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CONSOLE: PlayStation 2 DEVELOPER: Hamster PUBLISHER: Hamster
RELEASE DATE (NA): January 26, 2006 GENRE: Beat-'em-up
// review by SoyBomb

Beating someone up on a budget.

Long before Hamster Corporation absolutely flooded the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 with a thousand arcade and Neo Geo titles, they were dropping classic arcade titles on the PlayStation 2 in the "Oretachi Gēsen Zoku" or "Our Game Center Family" series, a collection of budget arcade ports sold for 2000 yen. (I had fun translating that phrase. Depending on which website I used, I picked up strange translations such as "We, the Gersen tribe" and "My Gaea plug family".) Each game in the series also comes with a promotional mini-DVD, a mini-CD of remixed game music, a collectible card with the original arcade flyer printed on it, an enclosed instruction book, and a strategy guidebook for the game. I thought I'd take a look at the port of Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun, seeing as how I've been looking extensively at the series for a while.

Despite all the goodies that come with the game, aside from a few fancy logos prior, you're basically playing with a ROM of Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun and little else. It's not a re-imaginging or remasters like the Sega Ages collection, for example; it's literally the arcade ROM dumped and emulated. You're Kunio, a high school student seeking revenge against a series of gangs who have been excessively bullying your classmate, Hiroshi. Once you actually succeed in defeating the highest gang member, you get the thrill of...starting from scratch and doing it all over again until you die.

It's still as hard as ever, with only one life to get through the entire game and the enemies being brutally merciless. At least you can plunk in as many credits as you like, but really, you can only win the game on one credit alone, so it doesn't matter how many tokens you decide to "insert". The controls are...a little different than I imagined. I have no idea why Kunio's jump is set to the triangle button. It's awkward and out of the way, especially when trying to jump kick. Considering the jump kick is the only saving grace to an otherwise overly taxing set of brawls. So, basically, they biffed the controls to make it somehow even MORE difficult. How 'bout that...

The question in our hands now is whether or not this re-release on the PlayStation 2 is worth the 2000¥ (currently about 17.80 USD) price tag. Considering all the neat extras you get — a guide book, a collectible card, a mini-CD of all of Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-kun's Greatest Hits — it does look to be of good value. If you're just looking for the game itself, however, I honestly wouldn't bother. It's not that great of a game. Besides, you can easily invest in the far superior Renegade for the NES/Famicom for a fraction of the price, either via cartridge found in every used game shop worth its weight in bean curd or on Nintendo's classic Virtual Consoles. Your call, though, if you're a sucker for the gritty classics.


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