Sunday, January 24, 2021

Action Sports Game Review: Downtown Nekketsu March: Super Awesome Field Day!

2020 was by any account a terrible year. But even terrible years have some good in them, and one good treat for gamers last year was the release of Double Dragon & Kunio-kun Retro Brawler Bundle by Arc System Works. This officially brought all of Tecmo's Kunio-kun Famicom games to English speaking gamers for the first time ever.

One of the most entertaining games of the bunch is Downtown Nekketsu March: Super Awesome Field Day!, known in Japan as Downtown Nekketsu March: Let's Go to the Great Athletic Meet.

In Downtown Nekketsu March: Super Awesome Field Day!, the goal is to choose one of six students from Nekketsu High School to compete in several events. The school with the highest amount of points at the end is declared the winner. Rounds, or laps, as well as time, can be selected in the menu for each event.

The first event out the gate, Cross Country, or XCountry as it is displayed in-game, shows exactly what kind of game you are in for, as the athletes run through the city. As this is a Kunio-kun game, you have the ability to hit your opponents, as well as pick objects off of the ground to use as weapons. The portions of the track are quite a lot of fun, as they involve the usual such as running along city streets and along rooftops, and the strange, such as running through houses past people sitting down to enjoy a meal, as well as the unusual, such as climbing up a building parkour-style and swimming in sewers.

The second event, Obstacle, is a Sasuke or Ninja Warrior-style obstacle course where the goal is to get to the end of the event first while running and jumping through obstacles such as trampoline platforms, conveyor belts, and hands that come out of doors as you walk by. In essence, it is a precursor to modern games of this type, such as Doritos Crash Course.

The third event, Ballbreak, is aptly titled as the event has the athletes climb a pole to reach a ball, and the goal is to be the first to break the ball. As usual, you can punch and kick your opponents and use picked-up objects to keep them from reaching the pole first. Once on the pole, you can punch and kick your opponents off the pole as well.

The martial arts competition, or M.A. as it is displayed in-game, is the minigame that is the most like Tecmo's regular Kunio-kun or Double Dragon brawlers, with the exception that the mayhem takes place in a single location. Here, the goal is to simply beat on your opponents the most, with fists, kicks, or with picked up objects as weapons, in order to bring their health bars down to zero. The last opponent standing wins.

It's a shame this one never made it outside of Asia during the lifespan of the Nintendo Entertainment System. It has the same charm as Super Dodge Ball, with bits of River City Ransom thrown in. I grew up with both of those games, and I would have loved to have been able to play this one as a child. Luckily, it's still fun as an adult, provided that you don't mind the limited graphics and somewhat stilted control scheme of games from the 8-bit era of gaming.

Final result:
3½ out of 5

No comments: