Double Dragon & Kunio-Kun: Retro Brawler Bundle Reviews
Double Dragon & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle is a great piece of video game history for beat-em-up enthusiasts the world over. The once niche and Japanese-exclusive library of Kunio-kun games are playable in English for the first time, and while some of them haven't aged well enough to warrant extended play sessions, the in-game achievement system and Online Play add oodles of replayability to otherwise minorly novel Famicom classics. The lack of a gallery mode and alternate console editions of each game keeps the collection from being perfect though.
While I can’t say that every game is a winner in this collection, those that are vastly outshine the lesser offerings. This bundle is a must have for any lovers of old side scrolling beat ‘em ups and more arcadey sports games, especially for those who want to play with friends.
In summary, Kunio’s catchphrase “Don’t underestimate me!” perfectly describes the content of this compilation. Do not be surprised to find most of these decades-old Famicom games among your go-to choices when you have friends around.
The Double Dragon & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle is a quirky, cool, unique release that gives players a big dose of retro gaming including several titles that have never been published stateside.
You might come to Double Dragon & Kunio-kun: Retro Brawler Bundle for Double Dragon and River City Ransom, but you'll likely stay for the sheer variety of mayhem and play experiences that it has to offer.
The Double Dragon & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle brings a lot of novelty with its new NES translations, but the retro games on offer will hold little value to anyone not already familiar with the Technōs catalog.
Would you ever want to go back to Nekketsu High School Dodgeball Club – Soccer Story after playing this, then? Well, perhaps; the unpredictable aspect that the weather system brings to the table might not always be what you’re in the mood for, so when you’re feeling that way and still fancy a kickabout, the previous game still has value. For the most part, though, Nekketsu Soccer League is the superior game in almost every regard — and, like its predecessor, is once again appealing and playable even to those of us who aren’t fans of the real-life “beautiful game”!
While the Famicom isn’t particularly known or well-regarded for its lineup of fighting games — it was really the 16-bit console era where it really started to shine — Nekketsu Fighting Legend is an example of how an 8-bit fighting game can work well. It doesn’t overcomplicate things, it makes use of mechanics and conventions that will be familiar to those who grew up with the beat ’em up genre, and, like the other Kunio-kun games, is absolutely packed with personality and good humour.
Grab some friends, though, and this is a raucously silly fun time that you’ll all have an absolute blast with. Follow up with some of the other Kunio-kun sports games and you’ve got an evening of quality group entertainment ahead of you. If you’re all on your tod, though, maybe stick to stuff designed specifically to be played solo like Downtown Nekketsu Story and Downtown Special Kunio-kun’s Historical Period Drama!
This aside, though, Nekketsu Hockey Club is a fun game that it’s worth spending some time with if you’re interested in enjoying the complete Kunio-kun saga. It’s definitely worth a pop if you’ve got some friends willing to give it a go, as like most of the other Kunio-kun sports games, Nekketsu Hockey Club is very much designed to be a fun video game rather than an accurate simulation of a real-life sport. Just how I’ve always liked it.
Is it better than Downtown Nekketsu Story? Debatable — but if you enjoyed that game, you should absolutely give Downtown Special Kunio-kun’s Historical Period Drama! a go, at least!
Still, at least we can enjoy it in English now thanks to the Double Dragon and Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle. So if you’re yet to play this joyfully silly game for yourself, grab some mates and give it a go now. Just remember: playing dirty is part of the fun!
Thankfully, that original context is now easy as pie to enjoy in English thanks to the Double Dragon and Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Collection — so even if you’re a raging soccer-hater like I am, I encourage you to give Nekketsu High School Dodgeball Club – Soccer Story a go. You might just find yourself very pleasantly surprised with how enjoyable this game is!
Nekketsu High School Dodgeball Club takes a bit of getting into; I wouldn’t fault anyone for bouncing off it after a quick go, believing it to be shallow or unintuitive. You can level the exact same accusations at Nekketsu Renegade Kunio-kun — but just like that game, Nekketsu High School Dodgeball Club rewards continued engagement and a concerted attempt to understand its mechanics. Mastery of what the game offers won’t come quickly, but it’s rewarding when it does — and in the meantime, the multiplayer mode is great fun, too.
Nekketsu Renegade Kunio-kun is tough, and compared to many modern beat ’em ups it will likely feel more than a little clunky. But take the time to get to know it and there are some satisfying fighting mechanics here — plus it’s always fun to see the genesis of what would go on to become a well-established genre, as well as the beginning of a series beloved the world over.
Overall, Double Dragon and Kunio-Kun: Retro Brawler Bundle is a very good compilation. The games are classics, with enough oddball gems to intrigue anyone looking for the oddities in the Famicom lineup. A majority of the games here are translated Japanese titles, so much of this content will be new to most players. The upgrades in quality mean that you're ultimately getting a better version compared to a straight rom dump. These are still difficult games, and the lack of extras feels like a missed opportunity, but this is a great title to add to any retro fan's library.
For the quality included in Double Dragon & Kunio-kun: Retro Brawler Bundle, it feels as if Arc System Works isn't onto a winner here. In fact, when giving it a little thought, it's hard to understand why this collection is needed at all.
Fans of Double Dragon and/or Kunio-kun can find a lot in this collection to enjoy but some things hold it back from being a must have.
Also the ice hockey game is legit fantastic. Lastly, the handful of games localized into English for the first time are wonderful to experience, regardless of their overall quality. This Kunio-kun collection might not be the best or even most necessary retro compilation, but it's a damn good one that I'm thrilled to see out in the west.
The games themselves, today, I’d score 2/10. The effort put into this bundle, 8/10. Let’s meet in the middle.