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Kunio-kun

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Nekketsu Kōkō Dodge Ball Bu (熱血高校ドッジボール部) / Super Dodge Ball - Arcade, NES, PC Engine, X68000, PlayStation 2, Game Boy Advance, Wii, WiiU, 3DS (1987)

Japanese Famicom Cover

American NES Cover

Super Dodge Ball marks the beginning of the Kunio sports line, taking the gym class favorite to new levels of craziness. The object is merely to pound the hell out of your opponents by running and slinging the ball of them as hard as you can. If you time it right, you can catch the ball before it hits you and send it flying back. Certain characters also have super moves - some throws will blow past the enemy then boomerang back, while others will send out multiple balls to anihilate your foes. Super Dodge Ball became most notable for its over-the-top cartoon violence, as getting hit by a powerful attack would send characters flying dozens of feet into the air and around the screen. And losing all of your power doesn't just mean you are out of the game - no, it kills you, as departed characters escape the mortal coil by turning into an angel. You can play as various teams from around the world, with the final match warping you to another dimension where you play against your doppelgangers. Totally crazy, indeed, but massively fun.

There are also minor differences between the American and Japanese versions. The main characters are the Japanese team in the Famicom version, while they're switched to American for the NES version. As a result, the order of the levels is somewhat different.

There were a few ports of Super Dodge Ball, though Westerners are most familiar with the NES version, featuring three on three matches. Unfortunately, it's marred by tons and tons of slowdown, and ungodly amounts of flicker. The choppiness certainly doesn't help when you're trying to grab a ball that's careening straight towards your head. Still, the gameplay was so fun that most never minded back in the NES days. Today, it's easy to see how much smoother the other versions are. The Japanese arcade and PC Engine versions have cutscenes between levels, including an intro where some random jerkass pelts Kunio in the back of the head, then takes off. The matches are four-on-four here, with one absurdly large character and three smaller ones on each side. Characters on the sidelines can also through the ball at opponents for damage - in the NES game, it would just stun them. Still, the character sprites seem a little bizarre, as the NES game is more consistent with the look of the rest of the series, but it's nothing major. The X68000 port is pretty much an exact arcade port. Much like Renegade, Super Dodge Ball was also released for the PlayStation 2 in the Oretachi Game Center series. The original Famicom version was also brought to the Game Boy Advance on the Kunio-Kun Nekketsu Collection Vol. 1 in 2005.

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  • Mitsuhiro Yoshida

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Super Dodge Ball (Arcade)

Super Dodge Ball (NES)

Super Dodge Ball (NES)



Comparison Screenshots


Nekketsu Kōkō Dodgeball Bu Kyōteki! Tōkyū Senshi no Maki (熱血高校ドッジボール部 強敵!闘球戦士の巻) - Game Boy (1991)

Cover

The dodgeball game on the Game Boy could have been great, if it wheren't for the unresponsive controls, especially with the directions. Holding down a direction while attempting to steer towards another one will make the character keep going into the direction he was headed before. The game has a story mode, a versus mode, and a bean ball mode. The bean ball mode is a little abusive, since the CPU tends to go only against you. Good thing the Game Boy controls are the same as the NES version, so you should have no problems playing the game. The game in Story Mode will indicate the character with the ball, and the targetted opponent, by having that character flicker, and that is the only flickering in the game. There is slowdown in the game, but only when the ball is not in the hands of a player or opponent.

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  • Shōji Wada

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Nekketsu Kōkō Dodgeball (Game Boy)

Nekketsu Kōkō Dodgeball (Game Boy)


Kunio-kun no Dodge Ball Da Yo: Zenin Shūgo - Super Famicom, Wii (1993)

Cover

The first true seqel to Super Dodge Ball, Zenin Shugo ("All-Member Gathering", very loosely translated) adds an incredible amount of customization options to the game - unfortunately, they're all buried in extremely cumbersome menus that are confusing even if you know the language. While the graphics are a step above its predecessor, the gameplay is approximately as choppy as the NES version, which is a real let down after the smoothness of the arcade and PC Engine games.

Kunio-Kun no Dodge Ball (Super Famicom)

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  • Mitsuhiro Yoshida

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Kunio-Kun no Dodge Ball (Super Famicom)

Kunio-Kun no Dodge Ball (Super Famicom)


Super Dodge Ball / Kunio no Nekketsu Tōkyū Densetsu - Neo Geo (1996)

Cover

Super Dodge Ball for the Neo Geo was one of the last titles published by Technos before they closed their doors. It takes its cues from other SNK fighting games, delivering incredibly large characters, a camera that scales in and out a la Samurai Shodown, and screen-shaking tremors whenever you knock an enemy to the ground. The gameplay itself isn't radically different from its predecessors, but it now moves at a lightning-fast pace. Taking a note from The King of Fighters, there's a power gauge that can be filled up by holding down the A and B buttons or by taking damage. Special attacks are executed with fighting game-style joystick motions. The art style is significantly different from other games in the series, with a stylized manga geel - although Kunio and Riki are present, the rest of the characters are a bizarre mix of Japanese schoolgirls and balding musclemen, most of whom are based off of bosses from the original Renegade/Nekketsu Kōha arcade game. So obviously, there are no more international teams. The setting is in a theme park, which makes for lots of crazy stages, one of which features hopping lowriders in the background.

Combined with the fantastic graphics and an awesomely rocking soundtrack, the Neo Geo Super Dodge Ball is perhaps the best of the series gameplay-wise, even if it lacks customization and options compared to the other entries.

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Super Dodge Ball (Neo Geo)

Super Dodge Ball (Neo Geo)

Super Dodge Ball (Neo Geo)



Super Dodge Ball Advance / Dodgeball Fighters - Game Boy Advance (2001)

American Cover

Japanese Cover

After Technos went out of business, their intelectual properties were transferred to a development team called Million, who went on to create this game, Super Dodge Ball Advance, as well as Double Dragon Advance. Super Dodge Ball Advance was a Gameboy Advance launch title, and it attempts to distance itself from its lineage by removing the Kunio characters and art style. It does look a little bizzare, being that the squat chaps have been replaced by lanky dorks with silly haircuts and the inclusion of a jailbait-y manager is a little weird. But Million did a pretty job of replicating the fun of the previous titles.

While the gameplay is pretty much the same as the original NES game (other than the new graphics and a few new special moves), it doesn't have any of the slowdown or flickering, making it much preferable to the original. The portable format makes it excellent for quick games too.

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Super Dodge Ball Advance (Game Boy Advance)

Super Dodge Ball Advance (Game Boy Advance)



Super Dodge Ball Brawlers - NDS (2008)

Japanese Cover

American Cover

Super Dodge Ball Brawlers for the DS brings Kunio and pals back into the game, which is a welcome change from the doofuses in Super Dodge Ball Advance. Taking a cue from River City Ransom, you earn cash after each successful match, which can be used to buy power-ups at a store. Bits of debris will also occasionally fall onto the playing field (including huge vending machines) which can be chucked at the other team. There's also a team-wide special ability that you can activate once your power bar is filled up, which occurs over the course of the match. Unfortunately, the method to execute the super attacks has changed - you need to run (and count) five steps before you throw the ball, otherwise your attack will be unsuccessful. As a result, they're much harder to pull off. Additionally, the game speed seems to have taken a hit. The North American version is a bit faster than the Japanese release, but it still feels too slow.

In addition to the standard Tournament and Versus modes, there's also a free for all Brawl mode, allowing eight players to run around a field without boundaries, grabbing the ball and chucking it at each other. It's shallow but fun. Overall, it's kind of a one step forward, three steps back deal compared to the GBA game. At least it offers wireless multiplayer, which the GBA game was sorely lacking, but no WiFi play over the internet.

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Super Dodge Ball Brawlers (NDS)

Super Dodge Ball Brawlers (NDS)



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Other Beat-'em-ups

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