So….how many of you all know about Gekido or even the GBA sequel Kintaro’s Revenge feat Tetsuo? I’ll wait……not many do and it’s a shame as these are some of the greatest beat-em ups ever made since Double Dragon, Final Fight, and Streets of Rage. It’s been 16 years since the original Gekido: Kintaro’s Revenge’s release on the GBA and NAPS Team wanted to bring back this chapter in the classic franchise (hopefully we get this series revived).
NAPS Team is the development studio responsible for the Gekido series, and this is the second title in the series (There was a 4th game in the works called Gekido: The Dark Angel however it was cancelled); previous installments appeared on the original Gameboy (which was cancelled) GBA and the Playstation. On the Playstation, they tried to bring the beat-em-up into the 3D realm, which worked fairly well for many people, but then they chose to keep Gekido purely in the 2D realm. Their artistic skills should put most other developers to shame. With rich hues, environments drawn in lush reds, greens, and blues, these are among the finest Neo-Geo inspired graphics to date on Nintendo's hybrid-handheld.
Kintaro’s Revenge is a beat-em-up like you have never seen before, it has a lot of adventure in it, not everything consists on annihilating everything you see. The game centers on the character Tetsuo and the strange goings-on occurring in a small village. Obviously, he will fight enemies and he has quite a number of attacks to use. I am really impressed how far beyond the simple kick and punch this game goes. These chapters are not linear.
There is actually a point beyond bashing heads, and this isn't a minor point. The traditional problem with beat-em-ups is that they are basically a twenty-second game dragged out across an hour or two. Move a character left to right, pummeling on an assortment of comic-book villains, then walk five steps, and repeat, repeat, repeat. That's a recipe for sheer boredom.
Gekido plays out more like the classic River City Ransom, with its interconnecting buildings, rooms, streets, and pathways. When the game begins, Tetsuo, the young hero, visits a village, speaking to various people and gathering clues. He can talk to the villagers, explore areas and acquire items to enter other areas such as keys or lanterns for dark locations. It is not as complex as it sounds, but it isn't all that simple either, particularly in a couple of the later chapters.
The action harks back to the Streets of Rage series, Final Fight. Yet Gekido is different. As well as the action there is an adventure aspect to the game that makes it unlike any other. Keys must be found for doors, lanterns must be found to go underground, the player must converse with townsfolk to find clues of where to go. The game couldn't be described as an RPG, but it does borrow certain elements. The button set up is fully customizable however at the time of writing the D-Pad is not able to be used for the movement, so you’re left with the left analog stick. You have your punch, kick, jump, and dash buttons as well as a screen clearing move by pressing punch, kick, and jump all at once.
Enemies in the game only appear at set times, not including the ones that pop up out of the ground that are optional to defeat. If you clear an area you are not required to defeat any enemies for a while unless an event triggers them to return. You can freely explore most places once you have wiped out the enemies. Note I'm using the word explore loosely here; this isn't Metroid or Castlevania I'm talking about but more so River City Ransom.
The in-game sound also deserves an award for best ingame music since Streets of Rage 2: the music is some of the best quality and most original around on any system. It changes in style depending on the situation - from calm and tranquil in the villages and countryside, moody and full of suspense for dungeons and caves, to jazzy and fast in action scenes. It’s hard to explain but whoever was responsible deserves praise for both music design and getting it to sound so good.
The newly added features in this remastered version of the game are:
2 Player Co-op
Added New Soundtracks
New Video/Audio options with ability to play with old or new assets
A Rogue-like “Relic Hunter” Mode
There is honestly no diference in the versions of this game on modern day consoles so whatever you decided to play this on post-GBA is going to be a definitive experience of this game. This game succeeds in nearly every way. It is challenging with great graphics, music, and gameplay. The control is very good. It isn't a typical brawler; it really does add some depth to the genre. This videogame genre never needed to go away; it just needs some fresh blood and that’s exactly what Gekido does in droves. I love this game, KASANOVA APPROVED. Gekido: Kintaro's Revenge is now available on Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch!