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Kunio-kun

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River City Ransom

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Downtown Special: Kunio-kun no Jidaigeki Dayo - Zenin Shūgou! (ダウンタウンスペシャル くにおくんの時代劇だよ全員集合!) - Famicom, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, Wii, WiiU, 3DS (1991)

Famicom Cover

The "true" sequel to River City Ransom that removes the setting from the modern day and takes players back in time to feudal Japan. (A "jidaigeki" is a term for a period drama similar to Akira Kurosawa's films. Whether this game is meant to show Kunio's ancestors or simply being a play put on by the Nekketsu characters isn't entirely clear.) With Kunio taking on the role of "Kunimasa", the goal is to go through the country to find medicine for your master, all while beating up any rival gangs you come across. Unlike River City Ransom, which was fairly linear, Kunio-kun no Jidaigeki allows you to freely explore the landscape. This may sound like an interesting idea, but it tends to get really confusing quickly. You also seem to spend more time running around empty screens than you actually do any fighting. There is a map showing the location of rival gangs, although it's a bit on the vague side. The individual stage layouts are far more advanced than River City Ransom, with many sloped platforms, pits, and rivers.

Downtown Special (Famicom)

Additionally, you always have a partner helping you, even in single player mode. Unfortunately, the extra character sprite, combined with some of the fancy background effects, spells plenty of slowdown for the poor old Famicom. There are still shops where you can purchase items and techniques, although the stat growth system is a bit different. You gain experience by beating up enemies, and you can choose how fast different stats will grow. The password system is replaced with a battery save system. Despite its technical flaws and confusing layout, it's a pretty cool game, even if it isn't quite up to River City Ransom's caliber. This was also ported to the Game Boy, and released on the Game Boy Advance in 2006 as part of the Kunio-Kun Nekketsu Collection Vol. 3.

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  • M. Yoshida

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Downtown Special (Famicom)

Downtown Special (Famicom)

Downtown Special (Famicom)


Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun: Bangai Rantō Hen (熱血硬派くにおくん 番外乱闘編) / Double Dragon II - Game Boy, 3DS (1989)

Japanese Cover

American Cover

On the surface, Nekketsu Bangai Rantō Hen looks like a junior version of River City Ransom, but it's really just a straightforward brawler with very poor controls. You can punch, kick and execute a few combos, but oddly enough, you can't really jump - by pressing both buttons simultaneously, you crouch in a defenseive stance instead. Hit a button and you'll execute a flying uppercut. Although the two-player mode offers some merit, it's otherwise a poor miniaturization of the series.

There's an interesting story behind this game's localization - Acclaim bought the rights to this title, but didn't want to publish it with the Kunio characters. So they changed everything - the character sprites, the background, even the music - to resemble a Double Dragon game. Otherwise, it plays exactly the same. Considering how closely intertwined the two series are, it isn't that much of a stretch. But they titled the game Double Dragon II, even though it's nothing like the arcade or NES game of the same title.

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  • Shinichi Saito

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Bangai Rantouhen (Game Boy)

Bangai Rantouhen (Game Boy)


Comparison Screenshots


Shodai Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun (初代 熱血硬派くにおくん) - Super Famicom (1992)

Cover

Kunio and his friends from Nekketsu High go on a field trip to Osaka and soon, they get involved in the skirmishes of the Osaka Union gang. Riki also shows up in the city, allowing you to play the game with a friend. This was Technos' first game on the Super Famicom, and a direct sequel to Renegade. It's a beat-'em-up with RPG elements, and some refer to it as "River City Ransom 2", but it is quite a bit different for many reasons. You cannot purchase items like in River City Ransom, but you get them in vending machines, and instead of items to raise stats, you gain levels by earning experience. Kunio and Riki learn techniques from flying kicks to suplex throws, and ki powers to increase speed and health. The graphics are also less cartoony than most of the other games, similar to the original Renegade.

Unlike River City Ransom, where you fought gangs, here you fight anyone from bikers to sports men, and even middle aged-people and businessmen. Of course, the usual punks from school are still there, too. Though you can use weapons, it is not the same as using them in River City Ransom, but there are some silly new ones, like pillows, briefcases, and even megaphones.

As far as music goes, the main theme of the Osaka area is a remixed version of the first stage of the arcade Renegade. The rest is pretty good as well, and the punches sound just as good.

Though the game is short, there is enough action in it and a lot of places to go. The only thing that can be held against this game is the random battles. Though you can walk just around anyone, there are times where you are forced to fight, and can't escape unless you have a ki ability that allows you to. At least you are helped by some NPCs at times, but this also tends to work against you due to the 2-Player Hit "feature", which cannot be disabled. The game, like most of the series, suffers from slowdown when the screen is busy with lots of characters. Still, it is a decent beat-'em-up, and one of the better games in the series.

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  • Norihiro Sawada
  • Noboru Tsuda
  • Yoshihisa Kishimoto

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Shodai Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun (Super Famicom)

Shodai Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun (Super Famicom)



Shin Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun: Kunio Tachi no Banka (新・熱血硬派くにおたちの挽歌) - Super Famicom (1994)

Cover

Kunio and his pal Riki are framed for a hit and run. Rumors on a Kunio look-alike go around soon, and Kunio wants to clear his name, so he breaks out from jail. This starts another sequel to Renegade, if not the definitive sequel, which literally translates to "Super Hot-Blooded Rowdy Kunio: Kunio's Elegy".

The game is another beat-'em-up, which plays strangely similar to Combatribes. Though some things from there can't be done here, what you can do makes up for it. Other than punching and kicking, you can attack from behind and block, and while blocking, you perform special moves with each of the attack buttons, which range from spinning kicks to backfist attacks to machine gun punches. Like in most of the Technos games, you can sit on top of opponents and bash them up until they are out, and if you don't want to do that, you can at least stomp them. While jumping, you can hang onto ledges by pressing a button and kick in them. The game can be played alone or with a friend, and during the game, Misako and Kyouko, Kunio's and Riki's girlfriends, get to join in with their different set of moves.

Shin Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun (Super Famicom)

Other than beating the crap out of opponents on the streets, amusement parks, and docks, you get to ride on a motorcycle! You get chased around by bikers - two players can play here, with the first player controlling the bike and the second one riding on the back. You have to kick your opponents off and out of the way if you don't want to end up on the street. It is a refreshing change of pace from the regular side-scrolling brawling.

The music in the game is awesome, some of the best in the series. All characters from the original Renegade return in this game. Hiroshi (Kunio's friend who gets beaten before each stage in the first Renegade), Shinji, Misuzu, and Sabu (second, third, and last stage boss of Renegade, respectively) are in the game with similar roles from the original, but far better developed. There are also some other original bosses, like Takayama, the cop who arrests you and makes it a priority to nip you back in the bud. The game uses a password system, and there area passwords for almost every scene in the game, even for the ending. Kunio Tachi No Banka is definitely the best Kunio-kun beat-'em-up on the Super Famicom, if not the best overall.

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  • Almanic

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  • Yoshihisa Kishimoto

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Shin Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun (Super Famicom)

Shin Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun (Super Famicom)

Shin Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun (Super Famicom)

Shin Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun (Super Famicom)



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Page 1:
Renegade
River City Ransom

Page 2:
Other Beat-'em-ups

Page 3:
Dodgeball

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Other Ball Sports

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Other

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