Raging Justice Review

Richard Walker

For more than 25 years, I've been waiting for a scrolling beat 'em up that can measure up to Streets of Rage II on the SEGA Mega Drive. Because, while replaying the Streets of Rage trilogy over and over and over (and over) again is all well and good, new things are quite nice too, right? Raging Justice is one such new thing, clearly indebted to classic face-punchers like Streets of Rage, Final Fight, Double Dragon and D.D. Crew. And while it brings back fond memories of those games, it doesn't quite deliver the same level of street brawling enjoyment.

While Raging Justice is overtly influenced by classic 80s and 90s arcade beat 'em ups, it ultimately fails to capture the essence of what made the once prolific genre so much fun. A lack of fluidity, muddy movement and a fairly steep difficulty level all conspire to make Raging Justice a bit of a pale imitation of the truly great beat 'em ups of yesteryear, and while it's always heartening to see someone attempting resurrect what is essentially a defunct genre, it's also somewhat galling when it ends up falling short.

Choosing between stupidly named characters Rick Justice, Nikki Rage and Ashley King, you'll trawl the violent streets of Raging Justice's Big Smoke City, busting the heads of tattooed punks, dynamite-throwing goons and scantily-clad ladies alike, using your fists and feet, or whatever weapons that come to hand. All of the key beat 'em up ingredients are present and correct, be it food items for replenishing health, outlandish boss characters or items that can deal out some nasty blunt force trauma to enemies; then Raging Justice adds a pinch of its own ideas to its brawler broth. Like being able to run over thugs while driving a tractor or lawnmower, being able to arrest dazed criminals with warrants, attaching specific challenges to each stage, and more besides.

You're also able to play as 'good cop' or 'bad cop', with different endings unlocked for each. Making arrests counts as a good cop action, while outright beatdowns and resorting to using knives, hammers, and wrenches (i.e. the fun stuff) all tallies towards your bad cop status. Suffice it to say, it's good to be bad. Basic combos can be strung together very easily, while largely ineffectual jumping attacks can help with crowd control. Each character also has a Super Attack (unleashed at the expense of your health) and throw move, also helping to create space amid large groups of scumbags, and Rick, Nikki and Ashley have their own unique attributes to take into account.

Much as you'd expect, hard-bitten cop Rick is the slower and stronger of the three, whereas camo-clad vigilante Nikki is the faster and slightly weaker all-rounder. Teenage street urchin Ashley is at the other end of the archetypal scale, quick but comparatively weedy, and all three look a bit like they've been plucked from a claymation film, their design leaning towards the uninspired. Give us Axel, Blaze and Adam any day of the week. Nonetheless, there's something to be said for what's here: Blazing Justice is still quite good fun, especially when playing in co-op, and the extra Brawl mode brings additional longevity to the table, pitting your chosen fighter against wave after wave of heads to be cracked.

And yet, Raging Justice just doesn't feel quite right. Evidently, developer MakinGames has a love for the scrolling beat 'em ups of old, and there are numerous elements that confirm that fact time and again. But as a lover of the genre myself, Raging Justice serves as a reminder why the likes of Streets of Rage, Final Fight et al. were so great: simplicity. A game like this doesn't need gimmicks or challenges, or indeed such an unattractive art style. It needs meaty, immediate combat, exciting, colourful visuals and charm. On that front, Raging Justice sadly doesn't make the grade.

Raging Justice

A retro-style beat 'em up without the retro charm, Raging Justice attempts to bring a dormant genre back to life with mixed results. Unfortunately, it just isn't as much fun as you'd hope it would be. So near, and yet so far, you'll be yearning for Streets of Rage in no time at all.

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A soundtrack that can't hold a candle to the techno stylings of Yuzo Koshiro. In truth, the soundtrack is rather pedestrian.


Strange-looking, 'plasticky' character models and stilted animation means Raging Justice ain't exactly a looker, the overall game design coming off as a bit on the cheap side.


Basic kick and punch combos, a Super Attack and grab moves means there's not much variety to Raging Justice's combat. Which would be fine if the fighting felt impactful at all. It doesn't. Consequently, it gets a bit old rather quickly.


Three difficulty levels (Wimp, Normal, and Tough Guy) with overly hard challenges to complete, different endings and Brawl mode make for a decent enough package. Yet, it's unlikely you'd want to try and complete it all, unless you were some sort of masochist.


A sprinkling of clever tasks to complete amid a swathe of boring completion-based objectives. Not the most inspired of lists.

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