Double Dragon & Kunio-Kun: Retro Brawler Bundle (PS4, Switch)

Hey kids!  Are you ready for a video game history lesson?  Sure you are!  Anyway, back in the mid-80s, game maker Technos created one of the first brawlers featuring a character named Kunio.  He’s a hot-blooded high school student who sometimes gets into fights, but always stands up for his friends and against bullies.  His first arcade game was a hit in Japan, and they brought it to the US under the name Renegade.  A few graphical and name changes were made.  The character now sported a sleeveless leather jacket instead of a Japanese school uniform, and instead of locations like an outdoor train stop, you fought in places like an underground subway station.  It was a modest hit in the US and got a version on the NES, but it was nowhere near as big as the original game in Japan.  The bosses at Technos wanted to recreate that success in the US, so they tasked the team to make another brawler that would really appeal to overseas audiences.  So they created Double Dragon.  Needless to say, that was a huge hit with countless arcade sequels and ports, a cartoon, and even a live action movie (it was famously bad, but fun in a B-movie sort of way).  And now you can play almost every NES and Famicom version of the Double Dragon and Kunio-Kun series in a collection on the PS4 and Switch (reviewed on PS4 here).  It even includes Renegade’s ‘sequel’ River City Ransom, as well as sports spin off titles like Super Dodge Ball!  Yes!  Super Dodge Ball was my favorite sports video game until Wii Sports came along!

The menu for selecting these games looks exactly like the one found on the NES and SNES Mini Classics.  You can even have four quick save slots per game!  You can play couch multiplayer or even online, with nicknames and avatars you can unlock.  There’s a nice little brief history of each game, too.  Here’s a list of the US NES games on this collection.

Double Dragon 1, 2, and 3


Super Dodge Ball

River City Ransom

Crash N the Boyz Street Challenge

I’m just happy Super Dodge Ball is on here.  If I had any complaints, it’s that all the games on here are just the NES versions.  I would’ve loved to have the arcade games as well.  Or maybe other ports like the NEO GEO version of Super Dodge Ball.  Also, not EVERY Double Dragon and Kunio NES game is here.  Like Nintendo World Cup or Battletoads & Double Dragon.  I can understand why those aren’t on here, but it would’ve been neat to have them to get the complete package.

Next up are the Japanese Famicom games on this collection.  The cool thing is that Arc System Works took the time to translate these, so you can play them and know what’s going on.  I’ll give a brief description under each game since not everyone may know what these are.

Nekketsu Renegade Kunio-Kun

This is the first Kunio game, otherwise known as Renegade in the US.

Nekketsu High School Dodge Ball Club

This is Super Dodge Ball.  Except here you start as the Japanese team instead of the US team.

Downtown Nekketsu Story

And this is their River City Ransom.  Nekketsu is the name of Kunio’s high school, by the way.

Nekketsu High School Dodge Ball Club: Soccer Story

This is a soccer game and we got it in the US under the name Nintendo World Cup.  That version’s not on this collection, but at least we get to play the Japanese game.  I always wanted to play this game since I was such a big fan of Super Dodge Ball, but it was never at the game rental places near my house, and I wasn’t going to buy it since I wasn’t that big of a soccer fan anyway.  Now that I got to play it, I have to say I like Super Dodge Ball way more.

Downtown Nekketsu March Super-Awesome Field Day

This is like a track and field game except with an urban setting and you can pick up weapons and beat up the other players!  I guess this would be considered one of the first Parkour games, maybe?  It’s really hard, too.  The sequel to this game would be brought to the US under the name Crash N The Boyz Street Challenge.

Downtown Special Kunio-Kun Historical Period Drama

It’s like River City Ransom except set in feudal Japan.  So instead of urban settings, you explore the countrysides and villages sell things like soba and tempura instead of burgers.  I like the variety in the settings and it seems to have more of an emphasis on exploration over fighting.

Go Go Nekketsu Hockey Club Slip and Slide Madness

This is a hockey game and I hear it was actually almost brought to the US back in the day.  And I wish it would have, because it’s very fun and pick up and playable!

Surprise Nekketsu New Records!  The Distant Gold Medal

Again, this is the sequel to that ‘Super-Awesome Field Day’ game, and we got it as that Crash N The Boyz title with some graphical and name changes.  Both games are really hard, though!

Nekketsu Fighting Legend

This is a four player fighting game featuring Kunio characters.

Kunio-Kun’s Nekketsu Soccer League

This is the sequel to the first soccer game, and features things like weather effects and field changes that can affect your movement.

Nekketsu Street Basketball All-Out Dunk Heroes

And last is this street basketball game.  Like the soccer game, this one is hard and I had a tough time figuring things out.

And those are all the games!  If I had one other problem, it’s that since these are all NES and Famicom games, some are a bit basic while others are really obtuse.  Even greats like River City Ransom felt that way to me a bit.  But if you are a fan of Double Dragon and/or Kunio games, you really should get this collection!

Kid Factor

Double Dragon & Kunio-Kun: Retro Brawler Bundle is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Fantasy Violence.  You can punch and kick others and use weapons, but the characters are so pixelly and cartoony that it negates a lot of the violence.  I played a lot of these games as a kid and I turned out OK anyway.  Reading skill is helpful for the text, and younger players may find these games too difficult.  Most of the games have a two-player mode, though, so it’s great to play with friends and family and even online!

One Response to “Double Dragon & Kunio-Kun: Retro Brawler Bundle (PS4, Switch)”

  1. Interesting collection of games. I’d like to try a lot of these. I’ve only played Double Dragon and River City Ransom.

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