The dark moons began, bringing something ancient and evil to Double Bill Town. Dusty, Darg, and Kitsune are prompted by a visit from the helpless Elijah to set off and help the save the kidnapped children.
The unwitting heroes set off to seek the Iron Knight’s help. Along the way, they have to battle rogue villains, encounter ancient powers, and face the battle of their lives.
I could take or leave the story. I figured out the story twists right from the get-go. It is nothing new, different, or even interesting.
Dusty Raging Fist is an anthropomorphic animal that is part Streets of Rage inspired side scrolling beat-em-up with platforming sections. It has a somewhat unique feature that doesn’t work playing solo which is a shame.
At the start of a play session, you will be asked to pick one of the three characters who you would like to play: Dusty, the rebel Rabbit, Kitsune, the ninja Fox, or the towering hulk Elk, Darg.
Each has a somewhat loose, if not redundant specialty: Dusty is more crowd control, Kitsune is fast, agile DPS, and Darg is the standard, trusty tank. I tried all three characters, and for me, Darg is way overpowered. He can take a ton of damage and has some of the most potent attack combo finishers in the game.
The heroes will gain EXP as the levels go on by beating up waves of enemies or finding EXP in a chest placed throughout the level. At any time, EXP can be spent on leveling up heroes to expand move sets, elements to improve effects, expanding range, and also the support characters. All upgrades are carried across to any playable character.
The Sniper and Demolition Support
Be it going solo or with local co-op, the heroes will have access to long-range specialists. There is Snow, the world-class sniper who can take out the animals in the towers as well as dislodge crystals, as well as the Lion, Leo (yes, original name), who shoots rockets to destroy rocks and can stun enemies.
Why they help you is unclear. Snow joins after helping out the heroes from being shot in the back. Leo joins because he is just Leo and somehow Dusty and Darg know him.
Snow and Leo cannot be used over and over, instead, they have a meter that fills after one section is full, then you can use the support character. There is, however, a MAJOR drawback; these characters were designed for co-op. Once activated, the player’s Hero will stand still and is vulnerable to attacks, so without extra players for protection, they become a hindrance more than a help, more so on higher difficulties.
Fighting and Platforming
The fighting is simple, consisting of weak, strong, distance attacks, and dash. Combine the weak and strong attacks to perform combos to do more damage. While leveling up the heroes, more combos become unlocked as well as other helpful moves. For example, a dodge roll and slide. There is no real way to cancel out of an attack without the dash, and that is not instant, leaving the heroes open to unnecessary damage which, coupled with some button lag and missed inputs, gets annoying to say the least.
While playing, there are a couple of moments you get to enter vehicles to destroy wave upon wave of enemies or to pass over areas that cannot be traversed by foot. It was a good break from fighting the whole time.
Dash provides invulnerability frames for getting away from attacks as well as the ability to pass through enemies. It also helps with the platforming sections as it can be activated in mid-air, allowing platforms to be reached that a normal double jump would not.
The collision detection for some of the moving platforms is terrible. I clearly reached a platform above it but would get stuck on the edge and fall into a pit or lava, killing me. It got really frustrating as it happened a good five times in one section. Apart from the button lag and the collision detection, the game’s platforming was average: jump on moving platform, dodge fireballs, and jump off the platform being the typical scenario.
Within the game, there are three shared elements, Ice that is used to freeze enemies and seems to be more effective against living enemies, Lighting For stunning enemies and bonus damage to robots and lastly Darkness that pull enemies into the void. Along with personal elements Dusty wields Fire, Kitsune Wing and Darg Earth.
While attacking and defeating enemies, the power meter will fill up, and once it is full, a powerful attack that can kill every enemy on the screen with a damage buff can be triggered. The powerful attack used will depend on the elemental god that is picked before the start of each level.
The Bosses can be somewhat challenging at first. They do, however, telegraph their attacks fairly well. It is more about making sure that the Heroes dodge out the way rather than predicting an attack incoming. Also, each boss has a set attack pattern, so if you die, you learn what comes next. Do not, however, get me wrong – they can be somewhat tough.
Dust Raging Fist only supports local co-op and I never got to try it. I feel It is a missed opportunity to not have online co-op capabilities in today’s market.
With some refinements, Dusty Raging Fists could be a reasonably decent game. With a patch, most of the problems could be sorted. I hope the developers fix these frustrating issues in the future. The lack of online co-op is majorly disappointing, even more so for a game that is based around co-op play.
Both soundtrack and sound effects are hit and miss in Dusty Raging Fist.
The music itself is nothing unique or memorable. It really does not add to the action or the game.
The sound effects are decent. The changing of the elements makes all attacks sound different. The earth-based attacks sound heavy, whereas the ice attack has that frost-like tingle to the attacks. Unfortunately, the sound effects more than once disappeared through my playthrough.
There is, however, voice acting throughout the game. That’s a good thing as at times, I found it hard to read the text boxes, again though, it is not outstanding or memorable.
Visuals & Performance
Visually, Dusty Raging Fist is in short, stunning. It is a marriage of different visual styles. The backgrounds on each level are beautifully hand drawn and colourful. Dusty and his friends, and all the enemies, are also hand drawn and stand out against the backgrounds
The cutscenes remind me of the Japanese painting style Sumi-e (Ink wash paintings), the same manner as Okami, but more traditionally coloured. They all go together to make a good-looking game.
The performance could have been better. There were some button input lag, missed inputs, and general slowdowns in some fights that was very annoying and frustrating. With these issues, it was a let down for the game.
With Dusty Raging Fist being on the upper end of budget titles at USD $9.99, £8.09 GBP, it is a hard one to judge. If you like Streets of Rage, it could be a reasonable price for you. It has solid fighting mechanics and looks impressive.
For me, it had pacing issues and a few too many input problems. I would wait for a sale, personally.
Physical – No
Good fighting mechanics
Fully voice acted
Throw away story
Button input issues
Local co-op only