As you rack up points on Streets of Rage 4, your overall lifetime score gradually unlocks a full roster of retro characters from past Streets of Rage games.

Here's how to unlock all the bonus characters in Streets of Rage 4, as well as some tips on how to get the high scores you need to do it.

How to Unlock Streets of Rage 4 Characters

When you first boot up Streets of Rage 4, there's a locked character slot on the selection screen, along with a ton of conspicuously empty space.

The locked character, Adam, is easy to get. Just complete Stage 4 to get his triumphant introduction scene, and he'll be available afterwards.

The rest of the character slots are taken up by most of the playable cast of the last three Streets of Rage games, who look and play just as they did in the 16-bit days. They don't have the defensive specials or specific Star Moves that the SoR4 characters do, but seem to have an edge on raw damage. They're also a little more mobile by default; unlike SoR4 Axel and Blaze, their throwback versions can actually run.

(They aren't the only nod to Streets of Rage's retro roots in SoR4, either. Be sure to check out the hidden throwback fights.)

Each of these characters is a reward for reaching a certain overall score, as measured by the meter that gradually fills up at the end of each successfully completed stage. If you're aiming to unlock every available character, you're in for the long haul, as you need to reach a total lifetime score of 1,150,000 points.

Character

Unlock Conditions

Adam Hunter

Clear Stage 4 on any difficulty.

SoR1 Axel

Score 200,000 points.

SoR1 Adam

Score 250,000 points.

SoR1 Blaze

Score 310,000 points.

SoR2 Max

Score 390,000 points.

SoR2 Axel

Score 480,00 points.

SoR2 Blaze

Score 570,000 points.

SoR2 Skate

Score 650,000 points.

SoR3 Axel

Score 730,000 points.

SoR3 Blaze

Score 840,000 points.

SoR3 Skate

Score 940,000 points.

SoR3 Dr. Zan

Score 1,050,000 points.

SoR3 Shiva

Score 1,150,000 points.

This is almost the entire Streets of Rage roster, with the unfortunate exception of SoR3's Roo, the boxing kangaroo. Roo does make a cameo towards the end of Stage 6, though, so at least everyone's still technically here.

You can unlock three Trophies/achievements in Streets of Rage 4--All Clear: SOR1, All Clear: SOR2, and All Clear: SOR3--by clearing the entirety of the game's story mode with retro characters from each past game.

There's also a truly hard-to-get Trophy/achievement, Bleeding Knuckles, that's locked behind a lifetime score of 5,000,000. If you're aiming for 100% completion, SoR4 will make you work for it.

So how do you get the kinds of scores you need to complete the roster? It's not difficult to get a solid 200,000 points over your first run through Normal mode, but getting up to 1,150,000, let alone five million, may seem like it could take forever.

Here are some high score tips:

  • Never use the offered assistance when you reach a game over screen. While you can get a lot of extra lives and Star Moves from this bonus, it also inflicts a significant negative multiplier on your final score.
  • Take as little damage as possible, and always go for a perfect clear in every level. In addition to the points you get at the end of each stage for your remaining health pool, you get big bonuses in each level when you pick up food at 100% health. If you're unhurt and grab a turkey, that's a cool 1,000 points. (This doesn't mean that you should grab food before your wounded co-op buddies can take it, though. Have some class.)
  • Don't drop your combos. You get increasingly impressive bonuses for landing long unbroken combos on enemies in each level, but only if the combo times out. If you get hit in the middle of a combo, which the game announces by flashing "BREAK!" on your side of the screen, the combo ends and you receive no extra points for it.
  • There are also three trophies, Combo Pro, Combo Expert, and Combo Master, which are awarded when you successfully complete a combo that does 100, 500, and 1,000 damage, respectively. Combo Master is easier to do on Mania difficulty, when even standard enemies have so much health that you can sit there and combo them for days without scoring a knockout.
  • Try not to use your Star Moves if you can avoid it. You get 500 points for each one that you still have in stock at the end of a cleared level. On the other hand, if you can extend a combo by landing a Star Move on a big crowd at the right time, you'll end up with more points from that than you'd gain by still having the Star Move banked. Use your best judgment.
  • Be sure to take on all four of the retro bosses. Even if you lose the fight, you're just kicked back out into the regular stage no worse for wear. If you win, you get some extra points for the victory, as well as a free Star Move.

You also get trophies for clearing story mode as each one of the starting characters, as well as 2,000 point bonuses for the first time you clear a stage with a particular member of the cast. Sit down and work your way through the game with every character you have, doing your best to avoid damage and rack up your combo meter, and you'll be surprised how fast the points flow in.

While you're here, feel free to check out some of our other tips, tricks, and articles, including news on other brawlers, fighters, and action games:

The best thing about the 16-bit characters in Streets of Rage 4 is that you can finally give Wood Oak City the deep clean it deserves, by taking on all comers with a full 4-player team of Axel Stones. Downside: you will hear the words "Grand Upper!" in your dreams for the rest of your life. Share your own great ideas that have absolutely no attached downside with us via our official Twitter, @PrimaGames.