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Streets of Fury EX Reviewed by Cyril Lachel on . A throwback to a simpler time, Streets of Fury EX uses digitized characters to create the ultimate homage to old school beat-em-ups. Despite its straight-forward approach, there's enough fighters, modes and extras to keep players going long after they defeat the Big Boss. Fans of old school brawlers will love it, but everybody else may find this Steam release too repetitive. Rating: 71%
Streets of Fury EX
Streets of Fury EX Streets of Fury EX Streets of Fury EX Streets of Fury EX
  • Review Score:

  • B
When it comes to modern games, millions of dollars are spent to make sure the voice acting, full-motion video and presentation is on par with Hollywood movies. But that has not always been the case. Old school CD-ROM games from the 1990s worked with much lower standards, often employing anybody they could find for acting roles. Our history is littered with hammy Z-grade performances from people with no acting experience.

As bad as it was, there's something endearing about those classic games. It often felt like the developers were forced to round up friends and family to perform the poorly translated dialog. And even though the results were often terrible, I would usually end up liking it more just because of its campy production value.

Streets of Fury EX is the modern embodiment of this anyone-can-act philosophy. It's a game made up entirely of people performing in front of a green screen, and not one of them looks like a professional actor. It's a ragtag bunch that seems to be having a great time pretending to be street fighters, ninjas, hip hop moguls and a wide assortment of French thugs. Oh, did I not mention that this is a game about beating up French people?

As the name implies, Streets of Fury EX is a retro-inspired beat-em-up. It's the kind of game that was clearly inspired by Double Dragon, Final Fight, Streets of Rage and countless other brawlers of the 8- and 16-bit eras. You take control of a gang of street fighters from the United States who walk from left to right beating up hooligans threatening to take over France.

The gimmick here is that every character is a digitized representation of a real person. This is a process made famous in games like Mortal Kombat, Lethal Enforcers, Way of the Warrior and dozens of other 1990s titles. It's put to good use here, as everybody seems to be in on the joke. The cast is decked out with cheesy wigs, bad makeup and more ill-fitting costumes than a second rate comic con. They play to the camera and overact in the most spectacular ways possible.

Streets of Fury EX (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Had the gameplay been slow and sluggish, I would have likely pointed my finger squarely at the digitized characters. But lo and behold, Streets of Fury EX does a great job emulating the rhythm of old school brawlers. The action is quick and the silly gimmick only helps to enhance an otherwise simple beat-em-up.

It helps that we're able to choose from fifteen different fighters, including a few unlockable character. We're given the choice of a breakdancing woman, Terminator-style robot, the rastaman, guy with a bat and a roguish pilot named Jack Knife. None of these characters look like they could take down an organized gang of street thugs, but that's half the fun. When one character is dressed as John Belushi's famous samurai character, you know you can't take the game too seriously.

Each of the fifteen fighters is given a number of unique moves on top of the standard attacks. The game encourages long strings of combos featuring copious amounts of juggling and special moves. Streets of Fury EX also introduces blocking and a counter move, giving players more control than the usual Double Dragon clone. You are also able to change moves base holding different directions, which gives the combat mechanics some much-needed depth.

Despite the charming visuals, goofy plot and varied cast, Streets of Fury EX suffers from many of the same problems that plague other retro brawlers. The story mode offers five levels that seem to meander along at a snail's pace. The formula is also repetitive. You'll enter a small area, fight a bunch of cloned characters and then move on to the next small area.

Streets of Fury EX (Steam)Click For the Full Picture Archive

And while the characters are loaded with moves, this is a surprisingly simple beat-em-up. There are no trash cans to break, weapons to pick up or bonus stages to contend with. This genre has never been known for its depth, but it would have been nice to see more of the staples show up in Streets of Fury.

Clocking in at around an hour, the main campaign is incredibly short. However, the game hopes you'll want to replay the five stages long enough to unlock more adventures. If grinding for levels doesn't sound like fun, Streets of Fury EX does offer a number of bonus modes that can be played with up to four players. These include a standard survival mode, as well as versus and several different challenges to conquer.

Although I wish some elements were a little deeper, I was charmed by this old school beat-em-up. I couldn't wait to see what enemies they would throw at me next and every character has a lot of moves at their disposal. Streets of Fury EX looks like the kind of game that was a blast to make, and that fun is contagious.
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