Raging Justice Review
Reviewed on Nintendo SwitchAlso available on PC, Sony PlayStation 4 and Microsoft Xbox One
I was lucky enough to play Raging Justice last year at EGX and since then I had been patiently awaiting its arrival on my platform of choice, the Nintendo Switch. It was, and I mean this in the best possible way I assure you, a nasty, dirty, trashy game, something I imagined PTA groups would have tried to have banned back in the mid-90s for excessive violence and a generally crude tone. As such, I was all in. A throwback to 2D side scrolling fighters of the past, MakinGames have not shied away from their obvious retro inspiration on this title and for fans of the sub-genre I'd say this is a worthwhile entry.
For what it worth, because let's be fair, the story on these types of games are always a little thin, Raging Justice sees you play as 1 of 3 playable characters, cops Nikki Rage and Rick Justice (yes, really) and street smart kid Ashley King, who presumably was on a ride along being that he is only 15. Forced to battle through the streets against waves of dangerous criminals to prove that “no one is above the law”. This blurb turns out to be more than just ad campaign spin as it features into the one of the core game mechanics in how you the player choose to proceed. Do you go down the Good Cop route and actually arrest the bad guys or head down the Bad Cop route and just straight up murder the damned idiots foolish enough to flout the law in your city? There are two endings depending on with route you decide to take, with the Good Cop ending technically being the “best” ending, even if the Bad Cop route is wholly more satisfying. Especially when the game is so ready to give you a variety of different weapons from baseball bats, hammers and even ride-on lawnmowers to take the scum out. Like I said, nasty, but in the best possible way.
Visually, Raging Justice feels like a game that would have either come out during the Megadrive's life or possibly the beginning of the Playstation's. Perhaps a Sega Saturn game then. It's art style has received its share of detractors but it put me in mind of games such as Pit-Fighter and Mortal Kombat which I think was obviously the developers intention and as such I am fully onboard. The soundtrack is serviceable as there are no particular songs that stuck with me beyond playing but it works to put me in that frame of mind I had at the age of 10, playing beat-em-ups round a friend's house.
The gameplay is fairly standard for the genre as I think is to be expected, with basic attacks and throws backed up by special attacks – which hilariously involves whacking your enemies with your backpack in Ashley's case – though these cost portion of your overall health. Though progressing through the stages, getting both endings and racking up those high scores are all worthwhile, it's the 2-player co-op where I've always felt games like this shine and Raging Justice is no exception. Playing handheld – which is honestly how I play my Switch single player 99% of the time – pales in comparison to docking it, grabbing a joycon each and brawling your way through the game with a pal. The addition of survival modes that tally your scores adds extra playability if that's your sort of thing – I managed to place on the board very briefly in the first few days of the game being released though quickly fell off.