Nekketsu Oyako

Nekketsu Oyako cover
PlayStation One Sony

Nekketsu Oyako

熱血親子 || Tecnosoft 1994
Original Post Date: October 6, 2019

Nekketsu Oyako is a sprite-based beat ’em up released exclusively for the PlayStation and Sega Saturn, serving as a launch title for the PS1. Despite its console exclusivity, it was designed with many of the conventions of arcade gaming in mind, and thus is often mistaken as being an arcade port.

Like many beat ’em ups of its kind, it supports cooperative play, and features three unique playable characters, those comprising the titular hot-blooded family.

The father, Rando, is the slow but powerful grappling type character, with a wide array of grab options and a dashing uppercut. The daughter, Rio, wields a hammer granting her superior range and a vast assortment of aerial options, as well as a spin attack. The son, Tora, is intended to be the balanced-type character, but with his insanely broken special move, the rapid swing of a blade, ends up being the easiest to use.

Each character has their own dash which can be mapped to a single button, plus their own life-draining desperation attack. More than most beat ’em ups, Nekketsu Oyako emphasizes heavy usage of weapons, as you’ll rarely go more than a few enemies without finding something to pick up, including knives, grenades, boomerangs, or various guns.

There’s even a bazooka which only Rando is powerful enough to wield, while regular guns are unable to fit in his hands. Humorously, there’s even a beer item as a health pickup which only he may utilize.

There are five levels in Nekketsu Oyako, each of which experiment with unique and even wacky settings. Stage 2 has your hero fighting their way out of a whale’s stomach, while the third level features a surprise rollercoaster segment, a unique spin on the average beat ’em up elevator level.

Technically, Nekketsu Oyako has some issues which are understandable given its early release date. The game is heavy on lag, especially with a second player, and the characters’ normal attacks are strangely ineffective, making heavy usage of special moves the go-to strategy in most cases.

Luckily, these flaws fail to detract from the quirky charm found in Nekketsu Oyako, so it ends up having just the perfect level of jank.

Rating: 8/10

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