Have You Played? is an endless stream of game recommendations. One a day, every day of the year, perhaps for all time.
With an army of palleteswapped streetpunks, health-restoring food hidden in trash cans, fragile melee weapons, rare firearms, and cheery electronic music, Action Doom 2: Urban Brawl [official site] is the finest Streets of Rage homage beat ’em up I’ve played in years. Even more impressive is that the free game does this from a first-person perspective in a modified version of the Doom engine.
The combat’s simple, but that’s Streets of Rage for you. Punch, side-step, backpedal, and grab whatever weapons you can find, including the usual selection of knives, pipes, broken bottles, and boards with a nail driven through. Everything works as you’d expect, and at first it’s simply delightful to discover that. Even the way enemies bounce when dying is right. Zeno Clash a few years later would do first-person beating with advanced moves like counter-attacks, but this is straight-up arcade action.
It also has a branching story with different endings. Oh, the story’s some generic thing about a drunk, disgraced, slur-spitting ex-cop out to rescue his daughter, but I cheated my way around a bit after finishing it and was surprised to discover bits I’d never seen. That’s nice, that.
Action Doom 2 is a free standalone download. And no, it’s no relation to Action Quake 2 and whatnot.