Tag Archives: Arcade

Double Dragon

Reviews
Double Dragon Arcade - Title Screen
Arcade
06/1987 (Japan), 1987 (US), 1987 (PAL)
双截龍 (ダブルドラゴン)
Yoshihisa Kishimoto and his team significantly evolved the beat-em-genre with Nekketsu Kouha Kunio kun/Renegade in 1986. Technos Japan naturally wanted them to make more of these games, so they were tasked with just that. June 1987 would be the arcade birth of not only an even bigger success for Technos Japan than Kunio kun, but also the birth of another beat-em-up franchise and further evolution of the genre: Double Dragon. Originally envisioned as a direct sequel to Kunio kun, Kishimoto was given two mandates: This game should allow for 2 players simultaneously and have a bigger international appeal. Given that Kunio kun had to be visually gutted in order to sell it overseas as Renegade, a direct sequel was pretty much out of the question. So instead of taking inspiration from the Tsuppari genre and his own high school fighting experiences, Kishimoto pulled from another source that was dear to him: Bruce Lee. He particularly loved "Enter the Dragon", and so he came up with not only the title of the game but also the names of the protagonists (Billy and Jimmy Lee) from these sources. Continue Reading

Nekketsu Kouha Kunio kun

Reviews
Nekketsu Kouha Kunio kun Arcade - Title Screen
Arcade
05/1986 (Japan), 12/1986 (US)
熱血硬派くにおくん
Hot Blooded Tough Guy Kunio
Renegade
Delinquent high school students talking tough and beating each other up in school uniforms while sporting distinct hair styles is probably not unfamiliar to those who enjoy Japanese media. This genre, called "tsuppari" (or "yankii"/"yankee" as we got into the 90s), was very prevalent in from the 1970s through the 1990s. Technos Japan's Nekketsu Kouha Kunio kun ("Hot Blooded Tough Guy Kunio") was the video game front runner for this genre, proceeding even one of the most well known representations of tsuppari, a manga series called "Crows". It's unclear how much inspiration was actually taken from other media, but in a 2013 interview director Yoshihisa Kishimoto said that the game reflected his own high school experience. Continue Reading

Double Dragon

Reviews
Double Dragon (Famicom) - Title Screen
Famicom/NES
04/08/1988 (Japan), 06/1988 (US), 1990 (PAL)
双截龍 (ダブルドラゴン)
Almost a year after the original arcade hit, Double Dragon was brought home to the Famicom. This is the first of the handful of home ports that Japan would see of this game, and the NES version is probably among the first to be seen throughout the rest of the world (the microcomputer versions don't have exact dates associated with them, other than just 1988). The Famicom port probably didn't deliver the experience that big fans of the arcade version wanted, but it succeeded on its own merits. Continue Reading

Nekketsu Kouha Kunio kun

Reviews
Famicom/NES
04/17/1987 (Japan), 01/1988 (US)
熱血硬派くにおくん
Hot Blooded Tough Guy Kunio
Renegade
Famicom ports of early arcade games often turned out to be far cries from their originals, though they meant well. Development on the Famicom just hadn't been refined to the point where truly accurate ports of these titles were feasible, and these were the days where arcade technology was so far beyond home console technology that it was often impossible. Kunio's Famicom port changes up a great many things from the original. The most noticeable is a graphical style that's significantly closer than the arcade version to that which the Kunio series would become so well known for in its next installment. The music is also incredibly faithful to the original version. There's an alternating 2 player mode here, which was typical for Famicom beat-em-ups of the time. Each player can also select one of three levels, which seem to do nothing more than change the stage backgrounds between daytime, dusk, and nighttime. Power ups will also appear periodically that will refill health, or temporarily increase strength or speed. Continue Reading

Gradius

Reviews
Famicom/NES
04/25/1986 (Japan), 12/1986 (US), 11/30/1988 (PAL)
グラディウス
Gradius was certainly not the first shoot 'em up to grace arcades with its presence, in fact many big names came before it. Space Invaders, Xevious, Galaxian, Ozma Wars, and even western titles like Asteroids and Defender all came first. So why was Gradius significant? Not only did it introduce several "characters" that would reoccur throughout the Konami universe (The very ship that you control called the Vic Viper, Moai heads, etc), but because it fleshed out the details of exactly what the average game in the shoot 'em up genre would become: A game about strict power-up management and pattern observation/memorization. This may sound like a negative point, but Shoot 'em up fans (myself included) have largely long since embraced what the genre is, and they really have Gradius to thank for making it that way. Continue Reading
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