Spikeout: Battle Street is trying very hard to kick it old-school. It hearkens back to a simpler time, when Final Fight and Streets of Rage were king, and walking around with the sole purpose of beating the living crap out of anyone in your way was the order of the day. This arcade-style brawler actually sounds pretty wicked on paper. It offers beat-'em-up gameplay with a large gang of playable characters to choose from and unlock. It lets you play alone through a story mode, as well as with up to three other players. And those three other players don't need to be in the same room, since Spikeout has cooperative play over Xbox Live. Sounds cool, right? Unfortunately, this would-be renaissance is marred by a pretty serious problem. The game itself is lousy.
Spiiiikerrrrrs! Come out to playyyyeeeyaaaay!
Battle Street is an arcade-style game that breaks down into a couple of different ways to play. The story mode is a single-player adventure that takes you through the story of the always-capitalized place known as DIESEL TOWN. You'll start your quest as Spike Jr., a roughneck sort of guy who gets wrapped up in a full-on gang war. Well, make that a team war. The game seems to shy away from the G-word, instead talking about all the different teams running around the city. Like the classic film The Warriors, each area seems to have its own ill-intentioned sets and crews. Unlike The Warriors, you'll never get to see any baseballers with mime paint on. Bummer.
Story mode has you playing as different characters as you make your way through the game's areas. Along the way, you'll watch poorly designed cutscenes and listen to some terrible voice acting. Battle street mode eschews all the story junk and simply serves up the stages in order. This mode lets you play with up to four players either on one console or via Xbox Live. The difficulty seems to scale up slightly as you add players, but not in such a way that would maintain the game's same level of challenge. Also, story mode's much more difficult because it doesn't let you continue. Here, you can enable continues and tweak a few other settings as well. All this adds up to a game that you'll finish in two hours or fewer. After that...do it again. You do want to unlock every single character, don't you?