Gekido Kintaro's Revenge (Nintendo Switch) Review

By Albert Lichi 29.03.2018

Review for Gekido Kintaro

Does anyone remember Gekido: Urban Fighters? It seems like the memory of this early 2000s 3D brawler has almost completely faded from everyone's memory. Only those who grew up during the days of printed gaming magazines might recall some of the adverts for Gekido, which featured very striking art by the great Joe Madureira, or maybe passed over it in a rental shop or game store in favour of Parasite Eve II. It was a very humble title that tried to win over gamers with its larger than life character design and Capcom-esque action. It mostly fell under the radar and NAPS Team would move on to make an in-name-only sequel on the GBA, called Gekido Advance: Kintaro's Revenge. It is very likely that there are even fewer who have played the portable sequel, but now that Kintaro's Revenge has received an updated port on Nintendo Switch that is all about to change.

Tetsuo is a run-of-the-mill martial artist without much of a personality, outside of the fact he wears a cool pair of converse sneakers. He never shouts "Kaneda!" at the top of his lungs and he also does not become a nightmarish fusion of man and metal. Tetsuo does what his master tells him, fights undead for the innocent, and isn't afraid of anything. Not that anything in Kintaro's Revenge's story matters, as the reason why anyone would play this is purely for some good ol' fashioned Final Fight/Streets of Rage style action. NAPS Teams actually does manage to make a competent beat 'em up, with some variety to make levels interesting and some added features that expand on the original GBA version. However, in most respects the developer did not go far enough with what this updated port would require in the modern age on more powerful hardware.

Screenshot for Gekido Kintaro's Revenge on Nintendo Switch

When Gekido Advance first came out on the GBA, it prided itself on its pixel art and animation that aimed to deliver "PlayStation" tier graphics. With a three-by-two aspect ratio and with 240x160 pixels per square inch, maybe NAPS Team was able to get away with the claim that Gekido Advance could hold its own next to the likes of something like Strider 2, but now that Kintaro's Revenge is a Switch game that can be played on a 1080p display, the limits NAPS Team had to work with become extremely apparent. These sprites were not designed to be viewed at the size of modern displays, or even the Switch's screen in portable mode. Some of the pixel art could have used some re-working because there are lots of instances where the visuals can look like a garbled mess of chunky pixels that make no sense. Some added frames of animation would have been preferred, too, since the GBA's limitations are no longer an issue. One example is when an enemy is supposed to be exploding, but the animation is not as clear as it should be, and instead he looks more like he just disappears.

Screenshot for Gekido Kintaro's Revenge on Nintendo Switch

Expecting higher quality character animation or more detailed gameplay assets is not an unrealistic expectation for NAPS Team because it re-did all the cut-scenes and background music. What is confusing is that the cut-scenes are what needed the least amount of attention for the presentation since it is the gameplay that matters most. The fact that there was so much effort put into making these more detailed and higher quality only emphasises the point that the team did not have its priorities straight. The new music is deeply appreciated since the GBA did not have a good sound chip and what the original Kintaro's Revenge sounded like can be best described as short, migraine-inducing, repetitive melodies being played through a McDonald's drive-thru speaker.

Screenshot for Gekido Kintaro's Revenge on Nintendo Switch

Gameplay-wise, Kintaro's Revenge has to be approached with the understanding that it was originally developed as a GBA title and, as such, only had two face buttons and two shoulder buttons. At best, the mechanics are about sub-Streets of Rage or a mid-tier SNES era beat 'em up. This is where some extra refinement from the team could have come into play, as well as more fluid animation.

The rest of Kintaro's Revenge is held together with some minor adventure game style key-item searching and some platforming. Playing co-operatively elevates what would be an extremely average brawler and the newly added dungeon mode that operates like an almost roguelike feels like this is the game that the developer actually wants people to play, not the story mode that was programmed in 2002. The dungeon mode is part survival and moving room to room, with loot that may or may not make life easier. This can be exciting with a friend, like playing Russian Roulette but with worse graphics and more kung-fu.

Screenshot for Gekido Kintaro's Revenge on Nintendo Switch

Cubed3 Rating

6/10
Rated 6 out of 10

Good

Gekido Kintaro's Revenge did not win any awards when it was on the GBA, and it won't win any on Nintendo Switch, yet there is something enjoyable about it. Perhaps it is because it was made during the golden age of game development: the late 1990s to mid 2000s. It may be a mediocre brawler of its time, but it does have a certain energy to it, and the light adventuring elements do make it unique from anything else of its ilk. The bonus dungeon mode is the real main attraction and playing with a friend makes things more interesting. Kintaro's Revenge can only be recommended, though, to gamers who understand that this is a port of a Game Boy Advance title that has not had much done to its presentation. It still looks and plays like a GBA game, for better and for worse.

Developer

NAPS Team

Publisher

NAPS Team

Genre

Brawler

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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