Hit and run.
The first entry in the convoluted Kunio-kun saga, localised in 1986 as Renegade, is considered the progenitor of the scrolling beat-em-up. While later efforts would evolve its arena-based model into the classic belt-scrolling format we know today, it was Technos that established the genre’s significant hallmarks: damsels in distress, bare-knuckle brawling, guys on motorbikes, ‘chicks’ with whips, and gun-toting final bosses.
Better-known in the West as the ‘River City’ series, in 2019 developer Wayforward (Shantae, Contra 4) plucked two female characters from Kunio-kun lore — the high-school girlfriends of the series’ principal delinquent duo — and made them the lead characters in an all-new title: River City Girls. An attractive, well-crafted scrolling-beat-em-up, it did well enough to prompt a sequel due out later this year. In the meantime, Wayforward and Arc System Works (the latter now holding the Kunio-kun rights) have whipped up an origin story of sorts: River City Girls Zero.
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