The developers at Secret Base have created an awesome arcade-beat ’em up that has so many great nostalgic moments and shout-outs to the 8 and 16-bit era. This was also the time when arcades were jammed packed with kids waiting in line to use every last quarter and token they had on them for just one more shot at victory. Streets of Red stirs these feelings back immediately and anyone with appreciation for this time period of gaming is going to find a whole lot to like here.
“In Streets of Red: Devil’s Dare Deluxe, the only thing scarier than being eaten alive is running out of quarters! It’s a permadeath multiplayer horror beat’em up that bestows players with the skills of retro gaming heroes in a fight against a legion of undead monstrosities. By paying tribute and playing parody to the great horror games and films that came before it, Streets of Red: DDD balances lighthearted comedy against tension so thick that you could cut through it with a knife, axe, or even a chainsaw! The chills, thrills, bills, and opportunity to learn new skills here won’t stop until every street runs red with blood! Are you up for the challenge of an anti-lifetime?”
There are four characters to choose from in Streets of Red, including Kingston, Jaskson, Queenie, and Axel. Each one possess their own unique playing style, varying methods of attack and specific special moves. I chose Axel for my first play through, and enjoyed his overall move-set and special abilities. He utilized a shield charge and sword spin that made quick work of enemies once their health was down low enough. Completing these specials when “Finish Him!” appears on the screen will reward gamers with money and gold for upgrades that can be purchased after completing areas or finishing the entire level.
It’s possible to counterattack when overwhelmed by too many ghouls. You simply time a combination of buttons correctly and your character will perform one of their specials. This will perform a fatality on any nearby enemies that are low on health. The enemies drop gold when this is performed. Pulling off 2-3 fatalities will activate classic visual and audio prompts such as “Perfect!”, “Toasty!”, “Fatality!”, and “Massacre!” I put in some serious time on Mortal Kombat back in the day and there is no doubt some heavy influence from that franchise in the audio department and it’s simply fantastic to behold.
Any true veteran or fan of beat ’em ups will tell you all the greatest had legendary, memorable boss battles. Streets of Red fully delivers here as well. Again, the game pulls on some serious nostalgic strings here harping back to memories of Streets of Rage, Aliens, Terminator and a surprise boss I won’t dare spoil for those that aren’t aware of his appearance yet. Each one had patterns that had to be learned before engaging, while also taking out spawned enemies to keep the tension high as possible. When I did die, it was always at a boss battle. You have the option to revive yourself for $1,000…and who wouldn’t?! Unless you happen to be short on that particular currently at that time of course. And if you happen to not be able to continue due to this, it’s a tough pill to swallow.
The developers wanted this to be arcade-like as possible, as in when you are out of tokens and lives and continues, it’s truly “Game Over”. To let you know how serious they are about the old school arcade mechanic, your save file is deleted upon losing all lives and not being able to revive yourself due to insufficient currency. This brings the “Git Gud” motto to a whole new level.
Presentation and Score
Streets of Red is a tribute to the awesome beat ’em up era from the 90s. The graphics, controls and audio commentary do a fantastic job in stirring those old memories back up. The sprites are excellent and well detailed, although the colors are a bit muted throughout each stage. I’d have to say probably my only real complaint is I wish more time was spent on the audio tracks. Everything else in the game is just so brilliantly executed, that this particular area stands out to me. It’s an extremely minor gripe when you consider just how polished and fun the whole package is.
While the arcade style permadeath won’t be for everyone, it will no doubt be immensely popular for those players that pushed through similar challenges back in the old school console days and the incredibly punishing, yet rewarding games found at the local town arcade. I personally can’t recommend Streets of Red: Devils Dare Deluxe enough, and for $8.99 on the Nintendo eShop, it’s an absolute steal for such an immensely fun trip down memory lane.