Fight’N Rage PS5 Review – The Golden (r)Age Of Fightin’

Played Fight'N Rage yet? Now's your chance to play/re-live on next gen as it's on PS5 and Xbox Series X/S. Spoiler: it's one of the best beat 'em ups in town.

This is how to make a beat ’em up. Hire a massive team of developers, drink fetchers and a 60-piece orchestra, and the finished product is Fight’N Rage, available for the PS5 and the Xbox Series X/S from the 1st of March 2023. Easily one of the best side-scrolling beat ’em ups from the 90s. Wait – it’s new? Ish.

Developed by solo dev SebaGamesDev, a.k.a. Sebastian Garcia and not a crack team of expensive coders, this old-school fighter was released on PC in 2017 and has steadily been launched on other platforms, with the next-gen consoles the latest, ported by BlitWorks and benefiting from 120FPS. Say what? It’s easy to make comparisons to the classics, as I did with the news piece, but can I go out on a limb now and say that this is a classic in its own right?

I saw your social media profile – you want a beat ’em up with a story, don’t you? Well, it goes a little something like this. In a distant future, an EMP has destroyed technology and humanity has been enslaved by mutants, led by a character named The Boss. Two humans and a mutant rebel join forces to overthrow this evil, using their diplomatic knuckles and hooves. And that’s about it. There are multiple paths, though, and plenty of endings to unlock.

Fight'N Rage PS5 Review - Gal power
Gal power. Source: Screen capture

Fight’N Rage PS5 Review

Fight’N Rage has three playable characters from the start. F Norris is a Guy-like character (Final Fight), swift and a general all-rounder. Gal is the equivalent of Blaze (Streets of Rage), has excellent positioning and can get out of a pickle; then there’s the Ox-like mutant Ricardo who’s a Haggar type and deals loads of damage (and also takes it), but is slow as you like. All three are surprisingly different, and despite my best intentions, I settled on Ricardo as my favourite.

So, controls. As a side-scroller, there’s not much to think about other than button-mashing and staying away from the edge of the screen. There’s a basic attack, jump, plus a special that builds up, or, like Streets of Rage, can be used anytime at a detriment to your health. Pulling off a combo is straightforward, and the throws in this game are divine. Easily some of the best throwing animation, and so satisfying when throwing enemies at each other. 

But that’s all pushed to the side when you complete your first run. Each time you play through Fight’N Rage, or more realistic: die, you’ll earn coins based on the score you’ve accumulated. These can unlock costumes, characters, and, more importantly, modes. One such mode is the training session. This isn’t your typical filler option either, as this is the arena to unlock a black belt for your character – more relevant: learn new moves and combos. While Ricardo was my go-to character, playing through the training mode taught me what was possible with the others and made the game much more worthwhile.

All The Rage

I can’t/won’t cover all the features, but they include a Battle Mode (one-on-one), Survival, add-ons that make the game easier, music, and much more. Fight’N Rage has some of the best extras I’ve seen in a game; best of all, it has scanlines. The CRT options, HDR modes and opaque characters genuinely change the game to a point where it constantly feels fresh. Sprinkle in the multiple paths, endings, extras, and the fact that three people can play at a time, this is one of the best beat ’em ups. Right, here’s the small print.

Unless it’s a mode I haven’t yet unlocked, there’s no way to switch your characters mid-run. At the continue scene, you must proceed with the same character throughout, unable to change the player or their appearance. Worse (unless I missed it), other players can’t jump in mid-game either. As a two-player, this game is excellent, but you have to choose the option at the start. You can’t have anybody drop in or out, which was a bit of a nuisance. Also, if we’re talking irritants, can I just say that I still HATE flying enemies. They spoiled the experience a little, as did the wrestling boss (like King out of Tekken), who was harder than The Boss. 

I can live with these negatives – Fight’N Rage is one of the best beat ’em ups available, tapping into some 90s classics, notably Vendetta, but also taking all the good bits from the Streets of Rage series, as well as Final Fight 2. And there are still some great points to insert before the end of this review: the music by Gonzalo Varela is superb. While Streets of Rage 2 has one of the most memorable soundtracks, the versatility of this musician is insane – from hard rock to lounge beats, the musical score complements the game perfectly.

Verdict

Enough. If you’ve read any of the above, you should have come to your own conclusions on what I think about Fight’N Rage. By far one of the best beat ’em ups of all time. There, I said it.

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