We may need to attend a short while longer earlier than we are able to ora ora ora our approach into River City Girls 2, however beat ‘em up fans can satiate their hunger by time-warping into the rerelease of a much older game from the ‘90s, now retitled River City Girls Zero. It’s out for nearly each platform now, together with PC and Switch.
River City Girls Zero, put collectively by MethodForward, is a localisation of the Almanic-developed 1994 16-bit Super Famicom sport Shin Nekketsu Kōha: Kunio-tachi no Banka. Thanks to the success of 2019’s River City Girls, Shin Nekketsu Kōha is formally playable within the West for the primary time ever. Instead of dashing into brawls because the sukeban girlfriends Misako and Kyoko (don’t fear, they’re playable later within the sport), you get again within the saddle as their beaus, Riki and Kunio.
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The begin of the sport sees Riki and Kunio in jail after the pair have been framed for a criminal offense they didn’t commit. After the requisite banchō squatting, the pair beat up the hardest guys within the slammer, escape, and start their warpath to unearth the jerk who orchestrated their demise. From this level on, RCG Zero’s narrative turns into a bloody sport of phone through which the delinquents and their girlfriends beat up a string of punchable faces earlier than discovering who framed Riki and Kunio. While RCG Zero’s preservation of Shin Nekketsu Koha’s graphics and music are welcomed, the preservation of its ‘94-era gameplay proved to be a hindrance to my enjoyment of the game.
Unlike RCG’s wealth of combo strings and wacky particular strikes, RCG Zero has a restricted arsenal of assaults. Your toolkit consists of a punch, a kick, blocking, a particular punch and kick, and the tried-and-true leap punch or kick assault. On paper, these bare-essential mechanics comprise each beat ‘em up. But in practice, they’re extraordinarily limiting, particularly contemplating the finickiness of the fight.
While it was simpler to land full combos in RCG, beginning your assault too near the enemy may result in whiffs and retaliation. RCG: Zero provides a lot much less margin for error on each fronts, so in case you don’t execute completely, 9 occasions out 10 the enemy’s assault will land first and knock you swiftly onto your beneficiant arse, making for an irksome playthrough.
If your button inputs occur to be a millisecond slower than that of the pc’s, your would-be flurry of assaults is swatted away by a easy punch or kick. To take care of this, I both needed to cheese enemies with leap kicks or get fortunate by hanging inside the slim window of blocking one among their assaults. All the identical, both of those techniques made for a pyrrhic victory.
This made the gameplay much less like a frenetic beat ‘em up and extra like a methodical sport of kiting and micromanaging enemies at a chess participant’s tempo. To make issues worse, punches and kicks out of your characters really feel futile compared to enemies as a result of, not like you, they don’t stagger when placed on the receiving finish of a combo. To make issues all of the extra irritating, their punches are likely to land extra usually and hit twice as arduous as yours. A sport being tough is all effectively and good, however a sport being this busted is simply extreme.
RCG Zero lacks RCG’s revive mechanic of stomping the ghost again into your Okay.O.’d physique, in addition to merchandise pickups. Instead, the 4 playable characters function your additional well being bars. For instance, if Kunio is getting torn from arse to urge for food, you may swap to Riki, Kyoko, or Misako and utilise their full well being bars to finish phases. But due to the aforementioned finickiness of hitboxes and enemies hitting arbitrarily tougher than you, preventing bosses turned a spree of swapping between characters and praying that my punches would land first.
While RCG Zero’s gameplay was aggravating, every thing else concerning the sport was fairly rattling nice. Right off the bat, the sport wastes no time evoking the texture of a Saturday morning anime with its catchy theme tune by returning Girls composer Megan McDuffie. Its opening cinematic was additionally masterfully accompanied by the slick and profound throwback anime fashion of David Liu.
Fun truth! That newest RCG0 art work was in homage to the unique key artwork which will be seen within the unique SFC Game Manual!
— ⚡David Liu ⚡ (@AngryangryD) September 17, 2022
RCG Zero additionally has a bunch of customisations. From the pause display screen, you may toggle a CRT (old-school TV) filter and alter the border artwork and display screen measurement. The sport additionally allows you to select between a comparatively literal translation and extra vivacious RCG-fashion textual content. Although WayForward initially discovered itself within the centre of some discourse over its wording of the unique textual content as “literal,” I most well-liked the RCG-style localisation for its flavour of side-splittingly hilarious language and since the extra I performed RCG Zero, the extra I discovered myself lacking RCG.
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This isn’t to say that RCG Zero is bereft of its personal enjoyable beat ‘em up segments, it’s simply that they proved extra tiresome than thrilling after some time. RCG Zero’s gimmicky ranges additionally are likely to overstay their welcome with the lengths of among the motion segments. As enjoyable because it was to leap atop a merry-go-round and kick baddies off their rooftops, having to repeat the motion an odd variety of occasions afterward made the artistic setpiece really feel like padding for the sport’s runtime. I’m additionally beginning to imagine that motorbike combat scenes in video video games simply suck as a result of the gripes I had relating to padding and the sport’s demand for fine-tooth comb hitbox precision have been solely exacerbated throughout the lengthy stretch of RCG Zero’s freeway fights.
Suffice it to say, though RCG Zero is a contemporary coat of paint on high of Shin Nekketsu Koha: Kunio-tachi no Banka, the rote preservation of the old-school beat-’em-up’s gameplay does a disservice to the sport. Instead of simply injecting its modernised tackle the franchise via the lavish new cutscenes and textual content, I want MethodForward had put some additional time into punching up its fight as effectively.
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