Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble

· Around 5 minutes

Psst, hey punk, you think you’ve got what it takes be Japan’s toughest bancho, huh? Well, we’ll just see about that. Every school in the area will be arriving in Kyouto soon for some boring ass trip but who wants to visit some crusty old museum with those losers? We’re about to see who really has what it takes, y’hear? It’s time to separate the tough-talking shabazos from the banchos who can really handle the heat. Get ready to ignite your fighting spirit and defend your honour in an full scale rumble between 47 other banchos vying for the title of “toughest guy in all of Japan”.

Still with me? Let’s rewind a little bit. In Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble, you’re just one of the many banchos in said rumble spanning the city of Kyouto. What is a bancho, you ask? It’s the Japanese term used to refer to someone who leads a group of “juvenile delinquents”. You may have seen a few stereotypes in anime or manga where you have one intimidating leader, perhaps still in school who oversees a number of spineless peons that do all the dirty work. Those peons are a prime example of shabazo. Goons who act tough but have no sense of honour instead opting to either fight dirty or run away like the weak cowards they are. You don’t want to be a shabazo, do you? Good.

Oh and, Sakamoto is it? You’ll want to hold on to this itinerary you dropped. As you explore the city beating up the weak shabazos you run into, a few will drop itineraries just like this one. They will be your key to finding where each school is scheduled to visit and when. Once you know that, it’s just a matter of visiting the area they’re in and seeking out their representing fighter. If you can take their leader down, you’ll have earned yourself a new peon. You’re the boss now so they’re at your disposal to come and fight alongside you but you can only have one assisting you at a time. Since we’re playing by peon rules, there are a few special leaders. Take them down and you’ll earn not only the leader themselves but all of their captured peons as well. Life is so much easier when you can just take down one bancho instead of having to scramble around the district to lay the smackdown 4 or 5 times before lunchtime rolls around.

Of course, there’s more to Kenka Bancho than just fighting. If you’d prefer, you can just go alone with your class on their field trip. Feel like going on a bit of a shopping spree? Ditch class and check out the local stores. The city itself is broken into a total of 18 zones. They’re all decent sized areas, especially for the PSP. Some can be reached by train or taxi while others can only be reached by walking. You’re free to just stroll from one side of the city to the other if you like but keep in mind that your trip only lasts for a total of 7 days. Walking may be free but you’ll be wasting precious minutes by choosing to hit the pavement instead of just calling a cab. If you’ve run out of money, you only need to beat up a couple of nearby loser shabazos. They drop plenty of money and items so you’ll always have a source of income if you need it.

The more punishments you dish out, the more experience you earn and as you level up, you’ll be able to allocate points to a bunch of different stats like strength, health or endurance. There’s nothing stopping you from just knocking out the nearest guy who looks at you wrong but that isn’t badass. You want to ooze cool as you engage in a showdown, right? Holding down R while you walk triggers your Menchi Beam which may look like you’re shooting lazers from your eyes but I assure you, it’s just for dramatic effect. Lock eyes with the nearest punk who wants a fight and you’ll be engaged in a battle of the wits. You’ll want to counter their insult with one of your own. Don’t forget it since you’ll have to tap the face buttons in order to construct your insult. Mess it up and you’ll look like an idiot. Phrase it perfectly or better yet, spit their own insult back in their face and they’ll be so startled that you’ll be guaranteed the first punch, knocking them flat on their face

There are plenty of hidden collectibles like penants and fight moves. As you defeat each bancho, you’ll earn a few new moves with which you can mix up your fighting style, either back at the inn which is your safe haven or during any bus/taxi/train rides. You’ll definitely want to be using only the best moves because your opponents won’t be making things easy for you. You can get the jump on a lot of them with weapons as well which can be “borrowed” from knocked down opponents or purchased at the local souvenir store. They’re quite powerful, more so than some of your strongest punches so I’d strongly advise you keep one on hand at all times. I think you’re about set to join the rumble. Don’t worry if you get knocked on your butt though. So long as you keep your clear data, you can come back for more and bring along all of your acquired moves, clothes and more. There’s is one catch: you’ll have to earn back your peons but that’s no problem for a badass like you, now is it?

Developer: Bullets
Publisher: Spike (JP) / Atlus (NA)
Released in 2008 (JP) / 2009 (NA)
Platform: PSP