PSP Reviews

Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble Review

Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble
Developer: Spike
Price: $29.99
Platform: PSP

In Badass Rumble you take the role of a tough-guy high school student who goes on a week-long trip to Kyoto. Instead of following the rules he decides that he wants to pick a fight with every bancho in the city to become the #1 bancho. A bancho is a badass guy so you better be feeling pretty badass if you want to take down all 47 banchos in a week. The game is obviously focused on combat and re-playability for collectibles since the ‘story’ can be missed completely by just not going where they are located.

That’s when the main overarching gameplay mechanic shows itself. In BR(Badass Rumble) you have a week to do anything you want to do. Each day is split into three segments: the morning, afternoon, and for only an hour the evening. During this time you can go pick fights with thugs, find banchos, or go complete any small story quests. Story quests and banchos can be found by locating a person standing around a glowing ring and you merely have to walk up to them to activate it. As I stated previously you can choose to just not do lots of the story quests in exchange for more free-time to do whatever else you want since those quests usually take up a bit of what little time you have. Banchos are located by fighting other school kids and picking up their itineraries. Any new ones you acquire are added to your map and show the location, time, and day the bancho from that school will be in the city for you to find him/her. After you defeat a bancho your map will update itself showing that you conquered that bancho and as a plus if that bancho had defeated any others you automatically conquer their areas too. Oh yea and you can call certain npc characters to possibly meet up with but those moments are largely forgettable and only serve to fill out your journal.

It’s a shame that a game with such a quirky attitude and fantastic customization has one major flaw and it happens to be it’s combat. The controls take some getting used to and everything you do just feels so stiff and slow. Before I get into the combat itself let me take the time to explain how you actually initiate the combat with this handy guide:

Step 1: Find a Bancho
Step 2: Shoot him with your laser eyes
Step 3: Insult his mother
Step 4: Insert your fist in his face

I am not shitting you at all. You literally have to shoot enemies in the face with your ‘Menchi Beam’ and then the game shows you an insult you have to memorize. Once the insult goes away several words will appear on-screen and you have to match up the correct words to make the insult and if you pull it off correctly you’ll get to hit them first. Fail and you opponent shall ridicule your feeble attempt at mockery and proceed to knock you on your ass. You’d think this would get old(and it does) but once you get closer to the end the mini-game gets much more difficult. There are also hidden insults you can string together if you have the balls to risk it.

Now the combat is your basic brawler with light/heavy attacks and a grapple move. Locking onto an enemy becomes a necessity since you’ll start a combo and end up hitting air. Brawling eventually reverts to each fight reduced to constantly knocking an enemy to the ground to pin him there and kicking him while he’s down. There are dozens of different attacks you can assign to your 3-hit combo, grapple, dash, and meditate pose for you character but none of them feel any different and you’ll basically just end up picking whichever one has the most stars or looks the coolest. On the upside you can acquire 47 Local specialties from the main banchos you fight in the game. Each one does something explosively humorous(one involves you putting an enemy on your lap and giving them a good spanking before sending them exploding from your lap) and you’ll definitely want to collect them all.

This game is going to drive anyone OCD about collecting everything nuts. There are about a dozen or so weapons to collect, tons of clothing to acquire, a unique special ability from each of the 47 banchos, and journal entries to complete. You are NOT going to get all of this in one playthrough so get prepared to play through the game at least 3 times. A neat little feature is the ability to take pictures during cutscenes so you can send your friends the picture of your character in a banana suit giving the latest bancho a good spanking. Once you beat the game once you unlock Night Out Mode where you can take your character outside the hotel at night to fight some pretty tough banchos for some Bancho Souls that boost your character stats.

The Final Word
Badass Rumble is not going to be the game everybody likes. You’re either going to hate it for it’s weak combat and forgettable environments or you’re going to love it for all the weapons, clothing, special abilities, and basically limitless replay value you’re going to get from it. I loved the game for it’s quirky nature and the amount of customization but I couldn’t forgive it for having a clunky combat system and a city that felt dead.

– MonsterVine Rating: Average

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