Certain arcade based genres seem to be making a comeback in popularity over the recent years, it’s hard to ignore how Fighting Games are making a return but also Beat Em Ups are slowly coming back too. Ready to remind everyone is The Takeover, is a nostalgic walk through the ghetto or a reminder of bad times?.
The Takeover puts you in the 90s throwback boots of Evan, Vanessa, and Connor, the local crime syndicate has kidnapped Vanessa’s little sister and Evan and Connor are more than happy to assist in dishing out some old fashioned street justice.
The story is presented with static art scenes done in the style of a comic book, voice acting and the odd bit of end of level boss banter. It’s deliciously 90s in that the story is just an excuse to have characters walk down the street and punch/kick/shoot others in the face!.
Visually The Takeover is no slouch, the lighting alone carries its visual style a few notches higher than its peers, seriously the piercing neon and vibrant explosions pared with how the game looks in motion gripped me from the get-go.
The character models are great and kind of look like a slightly more CGI version of the ones found in Raging Justice. The levels nail all the Beat em up cliches while taking on a more serious Streets Of Rage 1 tone to start with before allowing a little freedom, later on, no spoilers here!.
On the audio side of things, you have some beautifully hammy voice acting to complement the script, including Kira Buckland of 2B fame & the music. The music here in The Takeover is out f*****g standing, even the master Yuzo Koshiro got in on this soundtrack. Featuring mixes with pumping beats and blistering guitars it would be hard not to find a song that has your blood pumping. You can tell the team behind this game had a real passion for titles such as Final Fight and Streets of Rage from the audio alone!.
The gameplay of The Takeover, allow me to be short and just say it does not re-invent the wheel, it does improve the wheel and sets a new standard for circular inventions mind!.
The hour and a half to 2-hour campaign is pretty lengthy for typical standards of the genre will see you walking to the right and hitting people. 2 of the stages offer other throwbacks but I think half the joy is to discover them yourself.
The combat in The Takeover for the most part is the gold standard for Beat Em Ups in my humble opinion. The game offers an in-depth tutorial & a practice mode for you to try out combos and learn how to launch and juggle foes. There are special moves that take health but are extremely useful, screen-clearing attacks which require a meter to build and the RAGE mode. RAGE mode once available allows you to deal extra damage, take none and really ruin the bad guys day!.
Because The Takeover is a more modern title, the combat not only reflects that with its combos and juggling but also each character comes with strapped. These help with troublesome gang members and help those combos going. Weapons also appear and are the weakest part of the combat, be it sword or crowbar they attack in the same way, everytime and just feel a little stagnant, fortunately the guns make up for them. Dashing and jumping attacks are also present and work in the way you would expect.
Everything about the combat feels so smooth and good, the characters all feel different yet viable enough and the special moves are really helpful when you’re getting swarmed.
Despite playing with a number of the genre cliches the campaign manages to mix it up at several points and feels alot more fun for it. There is couch Co-OP but unfortunately missing online multiplayer which is a giant shame.
There are unlockable challenges, several difficulty modes, a new gameplay mode called Relay which uses the characters as lives and a hidden character, plenty to keep you coming back to beat that high score. You can also start Arcade at any level you have gotten to meaning you don’t have to commit to a full sitting.
While not doing much to further the genre, The Takeover oozes love for it and minor improvements that help make this title stand above its peers. Either a fan of the 90s or a fan of Beat Em Ups in general, you are guaranteed to find something to love about The Takeover & if you’re a fan of both? You’ll struggle to find anything not to love.
While not quite as gutsy as River City Girls it does offer the most consistently great 90s throwback beat em up action around, while titles like Raging Justice tried to tweak the formula and Streets of Rage 4 reminded everyone it’s a thing, The Takeover puts every title in the genre on notice and sends a firm warning to the upcoming Battletoads.
As a pure beat em up, The Takeover is untouchable. It doesn’t quite make it due to it remaining a little too close to it’s roots at times but for those looking for unfiltered, unadulterated 90s brawling action, you need The Takeover