At the end of 2014, the Sony PlayStation turns 20 years old…TWENTY! If that fact makes you feel old, well, you’re in good company here, you old fart! The original launch of the system in Japan had eight titles available, of which only one, Ridge Racer, would also be available as a launch title for the system’s European and North American releases. The other Japanese launch titles were an interesting mix that, to only mention a few, included a classic 2D shoot ’em up, a Doom-style first-person RPG, a couple of mahjong games, a train sim, and a beat ’em up, which is the topic of this episode of Import Gaming FTW!
Nekketsu Oyako, also known as Hot-Blooded Family, is a beat ’em up published and developed by Technosoft, a company that Western gamers will most likely recognize from their popular Thunder Force series of shmups. At first glance, you may think that Nekketsu Oyako looks like a fairly generic beat ’em up–and that would be a mostly fair assessment. The gameplay and visuals of the game draw heavily from its competitors at the time, so much so that it probably would have been easy for Sega or Capcom to take Technosoft to court over paying too much “homage” to their Streets of Rage and Final Fight series’. But look more closely, and you’ll find a title that has its own unique charm, as well as a kind of humor not present in the aforementioned big league beat ’em ups.
Like many of the games covered in Import Gaming FTW, it’s a shame that another 2D game from the 90s never made it to the living rooms of gamers outside of Japan. While Nekketsu Oyako is no masterpiece, most beat ’em ups rarely ever need to be in order to experience the maximum amount of enjoyment to be had with them.