Streets Of Rogue is a chaotic playground of cunning tricks, slapstick violence, and endless, endless laughter. We’ve been playing it together muchly here lately, in fact you could say we Can’t Stop Playing it.
An important feature we’ve not discussed yet is the custom character creator. This lets you combine the wacky traits and abilities from other characters to make your own little pixel person. It is brilliant. Streets Of Rogue wants you to have fun, to the extent that there’s little to stop you from, oh, I don’t know, recreating characters from your favourite novels and films. Let’s see how that went.
1. Black Dynamite
I’m not going to do a Blynamite voice. I’m not that white.
I start on the streets, the lowest of the low. Helping out the cause, I see a scumbag selling that new smack in a local bar, and give him what was coming. I run a few jobs for the so-called rebellion, and it’s how it always is. Dealers, mobsters, slave-running scum, they all go down. I call in some backup and we take it to town. Suckers all best hide when Black Dynamite comes around.
There’s not a tonne to write about this one, but it was tremendous fun. Kicking in doors and cracking heads is a cinch with someone so sturdy, and the friend phone (a device that summons allies) surrounds you with more unflinching martial artists. Subtlety is pointless when you can slam down anyone, and since BD uses nunchucks and guns it’s not cheating to whip out a weapon in a tight spot.
Eventually the inevitable happens, and my brother Bullhorn falls in battle. Your death will not go unavenged! Except when it does.
This run would have gone better if the city hadn’t been invaded by sick-ass flesh chompin’ fools. BD just can’t handle that much gunfire and goes down in an absolute mess of warring cannibals and soldiers. I’ve no idea who killed him. The Man, I suppose.
Rogue rating: Righteous. A perfect character for brawling. He resists knockback so just keep striding and punching. All gangsters attack on sight, and you should fight dealers, slavers and cops too. Luck into perks that increase knockback and wall damage and you’ll have trouble going back to characters who can’t simply kung fu everyone 20 metres through a building.
2. Monsieur Gustave
The Grand Budapest Hotel
Lobby boy: missing. Rebellion: burning. Briefcase: stolen (by us). Reputation: tattered. What else?
It doesn’t do for a fellow to have no company in a crisis. Gustave uses his free hire vouchers to recruit a gangster whose manner impressed him. The bloody fool only got himself butchered by those brutes. How absolutely monstrous. Soon after that, we got zombies. One mustn’t speak ill of the dead, or so they say. Why do they say that, anyway? Are we to celebrate every arsehole who gets himself killed? The dead are ghastly and should stay still. I understood that to be the one upside of the whole enterprise.
Strategic use of the friend phone to call in other friendly hotel staff delayed, then fed the corpse army. Fortunately Gus found a flamethrower and things got a bit Seth Grahame-Smith.
L’Air de Panache! A good bottle of cologne can make the entire city a friendly place. Fucking marvellous. And here at last is a little respite. I really must write to Oliver at the Regent and thank him. In fact perhaps I’ll call him now. Excuse me, bartender. You wouldn’t happen to… no, no. I am most certainly not a famous murderer and art thief, and in fact… well now there’s simply no need to involve the police in… Oh shitting hell.
Gus makes it through most of the Downtown district, but those open canals and roaming supercops simply overwhelm him. He leaves a sad little purple-clad body staring up at the stars. If this do be the end, “Farewell!” cried the wounded piper-boy…
Rogue rating: Absurd. Surprisingly capable if you avoid the police. Gustave should rarely be alone, so use and top up on cologne and friend phones. A gang of Gustaves will circle around a fight uncannily like a mustachioed toff boxer from the 1800s. But they’ll keep hostiles busy, and don’t forget you can equip them with gear.
3. Hester Shaw
This place is clearly a traction city. Tiered districts, no exports, contained environments connected by lifts. A corrupt mayor, brutal violence in the street, carts and trains crushing the poor workers and slaves under their wheels. It’s decided.
I breeze it with Hester. She’s perfect in the industrial zone, surrounded by fire and machinery, casually offing a trio of doctors without a second thought. I usually can’t resist freeing captives, but playing as Hester is liberating. Instead of getting killed for them, I simply nope out. Fighting cannibals in the park also seems fitting, especially when I shoot one and escape while the others eat him. Ew.
I kill a vampire, I blow up a boiler by flinging a shuriken through a window and off a wall, I leave a soldier trapped between cannibals and zombies. Hester simply ignores most of a zombie level; she’d steal an airship and leave the city to die. By the time I get to Downtown and start getting shaken down by the mafia, I honestly think they’re the ones who are lucky there are cops nearby. And then it happens.
That’s just… this is perfect.
The killer robot with the rocket launcher demolishes the controlled game I’ve played. I escape with a teleporter and then… I run into a sodding train. To be honest, it’s probably what she deserves.
Rogue rating: Ruthless. Vulnerable but lethal, relies heavily on stealth and fast, hard kills. She’ll get no backup, but she wound up with about $400 before I even noticed. A real mission machine, and with the right perks could be unstoppable. I had loads of fun with Hester (said nobody from Mortal Engines ever).
Have you ever needed the toilet? I mean really needed one? That’s my entire life. I lurk in the depths, small, alone, and hungry. Hungry for… well, the point is I get by.
My adventure starts in the slums, where a passing corporate lackey immediately takes exception to my tiny naked green body and chases me through the street. A gangster joins in. A pair of locals follow suit. I peg it around the block until they give up. Of course, every time I try this, someone else wanders and joins the chase.
This goes on for some time.
Eventually I realise that if I really do lurk, and take any opportunity to bite an isolated target, I can thin out the herd. I smash a lot of windows and jump people who investigate, then ask those who don’t flee or attack an important question:
Where, please, are the toilets? It gets ridiculous. I see precisely one toilet in the whole of the first two districts, and nobody’s using it.
Revised mission: track down the Mayor and ask them to install more toilets throughout the city.
The raging hunger aside, ghoulie life isn’t so bad. I don’t care who lives or dies and every attacker is potential food as long as I don’t get cornered. I just really, really need the bog. I poison many air conditioners, steal my weight in loot, and chow down on many victims until I literally bite off too much, and get clubbed to death while feeding.
Rogue rating: Testacular. A fragile, harried character who must strategically injure itself to enable bite attacks. In particular, climbing through windows, which takes a little health off you each time. You heal any time you kill, so if you take your hits on your own terms you can become very dangerous. The toilets thing is fun but very rarely an option.
It can be done, though.
5. Internet Brain Genius
The mind of that one guy on every website
I’m the smartest person in this town and it’s about time everyone knew it. Some may insist that there’s no reason I have to get into every building I see even if it means kicking the door in. Well, I have every right, and it’s not my problem if they’re too ignorant to understand that.
I befriend a bouncer who agreed that it’s not a slur if it’s ironic. Smart guy. He could be as smart as me one day, once he realises you have to be modest.
The scientists he was guarding had no sense of humour. I explained that actually, comedy is meant to be transgressive, and therefore anything transgressive is good comedy, but they wouldn’t hear it. That’s how it went – some people got it and some people were just too small-minded. If I saw someone smash down a wall and tell a brilliant joke in my house, for free, I’d be grateful. But try telling these sheep that. My best joke made the slavemasters and the cops laugh, and who knows more about slavery than a slaver? Exactly.
After that I explained to the local gangs that they all looked the same to me so therefore they should stop fighting. They got offended so I made it into a joke, and a crowd started to gather. One of them punched me and I lashed out, but like, ironically, and then I lost track of who was cool and who was actually the real racists, and… I got a bit carried away.
I hid in a warehouse but get censored by a poisoned dart trap. My teleporter zapped me out of there, but the toxins were too much.
I bet you… won’t even… post… this!
Rogue rating: Horrifying. The IBG (“Ibby” to his definitely real friends) has the ‘joke’ power, making missions as simple as asking for the safe combination. He works best if you overpower him with more wall smashing abilities or the infinite melee mutator, so he can crash through any wall, mangle anyone who challenges him, and free speech across the land. I could not have designed a better end for him than “overcome with toxicity”.
As you can see, Streets of Rogue has a lot going on. I see more possibilities every time, and I still haven’t tried every character, let alone the ones I haven’t invented yet. And these are just a few of the ones whose abilities were rationed enough to keep their points beneath the “overpowered” threshold (I had to cut Oliver Mellors from this because I just couldn’t do justice to his anti-industrial, anticapitalist machine-bombing rampages without sacrificing his strength, or handcuffs), which merely disqualifies them from unlocking new things.
“Can’t stop playing” might well turn out to be a literal curse.