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(Hyper Anime Studios)
"Double Dragon Play, River City Ransom style!"
Once again, the thugs
have invaded the streets, turning the once peaceful Japanese city into
a crime-infested that only vigilantes Kunio and Riki could restore to order.
But this time the bad guys have a strategy; separate the fighting team
of Kunio and Riki, then finish them both while they are divided!
You play both Kunio
and Riki in Kunio Kun. Unleash your devastating multi-fist attack, or pummel
your opponents with a spinning drill. With multiple enemies, multiple fighting
moves, and four levels of action concluding in a grand tournament, Kunio
Kun brings the popular beat 'em up series from Technos Japan to your PC!
The use of animation and visual effects to stimulate the senses
|Good. What impressed me most about Kunio
Kun's graphics are the huge, well-drawn backgrounds. Instead of a tileish
look, the battlegrounds where Kunio Kun take place in massive, hand-drawn
cityscapes that emphasize the urban look that Hyper Anime Studios was trying
to capture for their River-city Ransom style game.
The low point of Kunio Kun is a choppy
framerate, which is compensated by the absence of flicker and fair game
speed. The enemies and characters in Kunio Kun also have plenty of animation
frames, making the various fighting moves easily discernable and fun to
watch. Not only are the special moves well-animated, but the frames for
getting hit are pretty numerous as well. It's all drawn with that typical
yellow Hyper Anime look, and while it doesn't have the dazzle of Bakuen
Sakuru, the graphics are still good.
The smooth blend of atmospheric sounds and original harmonies
|Hyper Anime gambled a bit in the sound
and music category by forcing the requirement of a 100% compatible Sound
Blaster sound card. There's no sound-off option either, so if you don't
have a sound card that's compatible with Kunio Kun your system will freeze
up. So don't try playing Kunio Kun unless you have a 100% compatible Sound
Blaster Card ready.
If Kunio Kun runs successfully on your
computer though, you're in for a surprise. While Kunio Kun lacks sound
effects, the game comes with a huge WAV file making up the game's music.
And if that isn't enough, the kicker is that the WAV file is a recording
of the NES game River City Ransom's music! Since the music isn't original
material though, Hyper Anime can't get full points in this category. But
having the authentic music from the River City Ransom series really helps
add an authentic atmosphere to Hyper Anime's game.
|Gameplay (n.)The precision of control
and involvement of character within its universe
|Think of Kunio Kun as a Double Dragon
game with River City Ransom's fighting moves. You alternate between playing
Kunio and Riki while playing a straightforward battle against rival gangs.
Once you defeat all the thugs in each level, you get to face a boss, who
usually has a lot more life and must be dealt with more carefully. Should
you lose on the way to the final boss, you have a limited number of continues
that put you back to the beginning of the last level you passed.
Once nice thing about Kunio Kun is at it
immediately sets the standard for the number of moves that each character
ought to have in a QB beat-em 'up style game. Kunio and Riki can punch,
kick, stomp, throw, block and perform several special techniques that can
be performed by pressing one or a combination of three attack buttons (a
punch button, a kick button, and a block button). While you don't have
to mix up your attacks to win the game, having the flexibility to beat
up the enemies on screen from any position is a great plus.
What you won't find from this River City
Ransom-type game are some of the features that only die-hard River City
Ransom fans (like Hyper Anime Studios) are aware about. People who have
played the old NES game will remember the attribute-increase system, the
ability to purchase special techniques, and other extras that have made
River City Ransom such a popular yet unsung game. These features are absent
from Kunio Kun, but the number of fighting moves at your disposal from
the beginning of the game make up for these missing elements easily, and
in fact make Kunio Kun somewhat unique in it's own right.
The creativity and presentation of the game's critical plot
|First off, it's very difficult to earn
any story points if your story is based on popular commercial videogame
characters. Many QB games and clones have received a smattering in the
Story category because of this. However, Kunio Kun is in a unique position,
in the sense that the characters are familiar, but the plot was never really
expanded on very well by Technos Japan, the people who made Renegade and
River City Ransom (the games that inspired QB's Kunio Kun) possible.
Second, instead of regurgitating the same
storyline from the games to which it was inspired, Kunio Kun takes the
plotline of the River City Ransom series and takes it's own unique spin
on the story. Instead of defending the city from a high-school takeover,
Kunio and Riki are split apart and you're forced to take on the gang from
two different fronts. This twist to the story not only makes the story
elements original, but it forces the gameplay to move in a new and innovative
Finally, Hyper Anime added some original
demos to compliment their original spin off the River City Ransom series.
Between battles you're treated to some cutscenes that use a mixture of
dialogue and action, typical of Hyper Anime QB games like Puzzle Bomber
Plus, Bakuen Sakuru, and most recently Kunio Kun. Overall, the only other
complaint to the fact that the characters are not original, there's a lack
of a story skip feature; while you're watching the game's cutscenes, you
can't skip the cutscene altogether until it is done. These are both really
minor crimps to Kunio Kun that add up to the one-point penalty in the story
score, though. Hyper Anime did a superb job.
|Replay Value (n.)
The timelessness of the gamer's delight, such that the experience
can be repeated again and again
|This is where Kunio Kun really capitalizes
for being one of the first QB beat 'em up games ever made. Not only that,
but Hyper Anime Studios chose to make a beat-up game based on an unsung
brawler instead of a more popular, tried and true game like Double Dragon
or Streets of Rage. Of course, a good QB Double Dragon or Streets of Rage
clone could shine in it's own right, but choosing an unorthodox route like
a River City Ransom clone and getting the fighting elements of that series
down is unexpected and enjoyable.
Even if you haven't played River City Ransom,
the gameplay in Kunio Kun can be pretty deep if you give it a chance. You
have plenty of throwing, close-up, and running moves to mix up, much like
Double Dragon. The only two factors that keep the Replay value score from
being excellent is a smoother framerate, a scoring system, or at least
some two-player simultaneous action.
To strike the mental nerve in such a way as to stimulate human thought
|Challenge comes not from the enemy AI,
but from learning how to play Kunio and Riki. The difference between the
two are slight, in the sense that the basic moves are the same, but the
special techniques are different. You don't get to choose whether you get
to play Kunio or Riki for each level, so to beat Kunio Kun you have to
get pretty good with both of them.
Once you do learn how to play your characters
well, spacing becomes the critical part of the game. Your more powerful
moves generally hit in only one direction, and leave you very open for
an attack from behind. Sometimes it's just a matter of running until your
position is right, but in the later levels you also have a timer to watch
over, so you have to work on efficiency. The challenge may be average,
but it's not as easy as it looks.
|Fun Factor (n.)
The overall entertainment value as maintained throughout the adventure
|Fans of River City Ransom may not be fully
impressed with Kunio Kun simply because it lacks some the added bonuses
that make River City Ransom a classic, such as shops and two-player simultaneous
support. But if you take that aside and actually compare Kunio Kun to all
the QB fighters and beat 'em ups that have been made so far, Kunio Kun
easily does a good job of putting the competition in it's place.
So why only three points? Perhaps Hyper
Anime Studios sees the same thing I see. While Kunio Kun sets up a lot
of groundwork on how a QB beat-'em up game is supposed to be done, there's
definitely room for improvement. Hyper Anime has crazy visions of a two-player
simultaneous mode and other features that would certainly point to the
right direction for Kunio Kun, but QB game developers can stretch their
beat 'em ups in any direction they choose.
What Kunio Kun does set a shining example
for is setting up the basics. With plenty of fighting moves at your disposal
and several stages to play, this QB brawler is the game I think plenty
of fighting game fans have been waiting for in QB. They just have to forget
the days when fighting meant Street Fighting one-on-one style, and remember
the days when a good videogame barfight is all about fighting the entire
Kunio Kun Reviewed by Vance Velez
||Genre: Arcade/Beat 'em Up
||To solve: 30 min-1 hour Final Rating: 22/35
To download this game, click here.
Kun requires a 100% Sound-Blaster compatible card .
play Kunio Kun, unzip the file and run "ROWDY.BAT".
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