Double Dragon & Kunio-kun : Retro Brawler Bundle
Developed By : Arc System Works
Published By : Arc System Works
Category : Action, Sports, Fighting, Collection
Release Date : Feb 20, 2020
For as long as I’ve played Nintendo consoles, I always remember various entries being compilations of titles released on an earlier generation. Way back on the SNES we got Super Mario All-Stars which gave us four great Mario hits from the NES, one of those never having been released in the US until that point. Nowadays, we still get to see these bundles and compilations, and it they just grow with how many titles they can jam-pack together. Such is the case with the Double Dragon & Kunio-kun bundle which brings a staggering 18 classics together for you to enjoy on your Nintendo Switch.
Right off the bat, this bundle can be broken up into two groups. About a third of these games have been released in the US previously, while the remainder never have until now. One other thing this bundle can do right away is introduce players to the expansive world of Kunio-kun that they most likely never knew existed. I know I definitely fell into that latter category.
The Ones You Know…
Double Dragon II
Double Dragon III
Super Dodge Ball
River City Ransom
Crash’n the Boys Street Challenge
Seven of the titles released in this package should be very familiar to most players that grew up with the NES, or at least most of the seven. These include a trilogy of games that aren’t really connected to the expansive Kunio-kun franchise, and these are the Double Dragon games. These side-scrolling fighters have been massive hits for decades, and sit right at home on yet another Nintendo console.
Mixed with these are a few of the Western versions that we got of the Kunio-kun games, namely Renegade and Super Dodge Ball. These, at least, are the two titles I had been familiar with previously, and in playing them in this collection was where I learned that they were even connected. Why? Because in both these titles, the main character is named differently, meaning you wouldn’t know they were supposed to be the same person without doing a lot of digging.
All five of these titles were games I had grown up playing, so they were naturally the first ones I dipped into with this bundle. What’s great about them is they look and feel just the same as they did on the NES. Most of the games come with an “upgraded” version, which for the most part just fixes any sort of screen bugs or glitches, but the original version is there all the same.
…and the Ones You Don’t
Nekketsu Renegade Kunio-kun
Nekketsu High School Dodgeball Club
Downtown Nekketsu Story
Nekketsu High School Dodgeball Club – Soccer Story
Downtown Nekketsu March Super-Awesome Field Day
Downtown Special Kunio-kun’s Historical Period Drama
Go-Go! Nekketsu Hockey Club Slip-and-Slide Madness
Surprise! Nekketsu New Records! The Distant Gold Medal
Nekketsu Fighting Legend
Kunio-kun’s Nekketsu Soccer League
Nekketsu! Street Basketball All-Out Dunk Heroes
This chunk of games here is the real rhyme and reason for this bundle, and it will be a real eye-opener for most players. A lot of these are great sports installments from the 8-bit genre of gaming, but a good number of these titles are directly tied into the ones that had been previously released here.
One rather funny instance of this is Super Awesome Field Day. This particular title is actually set before Crash ‘n the Boys Street Challenge, so it fills in the gaps for a lot of players who’d only played the US released title and felt thrust into the middle of something that simply explained events that occurred “before”. Other connected titles in this package even include River City Ransom‘s direct sequel Historical Period Drama. It plays just the same as the original game did, but it’s setting of taking place during a drama presentation gives an excuse to change up the setting drastically.
There is a bit of story woven into the sport entries too, but let’s be honest…most people aren’t playing the sports games for a narrative (looking at you new Madden games…). Obviously, I’d never played these specific games before this bundle, but I have owned and played quite a bit of sports games on the NES before and it was easy to draw the similarities.
Hockey Club Slip-and-Slide Madness was apparently a game promised a while ago as coming “soon” which ended up being nearly three decades later…not “soon” enough. Still, I’m a huge hockey fan and couldn’t resist throwing this one on and getting sucked in. As soon as I hit the ice I felt transported back to Nintendo’s Ice Hockey which I have quite a few fond memories of from my childhood.
Out of all the sports game I had played on the NES though, I never got to try a basketball or soccer game. So I’ve never known what either sport felt like in the 8-Bit generation. Soccer League was a ton of fun to play, especially getting to do totally realistic moves such as riding the ball and/or other players on the field…ahem sorry pitch. Just the same with Basketball All-Out Dunk Heroes, who knew basketball could be played with six hoops on the court instead of just two?
A Little Something Extra
It’s great to throw together a ton of games in one neat package, and even sweeter that the majority of said games are being released to a new audience for the first time ever. The icing on the cake is that Arc System Works threw in a little bit more too. Earlier, I mentioned that some of the games came with bug fixes, and this applies all across the board as all these games are able to be played without any screen flickering.
What’s more, is they all have achievements too, so if you like going above and beyond to do something just to say you did it, these are here for you. Perhaps the juiciest bit of all is that players can now save and load the game whenever they want. That might not be necessary for a lot of the sports titles, but if you struggle with the old school beat-em-ups and hate being forced back to the start because you couldn’t nail the perfect combo with just your two buttons, fret no more.
In the end this bundle is incredibly difficult to pass up. For the price, it’s one hell of a sweet deal. Whether you’ll be playing these titles for the first time ever, or reliving your own childhood memories, the Double Dragon & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle is a must-have for any Switch owner. This is either a great way to introduce yourself to some classics, or to pick up a whole bunch of games for a lot cheaper than it would be to hunt down the original cartridges.