The Takeover (Review) Nintendo Switch

The Takeover (Review) Nintendo Switch
Review Score:

The Takeover by developer Pelikan13 is a 2.5D side-scrolling beat ‘em up that pays homage to games like Tecomo’s Double Dragon, Capcom’s Final Fight and Sega’s Streets of Rage series. As one of three street brawlers, the player is tasked with cleaning up the streets of Steel Haven; a city rife with crime and gang activity. In addition, police officer Ethan Rivers and his girlfriend’s daughter have been kidnapped, further adding urgency to the situation. 

On the surface, The Takeover can easily be mistaken for a cookie-cutter beat ‘em up with a wafer-thin premise. This all changes the moment the game starts. It’s evident from the first punch that The Takeover is essentially a ‘love letter’ to Sega’s critically-acclaimed beat ‘em up series, Streets of Rage, and everything – from the gameplay to the controls – feel polished and impactful.

Before starting the game, the player is presented with the following ‘game’ modes: Arcade, Challenge, Survival and Practice. Arcade mode, as the name implies, is the main game itself. The player chooses from one of three available street brawlers, and then fights through 7 levels (comprised of 20 locations) to clean the streets of Steel Haven. Survival mode, on the other hand, involves battling an infinite number of foes until defeat. (This mode is essentially no different than the ‘Survival’ mode(s) found in other beat ‘em ups.) 

Last, but certainly not least, is Challenge mode. This mode is different from survival in that it provides the player with conditions that must be completed. For example: the player may have to complete a level without using special moves, or be required to pick up stars that are dropped by defeated enemies, to name just a few. While not as difficult as ‘Survival’ mode, Challenge mode is fun to play and is guaranteed to ‘challenge’ (sic) the player.

Gameplay is a combination of both fast-paced, fist-cuff action and Streets of Rage-like combat mechanics. This all comes together in a smooth, cohesive experience, as the player punches and kicks their way through the game’s gritty, urban environments.   Attacking is relegated to both the A and X buttons, being ‘punch’ and ‘kick’ respectively. Jumping is achieved by pressing the B button, and ‘special’ attacks – which deplete the player’s health over time – can be executed by pressing Y button. 

Combos are the bread and butter of the combat system, and it doesn’t limit the player to predetermined attack strings either. While fighting, the player can press the A and X buttons in different orders to produce a number of lengthy, skull-crushing attacks. Team tactics are also present in this game. For example: When a second player is involved, the first player can ‘grab’ an enemy; jump behind them to ‘restrain’ them; and the second player can then move in to finish the enemy off. 

If punching and kicking isn’t exciting enough, the game provides a variety of weapons that range from crowbars to katana swords, to handguns and assault rifles, to name just a few. These weapons can be found throughout the game, and they can be taken from enemies (when they are beaten to the ground) or sometimes found laying randomly on the ground. In addition to this, there are breakable objects in the playfield such as barrels, crates, and newspaper vending machines (among others) that contain food (i.e. apples, hamburgers, etc.,) to replenish health and currency.

The overall feel of this game is very reminiscent of Streets of Rage (and maybe even Capcom’s Final Fight where the boss encounters are concerned), and it all comes together well. The Takeover doesn’t feel or play like a clone; it’s a standalone experience that can stand on its own merits. It’s pretty obvious by playing The Takeover that the developer had a comprehensive understanding  of the beat ‘em up genre, and they clearly understood what worked and what actually didn’t; its felt throughout the game.

The in-game soundtrack is no different. Every track is memorable, and they fit their respective levels perfectly. This may be due to game composer, Yuzo Koshiro, being hired to oversee the soundtrack for this release. The quality of the music is definitely a sign of his prescience during the development of The Takover, and it shouldn’t be ignored. 

 The Takeover’s entire presentation is quality from start to finish. More gamers should give it a try, especially if they’re finished playing Streets of Rage 4; the very game that overshadowed the release of this highly addictive, arcade quality beat ‘em up. As it stands, The Takover has all the tropes of being a classic.

Mike Pittaro
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Developer: Pelikan13
Publisher: Antonios Pelekanos
ESRB: T (Teen)
Price: $19.99

Review Score
Graphicswww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Semi-realistic 2D sprites and gritty, urban environments.
Soundwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Game composer Yuzo Koshiro; need I say more?
Gameplaywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Classic beat 'em up action that mirrors the greats in the genre (i.e. Streets of Rage series, Final Fight etc,.)
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Fans of the beat 'em up genre need to experience this soon-to-be cult classic.
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