There is nothing like a fun beat-em up that can easily be picked up and played any given time, and that is what Gekido Kintaro’s Revenge is. It’s very likely though that you may not have heard of the series since it’s a small series with only two games – the PlayStation one game Gekido and the Game Boy Advance game Gekido Kintaro’s Revenge. Italian studio NAPS Team are the same developers behind the Game Boy Advance game, as well as this re-release for the Nintendo Switch. If you haven’t played Gekido Kintaro’s Revenge before and want to play a game that draws its inspiration from Japanese culture and animation, then now is the perfect opportunity to play something that has a nostalgic feel to it and features beautiful side-scrolling gameplay with detailed sprites, excellent cutscenes, lovely animation and gorgeous backgrounds.
Gekido Kintaro’s Revenge’s story is a simple one: A year has passed since the epic battle that decided the fate of mankind and claimed the life of the beloved Angela. Dark omens once again tell of the return of an evil presence. Ushi is the last remaining master of the ancient art of Shin-Ken, and he calls upon Tetsuo, his disciple and adopted son, to investigate some strange happenings in a faraway farming village outside the city.
The Switch version of Gekido Kintaro’s Revenge handles mobile play well and feels like the original Game Boy Advance version – even if you haven’t played the original, so it feels like how one would expect from a Game Boy Advance game running on Switch hardware, and it’s a decent port. I found it easy playing it on the go, and this was how I mostly played it.
The player can customize their own button layout, if they so choose, but the gameplay is already easy to get back into. The combat controls are straightforward: There’s a kick button, a punch button, a jump button and a dash button. You can also do some combos, and the fights are already easy to win through button mashing. However, the hit detection is a bit faulty. At times when I was fighting, I tried my best to not get hit and fight the enemies as fast as possible, especially when they were coming at me from every direction, and I noticed that not all of my hits landed. The player has to be directly in front of the enemy in order for hits to land. Once the player figures this out, combat becomes easy to grasp. I found the enemy bats to be the most annoying enemy type. They are not only fast, they are also small and would be a burden for me. Whenever these enemies showed up, I knew that I would definitely end up being short on health at the end of the fight. Gekido Kintaro’s Revenge has quite a bit of platforming and jumping, but the jumps need to be just right to land, or you can end up dying. I found myself dying a few times from a bad jump, but those were the times when I was in a dark area and had to use a lantern that only gave off a little bit of light.
Visually speaking, the graphics look fantastic and are an upscaled version of the original game’s graphics with beautiful detailed sprites, gorgeous backgrounds, excellent cutscenes and lovely animation. I just had to load the original Game Boy Advance version and see the difference myself, and I was pleased at how much better I found the Switch port to be – the colors just seemed more visually pleasing.
The game loads fast as soon as the animation cutscenes end, and you will be immediately thrown back into the gameplay. The loading speed throughout is decent and makes you stay on your toes. There are a few things that seemed to be unavoidable, like the countless traps and the holes. The traps seemed like they were there to challenge the player and to make it hard for them to advance farther in the game, and in a cheap way. Most of the dark patches on the ground are holes that you have to watch out for. I can’t tell you the number of times I fell into them, but it occurred more when I was surrounded and fighting more than four enemies at a time. If my attacks missed and I was in what seemed like an endless loop of getting hit, I would eventually fall into a hole at some point.
Gekido Kintaro’s Revenge is a fun, old school beet-em up that one can pick up anytime to have some quick fun. There is a good amount of replayability in this game since it has three different modes: a story mode where you can choose to play one player or two player, a survival mode where you see how long you can last fighting enemies, and relic hunting where you track down items with just one life in a mixed layout type of environment. You can also choose to play the story mode with the original cutscenes, as well as with the original soundtrack or a revamped version for the new release. So with all of these features, there’s a number of ways to play the game, and you could easily find yourself putting more time into it if you are a completionist and want to do everything. Gekido Kintaro’s Revenge is still a fantastic, fun retro game if you can look past its cheap traps, and if you want to experience a nostalgic arcade feeling, then pick this game up.
Developer: NAPS Team
Publisher: NAPS Team
Platform: Nintendo Switch
Release Date: 22nd March 2018