We’re still quite sure how, but beat-em-ups are making a comeback. Not that we don’t welcome them, mind you. Games like Capcom Beat-Em-Up Bundle and Raging Justice have been beacons on a classic genre in gaming. And then there’s Streets of Rage 4, a long-awaited return of a series that hasn’t been seen since the freakin’ ’90s.
But this also opens up room for newcomers, especially impressive ones like The Takeover. The buzz behind this game has been minimal, at best. But now that it’s finally making its way to release, we can say it loud and clear – this indie brawler stands among the best in the genre. It may not look the best, but its intentions – not to mention its soundtrack – are truly something.
The game comes from Pelikan13, a studio that’s been long working on the racing game 90s Super GT, which, sadly, has yet to see the light of day. However, Takeover shines a spotlight on the retro scene and gives players something they can truly enjoy.
The game lets you choose from three different combatants (at first), taking on thugs as you rage through each of the levels before you get to a boss encounter. Usually, this involves someone with a flamethrower or a strength advantage. However, once you figure out their pattern, they’ll be skooshed beneath your boot in no time.
What’s great about The Takeover is its varying gameplay. You have punches, kicks, and energy-draining super moves that you can use. However, the magic lies in combining them all together into slick, effective combos, which keeps things from getting boring. To assure that the enemy doesn’t gain an advantage, you can also unleash a super attack where everyone on the screen gets blasted with an explosion (but not the environment, of course), as well as using a sidearm with limited bullets, in case someone’s too much of a pain for fists.
You can also build up a Rage meter and temporarily boost your strength, excellent for when you need to clean house on overwhelming enemies.
It’s not a perfect system, as sometimes the enemy can get cheap shots in. But it’s got some charm and inventiveness to it; and it’s a lot of fun when two players enter the fray. It may be local co-op only (sadly, no online play), but it’s a real treat when you’ve got a good couch session going on.
Taking Over On Presentation
The visuals for The Takeover may throw off a few players. You’ve got CG models here instead of traditionally animated characters like Streets 4 has; and the levels themselves are rendered in 3D too. But Pelikan13 throws in all sorts of tributes here, including a fight that takes place in an arcade. It’s a little rough around the edges, but the game looks pretty good overall. Plus, the 3D shoot-em-up stage – with Little V playing in the background – is more fun than I expected it to be. It also looks good in both TV and handheld mode, so no matter which way you play, you’re set.
But let’s talk about the soundtrack. It’s remarkable. Whereas Streets 4’s tunes left some people feeling a little mixed, The Takeover has tunes that will please people all around. It features fine contributions from Yuzo Koshiro (yep, the Streets maestro) and Little V, along with other artists, and it captures the vibe of 90’s brawlers perfectly. You’ll want to blast this into your ears for hours on end. The sound effects and voice samples are good as well.
A Brawler Well Worth Your Quarters
Although its visuals are slightly rough and there are no online features to speak of, The Takeover shines thanks to other aspects. Its design hunkers back to the good ol’ days of old-school; the soundtrack is a wonder to behold and worth listening to, and the gameplay has ingenuity going for it in spades. It’s a fun brawler that’ll keep you occupied, and, surprisingly enough, off the streets.
Be sure to take it to these streets with Pelikan13’s innovative old-school brawler, The Takeover.