03rd Dec2020

‘The Takeover’ Review (Nintendo Switch)

by Phil Wheat

It would seem that a little indie game called Raging Justice, whilst not being the mega-hit I wanted it to be (lets just say I’m a huge fan of that game!) on its release in 2018, has succeeded in at least being the catalyst for the return of the side-scrolling beat ’em-up to current gen consoles. Since its debut we’ve had the likes of Capcom’s Beat ‘Em Up Bundle; Fight’N Rage; the Double Dragon & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle, and it’s spin-off River City Girls; The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors; Slaps and Beans; and even the return of the grand-daddy of them all, Streets of Rage 4.

And now comes The Takeover

Debuting a little too close to the release of Streets of Rage 4, The Takeover seems to have been overshadowed by the bigger-named franchise in the mainstream popularity stakes. However this side-scrolling beat ’em-up is just as worthy of your time and money as the popular Sega sequel. It truly is. In fact if we didn’t get Streets of Rage 4, this would’ve been called the “spiritual successor” to that franchise. That’s how much this game looks, feels and plays like Streets of Rage; and for fans of this type of side-scrolling beat ’em-up that’s NOT a bad thing. Yet there is one thing that differentiates The Takeover from Streets of Rage 4 however… The Takeover is a damn sight harder. In fact I’d say playing The Takeover on easy is equivalent to playing Streets of Rage 4 on hard!

The Takeover sees you play as one of three characters with the usual attributes (think Final Fight, Street of Rage and a myriad of other side-scrollers): the female is faster but weaker; there’s your mid-range character who’s good all-rounder; and then there’s a “tank” like character who is slow but packs a hefty punch. Choose your character and then battle through a series of locations to get to the, eventual, final boss.

In terms of combat, The Takeover will be familiar to anyone whose played these kinds of games before – you punch, kick (though thankfully this game has SEPARATE buttons for both punch and kick – which means you can string together combos here), dash-attack and super-special move your way through the game; picking up weapons and explosives that are strewn around and… In a massive change, you can even wield a gun! Though to be fair, whilst you have a gun the bullets for it are few and far between – which means guns are definitely to be used sparingly. You can also grab enemies and throw them around, though it’s bloody hard to grab and keep hold of an enemy given just how many enemies populate this game – you’re constantly getting hit and REALLY need to keep moving to stay alive! Unlike the aforementioned Streets of Rage 4, The Takeover thankfully has a run mechanic AND borrows the up and down screen rolling mechanic from Streets of Rage 3 too, making this feel a lot more like a “traditional” side-scrolling beat ’em-up.

But what’s not traditional about The Takeover are the sub-games/bonus levels… Nope. There’s no beating up cars here. Instead you drive a car through the streets, avoiding obstacles by using ramps to jump over them and shooting enemies with your machine gun; or jump in the cockpit of an F-15 and fly through the sky in Afterburner-style gameplay. In fact the bonus levels could – if developers Pelikan13 so wished – be easily expanded into fully-fledged games in their own right. And I’d buy them both!

With badass graphics – a combination of animated cut scenes and faux-3D graphics rather than pixel-perfect sprites (which is something I can appreciate) and a soundtrack that includes work by the legendary Yuzo Koshiro, The Takeover is a worthy companion, nay successor, to the Streets of Rage franchise. More please!


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