Streets of Rage 4 Mr X Nightmare (DLC) Review

Kevin "Berserker" Hall
In Short
The Mr X Nightmare DLC makes Streets of Rage 4 as close to perfect as it gets for a beat’em up add on.

Player(s): 1-2
Extra Features: Local Co-op, Online Co-op, Leaderboards

If you read my review of Streets of Rage 4 here on The Gamers’ Temple, you’ll know that I was very pleased with the game. I had a few gripes here and there but the game was overall super fun and very replayable. I’d actually like to take this chance to say that I take back my complaint about the music – since I’ve had the chance to listen to it more often, the soundtrack is quite good with a few memorable tracks. Anyway, about a month ago, DotEmu announced that the game would get some DLC, which is very rare for beat’em ups. This DLC is entitled “Mr X Nightmare” and adds in three new characters (actually 4), a training mode, a new difficulty (Mania+), new moves for every character, and a survival mode. I must say, if all DLCs were as good as this one, I would always purchase add-on content!

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The most obvious addition are the three new characters. We have Max, Estel, and Shiva. All characters are former bosses in the game. Max is the retired pro-wrestler from Streets of Rage 2. This guy was known for being a total powerhouse in that game and he still takes the most damage out of any of the playable characters. He has many highly damaging grabs and attacks. Max is slow, but he has some special moves that can help him out in overall movement. Estel is the cop that is on the tail of the heroes throughout much of the campaign. She is like a mix of Axel and Blaze. Estel is agile and she hits hard with her melee attacks. She also has the throwback super attack to where a cop in a police car showers the area with rockets. Shiva is the popular boss character from Streets of Rage 2 and 3. He is Mr X’s expert fighter that was first playable (as a secret character) in Streets of Rage 3. Shiva is all kinds of awesome. He can literally shower an area with attacks. Long story short, if you like combos, pick Shiva and get creative and you’ll get a high combo very quickly. His air attacks are easily some of the best in the game – only Cherry can rival him in air attacks and I feel he beats her. There is also an extra unlockable character – Roo from Streets of Rage 3 is an extra hidden unlockable from the DLC.

One would think that the new characters would be the best feature of the DLC, but it certainly isn’t. The new survival mode is the main feature. This survival mode adds TONS of replay value to the game. You go through wave after wave of enemies with your chosen fighter and get to choose attribute bonuses at the end of each wave. You might add a burning effect to your special moves or maybe choose to regain health per attack at the cost of not gaining health from food pickups. Some power-ups have a double-edge sword effect to where you get a negative in return for the positive, but sometimes the positive is better. There is a CPU helper that you can get to fight alongside you as well. The main mode in survival randomizes stages and there is another weekly challenge mode that is fixed per playthrough. A leaderboard tallies up your progress for competition.

The survival mode has an actual story to it. After defeating the Y twins in the main story, the heroes realize they need to prepare for anything. Dr Zan uses Mr X’s brain to build a machine that can simulate encounters conjured up from his twisted mind. All enemies spawn in as if they are part of a simulation and you move through portals to each new area. Some stages are retro and some stages use new graphics – same for the enemies. The enemies change up quite a bit as you progress. You’ll face off against multiple bosses in some stages and the enemies will start to get more attributes that will help them out as well.

One really good part about the survival mode is that you’ll be unlocking content based on your progression. You’ll unlock different moves for your chosen fighter – these moves can be equipped in the survival mode and any other mode (even story and arcade)! You’ll also unlock training dummies that can be used in the training mode. The training mode is a handy feature that lets you try out your attacks and combos against a training dummy. SoR4 is very similar to a fighting game in terms of commands and combos so a training mode is very much welcome. The training mode has trials that you can go through in order to better learn each character and the basics of the game.

All of the new characters can be used in other modes as well. Story mode remains basically the same. When you use a new character in story mode, they are not recognized in the story. Some minor enhancements are there such as Max fighting an AI hologram of himself during the Max boss battle. There are also a few other tweaks and adjustments here and there for stages and fighters. Both the Story and Arcade mode now have an extra difficulty called “Mania+”. This new mode adds in tons more enemies to the usual enemy set up. Mania+ really shines when it comes to arcade mode. It starts you out with no lives and no continues but by having more enemies on the screen, you can build up a higher combo, which leads to a higher score, which leads to more lives. It’s brutal, but it’s so rewarding to a player good enough to crowd control well!

Mr. X Nightmare makes Streets of Rage 4 a near perfect beat’em up. At this point, Streets of Rage 4 is the game to judge all other beat’em ups by from now on. Mr X Nightmare is not even a cherry on top, it’s like getting an extra cake to go along with the first cake (the main game). The DLC is also available at a bargain price – only 1/3 the cost the of the main game itself, so it’s a steal. If you have Streets of Rage 4 and want to breath some new life into it, buy the Mr X Nightmare DLC and you’ll be playing it for quite a while. The survival mode alone will keep you busy for quite a while so just that mode alone is worth the purchase.

The Good:
+ 4 new characters, new difficulty (Mania+), new training mode
+ New survival mode and it’s SO good
+ Makes an already great beat’em even greater

The Bad:
- It would still be nice to see new sprites for older SoR characters (Dr. Zan and Skate)

Final Rating: 95%

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Transmitted: 12/2/2021 12:26:06 AM