CRASH N' THE BOYS STREET CHALLENGE / Technos / NES
Yet another entry in the Kunio-kun series, this one mixes the brawling of the previous games with track-and-field style events. You would think this would be fun, but most of the events are spazzy and have annoying play control.
Five five-man teams compete in five events (brought to you by the #5). You can either play a "story mode" where you pick a team and do all the events back-to-back, a 2-player quick match in any one of the events, or a solo Practice of any one event. If you do the Story mode, the events are broken up with a "shopping mode" in between each one, where you can purchase little upgrades and health refills and all that - a mini version of the towns in River City Ransom, basically. Catch is, if you shop, you spend the medals that you win from the events - and the computer never spends any of its medals on anything, so you really need to have a commanding lead to afford being able to shop, and if you have a commanding lead, you probably don't need to shop. Thus rendering the "shopping mode" an almost total waste of time that you'll likely just skip through each time it pops up.
Let's look at each of the five events, then. First up is 400 meter hurdles, which is about as straightforward as it sounds, except that you can bash through the hurdles, slide under them, pick up broken pieces and huck them at your foe, or just plain spin kick them a la Double Dragon. Sounds great? Eh ... unfortunately, the player runs on his own, and the hurdles come at you just a little faster than you'll really want to deal with. The computer doesn't have any such problems, however, and will merrily dodge while also hassling you with attacks with no problems whatsoever. So the most effective strategy ends up being to just basically spin-kck repeatedly and hope the computer doesn't land too many pieces of shrapnel on you.
Next up - hammer toss, a combination of golf with tossing a giant ball and chain. The control here is a little goofy and not intuitive - you press A to spin rapidly and get the ball up to speed, but I'm still not even exactly clear on what releases it.
Then there's swimming. This is another automated race, like hurdles, except the goal is to basically drown your opponent. The problem with this one is that when one character gets on top of another one, unless they make a really dumb mistake they basically win the match, it is just too hard for a character who has fainted once to recover their oxygen while also fighting off the enemy.
Next you have the rooftop vault, sort of an early precursor of parkour. You have to jump from rooftop to rooftop using pole vaults, but the controls here are absolutely bizarre, and you can easily accidentally just toss your pole away at the beginning by pushing the wrong button and then have to reset the game because you are standing there unable to move.
Finally you have free fighting, which is basically just a very limited one-on-one version of River City Ransom. When you beat a foe down with a few punches or kicks, however, you automatically do some trademark super move that takes off a ton of their health and over-simplifies the whole thing to who can manage to land the most hits first.
Compounding the flakiness of the design and controls in all these events is the fact that the computer comes at you as ruthless as an SNK fighting game, even in Practice mode, giving you virtually no opportunity to ease into the game and get used to the unique and finicky controls.
If you intend to take this one on, get the instruction manual first, it is one of those rare games where you really need it because the controls were not designed to be intuitive or self-evident at all. Good music, good graphics, and like the other Kunio games it is a little more fun with two players than against the computer, but personally, I'd just skip the whole experience entirely. There are heaps of better Kunio games to play than this one.
* Gameplay Video