Streets of Fury EX is a heavily improved version of a game that previously appeared on XBOX Live Indie Games. This might sound like a warning sign, and as you might expect, the presentation is as low budget as you can possibly get. Somewhat shockingly, however, there have been so many improvements since the game's update on Steam that it's actually a surprisingly playable beat-em-up, one where its goofiness only serves to enhance the game beneath. The best possible way to describe it would be some kind of bizarre cross of Guardian Heroes and Guardians of the 'Hood, so if that idea intrigues you at all, this might be your game.
Street gangs have taken over Paris, and the French government logically decides the only way to stop them is to hire an LA street gang to go around and beat them up. There’s a total of fifteen playable characters, ten of which need to be unlocked by progressing through the game. Also, for some reason, YouTube personality Benzaie is a playable character, and most of his moves revolve around crotches.
The action takes place across a multi-lane backdrop, where up to four players can usually hop from one lane to another freely. Every character gets a pretty wide variety of moves, including a few combo strings, heavy attacks for launching enemies, and a variety of special and super moves. If you use all of these things together, you can start to string together massive combos, something with the game puts a pretty big focus on. You can launch enemies into the air for mid-air combos, bounce them off the ground for a juggle, which you can go into a special move from, which cancels into one of your supers, and so on. You’re given a lot of freedom to do whatever kind of crazy combos you want, which is especially fun when you're dealing with a bunch of enemies.
The game does a pretty good job of keeping the enemy variety up as well, and you’ll even find old enemies getting new moves as you progress. Every enemy has a very specific tactic, which the game introduces to you in a short cutscene whenever they're introduced. Some can instantly break your guard, while some can rapidly attack with nunchaku. The game's best moments are when it launches a flood of enemies at you at once, where you can plow through them and watch your combo counter skyrocket, if you're careful.
The combat engine is pretty solid, although the boring backgrounds and lack of variety starts to show after a while. What makes the game really memorable, however, is just how unapologetically cheesy it is. The graphics are digitized in a Mortal Kombat fashion, including a recurring enemy that makes a cheesy pose at the camera every time he appears on screen. It gives the game a wonderfully low budget feel that looks like the digitized brawlers of old, yet thankfully, plays much better. There are better beat-em-ups on Steam, to be sure, but the solid gameplay mechanics and the sheer goofy charm of this one make it worth it.