AKA: Double Dragon || 熱血硬派くにおくん番外乱闘編 II Technos 1990
Original Post Date: October 21, 2019
The first of the prolific Kunio Kun series of games to appear in handheld form, Bangai Rantou Hen is best known for its bizarre localization. When brought to the US, it was heavily edited and repackaged to fit the Double Dragon franchise.
It serves as a direct sequel to the original Kunio game, and as such, is one of the few games in the series that plays like a straightforward beat ’em up, with no RPG nor exploration elements found.
The game is divided into three main rounds, represented on a map via short cutscenes. Each contain a number of stages for a total of 10 stages throughout the game.
Most levels end with a boss encounter, and the bosses are significantly more interesting than the cookie-cutter gang leaders found in Downtown Monogatari. You’ll fight a boxer, a strongman, even a massive sumo wrestler.
The stage environments are nice and varied, often paying homage to the series’ roots, though the enemy assortment is fairly small, with only a few enemy types found throughout the game. Given its short length, the battle will be won (or lost) before they grow painfully repetitive.
The mechanics found here are nice and simple – you have a kick and a punch button, with no standard jumping option. Instead pressing both buttons simultaneously will place Kunio in a crouching animation, at which point a button can be pressed to leap into the air with a rising uppercut, the most crucial technique in the game.
You can also stomp on a downed opponent by pressing attacking when close to them. Besides your specials, you also have your standard combos as well as a grab performed by closing in on a stunned enemy, a la Renegade.
I was pleasantly surprised by Bangai Rantou Hen, to the point where I’d call it my second favorite game in the entire Kunio series – it serves a roll which had gone unfulfilled by each of the countless Famicom follow-ups to the original game, that being a simple, straightforward, and solid beat ’em up utilizing the cutesy artstyle that Kunio was already famous for at this time.
It fills a void in the series, and does so tremendously.