Day 86: Streets of Fury

Posted: 2011/02/03 in Indie Games
Tags: , ,

I’m purchasing an Xbox Live Indie Game every day, seeking out the quality titles that got lost in the shuffle and no longer appear in the top 50 downloads. Today is day #86, and today’s game is “Streets of Fury”.

This game has one of the most charming ridiculous premises of any game I’ve ever played. Gangs have taken over Paris, and not only have they overwhelmed the police but even the French army is unable to handle them. So what does the civic government do? They fight fire with fire by importing hardened L.A. gang members to take out the Parisian gangs.

A lot of people compare this game to the first three Mortal Kombats, and there is some resemblance there (especially to the juggling combos of MK3). However, this game owes a lot more to two other games, both older than any Mortal Kombat: Irem’s 1988 classic arcade and TurboGrafx-16 game “Vigilante”, and Atari’s 1990 steroid-infused cheese-fest “Pit Fighter”. This game has the urban feel of Vigilante, married with Pit Fighter’s use of digitised actors and ability to move towards and away from the screen to dodge/engage opponents, with the addition of the more sophisticated combos of the (somewhat) more modern fighters like Mortal Kombat 3. Pair that up with a game with an urban musical aesthetic, and the result is a game that’s simultaneously both modern and retro, cheesy and serious, and a hell of a good time for $3.

I was pleasantly surprised at how smooth the animation was. There is a lot of palette-swapping going on to add variety to the enemies, but in a game that embraces its cheese-factor that only added to the appeal for me (and is fair game for a title that’s invoking elements of Mortal Kombat, which did make the technique (in)famous). This is a game that has no illusions about what it’s trying to be, and it’s all the better for it. Each character feels very distinct, with several unique attacks each, and over-the-top super attacks/combos (the latter unleashed by building up your “Fury” meter with regular attacks, and then unleashing a super attack when the meter is full). Similarly, bosses have their own crazy super attacks that are appropriately overpowered and amusing, but always with an exploitable weakness that can be discovered through experimentation.

There are both campaign modes (fighting through levels to a series of bosses) and a survival mode (where you fight endless enemies to see how long you can survive), as well as local multiplayer. Finally, there are lots of unlockables to earn which improves the replay value. If you have any nostalgia for early ’90s beat-’em-ups, this is 240 Microsoft Points well spent.

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Comments
  1. Nelson says:

    Bought this game DAY ONE. Saw it and was ecstatic at how ridiculously free form the combos were. I didn’t stop till I was finished. Coaxed a few other friends to get it. It’s been out for a while but every now an again when a buddy or two are over we tip back a few beers and go multiplayer VS. Upbeat french house soundtrack and random humor made this the best 3 bucks I’ve spent on XBL Indie game IMO. Really hope for a sequel.

    • I must admit my expectations for Streets of Fury were low because the writeup and the screenshots made it look a little cheesy to me, but some people recommended it online so I kept an open mind and checked it out. That’s when I “got it”: this was a game structured like the Irem classic Vigilante, but upgraded with some of the features that made Pit Fighter famous, and while it’s cheesy it’s a quality, well aged cheese. :)

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