicken is necessary. Secondly, if you find a food item but have a full health bar, eat it anyway. This sounds odd, but eating apples or chickens when you already have all your health means you'll get points instead of HP. Our advice would be to clear a portion of the stage and see where you are. Obviously eat the food items if you need them, but if you make it through a fight without losing any health, don't let those items go to waste -- free points!
Always land on your feet. Like in previous Streets of Rage games, it's possible to land on your feet if thrown by an enemy. This gets you back in the action far faster than taking a fall, so it's something you'll want to learn to do quickly. From our experience, the way you do this is to press X just as you're about to land on the ground.
Are you playing Streets of Rage 4 on PS4? Is this your first time with the series, or are you a fan hitting the streets once again? Drop any other hints and advice in the comments below.