Reviewed by Brett
Publisher – Team17 Digital Ltd
Developer – MakinGames
Category – Fighting, Action, Arcade
Release Date – May 08, 2018
Streets of Raging Justice
Raging Justice is a beat em up by MakinGames, ex members of the Rare team. You can see the Rare style immediately, that semi realistic almost stop motion feeling look. During the 90’s when i was growing up beat em ups were perhaps my favorite type of game and boy were there a ton of them but they began to die out over time. Some were amazing and some were cheap knock offs. These days they seem to be making a comeback and Raging Justice aims to bring beat em ups into the now by taking heavy inspiration from one of the greatest of all time, the legendary Streets of Rage, but can it manage to break free from its shadow.
Not surprisingly the story for Raging Justice is not deep, as is the case with pretty much every beat em up in existence. You find yourself in Big Smoke City, a town held to ransom by a mysterious crime lord. It is up to our three leads Nikki Rage, Rick Justice and Ashley King to fight and prove that no one is above the law. This is the first thing that is almost identical to Streets of Rage, three police/ex police/military members taking down the head of a crime syndicate.
If you have ever played a beat em up you know the jist of it, fight all the bad dudes to get through a level where you will encounter a boss. That also applies to Raging Justice but some cool differences are you can also arrest enemies instead of killing them, earning you good cop points and bad cops points depending on which you do. Arresting a perp seems to lead to getting a health pick up and killing them nets you some cash. Gaining cash goes towards your overall score and if its high scores your aiming for this seems to be the route to take. Arresting an enemy and gaining a much needed health boost seems all good and well but in my experience your more often than not going to take as much damage as you would gain by being pummeled by another enemy while trying to make the arrest. Your life bar can be partially restored by consuming found items. Some as mentioned are dropped by enemies and some can be found inside objects such as finding a turkey by smashing open a phone booth a la Streets of Rage 2.
The three playable characters Nikki Rage, Rick Justice and Ashley King strike some resemblances to familiar characters. Ashley specifically reminded me a lot of Eddie “Skate” Hunter from Streets of Rage 2. All three of them play very similarly with standard punch and kick attacks, a jump attack and a running attack. They all also have an obligatory special that of course drains your life bar upon use.
The other cool addition is challenges on each level. Many are much, much easier said than done. Adding this extra level certainly gives the game an added level of replayability not found in most beat em ups and is a welcome addition. They range from arresting specific characters (which can be identified by having a unique name under their health bar) to racking up a set number of points and getting kills with a certain weapon.
Raging Justice is a very hard game, even on the easier difficulty. Most of its difficulty I found to be only from unfairness. This comes from weak hit detection and overcrowding. Now i have played many,many beat em ups in my day so i am no stranger to making my way through one but i found the game pretty much unplayable on the hardest setting a struggle on medium and for those less experienced you may even find easy to be a bit too much. When there are too many characters on screen you will very often wind up getting beaten from both sides and loosing a life before you even know what happened, your life bar can drain amazingly quickly and when there are eight enemies on screen it can happen in an instant. I also found myself getting hit when i was much too far away from an enemy to take damage and the blast radius from dynamite thrown by enemies can sometimes get you no matter where you are. Bosses alternatively have a little too much health and often have long periods where you are forced to fight waves of life stealing minions.
Raging Justice has just enough of that Rare mojo in it to have a unique look that makes it stand out from other games of any genre. I however am not a huge fan of the character designs. First off there is not nearly enough variation in enemies. There are only a handful which include hookers, guy in tanktop, fat white thug, regular sized white thug and i only want to hit so many early 2000’s white thugs with bad jewelry and tattoos. The bosses have a little more flair to them but are proportioned very strangely and resemble roided out rejects of the village people, once again not much to my liking.
Another area i unfortunately took quite an issue with is the soundtrack. I think they were going for some sort of take on 70’s cop show music which i suppose they achieve but it in no way in my opinion fits this style of game. It’s very much on the slow side, has little variation and there simply are not enough tracks. I heard the same few tracks far too many times and when you are not digging the music it can really take an effect on the game as a whole. I have to once again compare this soundtrack to that of Streets of rage 2, with so many similarities it just cant be avoided. Streets of Rage 2 is perhaps one of my favorite game soundtracks of all time, its not fair at all to compare the two. Having said that at one point i thought of putting on my copy of the Streets of Rage soundtrack but stopped myself because if anything could make me like that soundtrack less, it would be listening to it while playing something i enjoyed so little.
Its hard to write negative things about something that clearly has love and care put into it. There are a few things to like about Raging justice like its unique arrest mechanic and the nice addition of challenges that give a game of this genre some much needed replayability. However when you put rage in the title of your beat em up, I am forced to compare it to the greatest of them all. The visuals, gameplay, and music can in no way compare to the Streets of Rage series and i’m not asking any game to do that but i just couldn’t get around the aesthetics and at some point i had to mute it so i didn’t have to hear this music any longer. I can see some people, who perhaps do not have experience with the genre getting something, if not a lot out of it and with some polish, more enemy variation and an entirely new soundtrack i could see myself getting more out of Raging Justice too, but as it stands its just not for me.
Buy Raging Justice