Developer: Secret Base Pte Ltd
Publisher: Maple Whispering Co. LTD
Rating: T for Teen
I remember a time when my family would go out to eat and there would be a couple of arcade games in the back of the restaurant. I would waste a lot of quarters on the beat’em ups if I could get any quarters from my parents. I have very fond memories of those beat’em ups. Streets of Red: Devil’s Dare Deluxe brings me back to those arcade games with some funny and crazy gameplay. Streets of Red is full of Easter eggs which recall a lot of those older beat’em up games and some classic horror movies. The game also has some really creative characters. This is a game that I played with my teenage son who really liked it, and I think Streets of Red is a great game for anyone looking of a couch co-op.
Streets of Red is rated T for Teen for blood, gore, violence, and language. In the game, all the enemies are either zombies are some other well-recognized or movie monster. The most disturbing of the creatures are the pregnant zombies who will launch a baby zombie out of their belly, or the baby zombie jumps out of the mother’s belly and swipes at the heroes. Players use shovels, swords, and robotics to hit the creatures until they are dismembered. There is a visual blood splash and also a corresponding squishy sound effect when a creature dies. After a few rounds of fighting, the floor of the levels become covered with red pools where creatures have died as well as the body parts of creatures. As I moved through the levels, I also saw helpless victims of the creatures lying all over the floor. If a hero kills more than three creatures at the same time a banner comes up that says slaughter or massacre to accompany the reward for the combo kill. The hero characters say some swear words when they complete combos or make a kill as well. It’s not a game I would recommend for preteens or children, but my teenagers really enjoyed it.
The Benny Arcade Expo of 20XX was going just fine when all of sudden there were ZOMBIES, and the only hope for our heroes is to cosplay their favorite video game character to fight the hordes of undead. That’s the story line of Streets of Red that is told through a cut scene very similar to the opening of Megan Man 2. The first time that a player starts the game, the only character that is unlocked in single players mode is Kingston, a janitor who is cosplaying as Shovel Knight. In order to get to the rest of the game, the player needs to fight their way out of the expo which is the tutorial level.
The controls are very easy to learn, but the controller layout is confusing. I would have liked a better controller diagram in the options menu other than the list of buttons (i.e. button 1= attack, button 2= special).
Once the expo level is done there are four characters to choose. Kinston (Fat Shovel), Queenie (Magic Tech), Jackson (Generic Ninja), and Axel (Broken Link). Each of the characters plays very differently which makes co-op more fun since each character can fill a certain role. Kinston is the tank, Queenie the healer, Jackson is fast, and Axel is a good offense character; there are two additional characters that can be unlocked with the good ending of the game. There is a good and bad ending which all depend on how much cash the players collect.
Streets of Red is about defeating waves of zombies, hags, and evil dolls, but what makes the gameplay unique is the cash. As heroes kill creatures, they drop coins and blue special power pills. The power pills help build up the special power meter for each of the heroes powers, and those powers will help the player get more cash. Players who make power move kills or fatality kills will get more cash from the creatures. The cash that creatures drop is very important because if your hero dies, it costs $750 to respawn, but after the first respawn the price doubles then triples and so on. If players don’t collect enough cash, they can’t respawn and the save file they were using gets deleted. The only way to avoid losing your save file is to buy soul tokens after each mission which function like additional quarters in an arcade machine.
I really enjoyed playing this game with my son. Streets of Red is a really great couch co-op kind of game sporting a retro 8-bit look. When my son and I were playing the graphics were sharp and clear enough for us to keep track of our own heroes. There is a handy feature in the game which allows each player to highlight their hero with a colored column of light. Streets of Red‘s only drawback to the graphics is the limited color palette. Most of the colors were dark shades of green, brown, and yellow which isn’t bad to look at, but I would like to see this see with a bright color palette.
The game’s sound effects and music are also retro 8-bit music which never got on my nerves, but kept me engaged with the game. The heroes each have a small amount of well-acted voice catchphrases whose humor kept me laughing. For example, I chuckled when I heard Kinston saying, “Who’s your daddy?” Alex uses a spear shot similar to Scorpion, and he also uses the phrase, “Get over here!” I also saw so many Easter eggs from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Friday the 13th, Child’s Play, Terminator, Aliens, and many more. However, not everyone will appreciate the humor or the horror Easter eggs because of their gruesome nature of the game.
Overall, I would recommend this game for any gamers who have friends or family who can play couch co-op. Streets of Red doesn’t have any online co-op mode, so without others sitting down next to them players are stuck playing by themselves. The game is fun to play alone, but I really think that Streets of Red shines when played with others. Co-op gaming can be hard on a PC, but with the Steam Link app and a Raspberry Pi the PC can be streamed to the living room. I think it’s good that there’s no online mode because I support any games that bring gamers closer together. Streets of Red is available on PC, Switch, and PS4 for less than $10 which is a bargain for a game this fun.
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