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River City Girls Zero changes introduce a fun way to localize classic games

Ever since video games began to decline, the future of their iconic beat-’em-up genre has become uncertain. Its fighting game sibling genre made the leap to consoles, but 3D game design trends have begun to eliminate what makes fighters like themselves. For a while, the genre was classified as rare nostalgia and classic series like Street inspiration and The last battle seems to be retired. However, there has been a recent spike in viewership from both independents and larger publishers. Rage Street 4 It has now become a reality, something no one thought possible for decades.

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And in the background the whole time is a certain Japanese beat/fight sports series, steadily releasing games almost every year. Kunio-kun, or River City as it is commonly known in the West, constantly releasing budget titles that utilize the series’ trademark art style and classic gameplay. In 2019, Arc System Works publisher and developer The way forward brought the series back to its relevance significantly with River City Girl, a game starring the ex-girlfriends of the series’ main characters Kunio and Riki. The adventures of Kyoko and Misako were a resounding success, and not only inspired a sequel, but a re-emergence of the girls’ playable first appearance. However, this game, dubbed River City Girls Zero, which is a far cry from a typical translation and remake.


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How is River City Girls Zero different from the original release


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Shin Nekketsu Koha: Kunio-tachi no Banka is a side-scrolling action game developed by Almanic and published by Technos Japan Corp. It has been released exclusively for Super Famicom in Japan in 1994, was the fourth game in Kunio-kun franchise to appear on the system. That’s nothing to say considering that it predates more than twenty Kunio-kun game, but it marks the title as a refined version of the franchise’s typical formula. The gameplay and level design get quite complicated as the game progresses, and the visuals and story are both much more detailed and mature than usual. Kunio-kun play. Order Time, Shin Nekketsu Koha takes place after the first video game Kunio-kun, but before the title Famicom becomes River City Ransom.


It is therefore quite appropriate that its localized title would be River City Girls Zero. This is not just an acknowledgment of its place in relation to River City Girl, but also its place in the broader franchise timeline. However, River City Girls Zero not a straight and localized port of Shin Nekketsu Koha. A new opening animation sequence and a new theme song by River City Girl Composer Megan McDuffee has been added Zero. There are also Voiceover manga style cutscenes at the beginning and end of the game to tie Zero come back River City Girl fit. The new translation aims to adjust the character’s personality with River City Girl itself, but unless an entire second English-language script is created, there aren’t expected to be any plot changes.



Despite all these additions, River City Girls Zero is still expected to be a completely faithful localization of Shin Nekketsu Koha: Kunio-tachi no Banka. The approach of adding new content without changing existing content is an interesting approach and has been observed in several modern re-releases. Wild Guns: Reloaded and The Ninja Saviors: Return of the Warriors are both modern re-releases of classic titles that add new playable characters and other extras to create complete versions of each game. River City Girls Zero may not go that far, but even its faithful script will be framed differently thanks to new cutscenes.


This sparks a discussion about how feasible it is to consider unlocked games as the focal point for new projects. Changing the presentation of a game to appeal to a modern audience with different backgrounds is a viable marketing tactic, but a pure presentation has some value. After all, a major part of understanding history is trying to understand the original context of events. However, it good for preserving old games and give more people access to them, so re-dressing takes precedence over nothing. While Shin Nekketsu Koha: Kunio-tachi no BankaThe old gameplay of the game remains intact, beat-’em-up enthusiasts will still appreciate the chance to play this lost classic in English, and River City Girl fans will have something to munch on as they wait River City Girls 2 to get a release date.

River City Girls Zero in development for PS4, PS5 and Switch.

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