"Kenka Bancho: Badass Rumble puts players in the role of a high school student on a class trip to a historic Japanese city, and includes no shortage of fist-to-face and knee-to-gut action all in the name of pride and bragging rights. You've got seven days to make a name for yourself. How you choose to spend your time and how you manage to rise to the top is up to you!"
What's the game like?
Hmmm... It's comparable to a melting pot between River City Ransom's freedom, setting, and themes, God Hand's combat elements, and Seiken Densetsu 3's Level Ups, with a simpler "light-dark" mechanic. It's not as great as all 3 combined, but it's at least as good as one of them. As mentioned before, you're on a school trip where you can do damn near whatever you please. Nearly every day on the trip, your class heads off to "some boring shrine or another". The game very rarely forces you to do anything, outside of a very few unskippable cutscene-started fights (roughly 3 at most, IIRC). You can just roam around town, picking fights, finding UMAs, or pretty much whatever you want. "Or just stay in your room all week; see if I care." (You can seriously do this.). While the game itself has only a very minor amount of Japanese slang, loading screens give you the 101 on some basic things bancho typically knows about, both in the game and in real life.
Can you give me some tips, /v/?
I guess, you shabazo. But note that it's quite a bit of readin'.
+Gameplay Factors+ (skip to the next main section if you're curious about other stuff, know how to play, or went through the tutorial/instruction manual)
Your goal is to be top bancho in Japan. You do this by fighting other banchos (known in other games as "bosses"). You recover HP by eating stuff, Stamina (doubles as your Max HP) from drinking stuff, and Kiai (or SP as it were) from drinking certain drinks or squatting to charge up your manly aura. Most of the stats are self explanitory.Your Hotel Room is your base of operations to change your current items, fighting moves, and purchased/found clothes, accessories, and/or wigs/hairstyles. Take a nap to max out and kill time, or sleep until morning to advance to the next day.
Your combo is your main attack chain. It's basically 3 weak attacks. Finisher is the icing on the cake. Throw it in after a chain for extra damage, or charge it up seperately for more damage and likely a knock down. Super Attack is another alternate charge attack. It's best to differentiate the two for more variety and situations (being surrounded vs. one-on-one). Back Attack lets you smack foes behind you. Running is faster than walking, but limits you to a running attack. You can also jump attack while moving or still, but it won't change when running. Grab foes from the front to beat them down more, then knock them away or throw them to the ground. Grabbing foes from the back limits you to throwing, but it's good after dodging an attack that leaves their rear open. You can strike a ground-bound foe while standing, but unless they only have one hit or so left, you're best off pinning them. A "rushing grab" involves running and grabbing the foe, potentially pinning them to the ground. Pinning lets you hit a foe more after they're ground-bound, but leaves you open for assaults by others, so it's best for one-on-one fights. When there's nobody else around, or your foes are pre-occupied, take a Kiai squat to regain some precious SP and HP. Penultimately, you have Lock-On, which is best for one-on-one fights. It lets you dodge attacks by shifting forward, back, or to either side, but it restricts you from running. Last, but far from least, is the "Local Specialty", which lets you use some SP for a kickass attack or effect (raise defense, guard break, unlimited running for a while, etc.). Sadly, you're limited to a sole local specialty until you change it at the hotel or when riding a vehicle, but since SP is technically unlimited, it evens out. Remember, like you, foes can block, dodge, and break grabs as well.
Essentially, your dark-light karma influence meter of sorts. Raise it by generally fighting fair and kicking lots of ass, lower it by generally being an asshole/shabazo and fighting dirty.
-Things that make you a badass/a Shibui ''Bancho-
1. Fighting fair. NO WEAPONS. BODY PARTS ONLY. FINAL DESTINATION. The deadliest weapon is the human body after all.
2. Kicking lots of ass. Keep beating down shabazos and watch it skyrocket. Just don't get your ass kicked.
3. Winning "Smash Talk" sessions. Essentially pick the insult the game tells you to. You can also choose "hidden" insults to boost it a bit more.
4. Reading. Seriously. There's a series of books known as The Bancho Way that boost your badassitude in varying degrees.
5. Donating to a certain Shrine. There's a shrine that "wards away evil". Find it, donate some cash and you can remove some negative karma you may have built up.
-Things to remember or else you'll become an asshole/a Shabai Shabazo-
1. Don't hurt innocents. Why waste a good fist on someone who can't fight back? Leave those normal-chumps alone, you scumbag bully.
2. Don't destroy property. YOU SURE SHOWED THAT MAILBOX WHO'S BOSS. Pathetic.
3. Never back down from a fight. Gettin' your jollies, chickenshit?
4. Watch your mouth. Picking goofy choices in Smash Talks is funny, but that backhand across your face isn't.
5. Don't use weapons. See below.
+The Dark/Shabai Side+
The more shabai you get, the less badass you are. But you can be an asshole all you want. If you want to join the dark side, then be my guest. However, beware the consequences.
-Why being Shabai sucks-
1. Enemies swarm you far more often. You'll get challenged alot more often. And alot more often other enemies, usually offscreen or faraway tend to join the fight more than usual.
2. Being an asshole makes you weaker. Untested entirely, but I noticed my shabai bancho running out of breath far more often than his usual shibui self. Your stats won't reflect it, but you can tell.
3. You can never go back (until New Game+). Get to Shabazo or Shabazo/Shabai King ranks of badassitude and no matter how badass your acts might be or how much you read, you can never get above them. Again, untested entirely, but considering how much cash you'd have to spend or how many asses you'd have to kick to theoretically get back... Is it really worth it? (Nope.)
4. DA FIVE-O. Cops usually can help you out if you're getting swarmed by scaring away shabazos. If you're going around punching everyone and everything though? Expect to be arrested.
5. Smash Talk additions. If you want to get some goofy responses, then this isn't too bad. If you actually want the first hit, then this just sucks.
6. Some of the Banchos won't join you. Your alignment detirmine which Banchos will be your personal peon over the 7 day trip. Acting like an complete asshole will make honorable Banchos refuse to fight alongside you and Sayo (One of the two Sukebans you will fight) will see you as another pathetic weakling.
-Why being Shabai rocks-
1. Breakable objects usually hide goodies. Although they are usually minor, why waste the cash for them otherwise? Rarely, a few hide a decent chunk of change or better items.
2. Run away and/or sneak attack before fights. While he's giving you the stink eye, you can be charging up for a local special to get some easy cash or items from his soon to be beat down ass.
3. "Move, bitch. Get out the way." Streets can get pretty crowded in Japan. So why not force your way through to get somewhere faster? If you give them a glare, you can get some money out of them, but it's usually not worth it because they usually give so little.
4. WEAPONS. Your attacks are much more limited when using weapons, However, they tend to knock down and knock away enemies much more often and some weapons have great range. All weapons are of the "sword"-esque variety, so don't expect to go chaining someone in the face. Laundry poles, brooms, bats, and so forth? Perfectly acceptable.
5. Get some damn funny smash talk lines. This game's as humorous as it is badass. Some of the weird lines you give out even get a few specialized responses.
6. Great Shabazos think alike!. Shabai Bancho will gladly serve under you, especially Eri (Who serves as Sayo's counterpart) who is into Shabazo kings.
It mostly evens out in the end, and since your badassitude resets each new game+, you might consider giving one of your trips a Shabazo run, just for the heck of it. If you don't like it, then just sleep day-in, day-out until the train leaves for home. In short, consider this the "Kick Me Sign" of Kenka Bancho's "normal" game on any setting. Not recommended for the first time though.
-"Where's the Bancho?"-
Banchos usually stand around with rings of light around them. Walk into said ring to initiate a cutscene, the following stare down, and battle.
-"I can't find any Banchos."-
If you can't find any, beat up some random thugs and they'll sometimes drop iteneraries, listing where Banchos will be at what day and time. Use Triangle on your own itenary to bring up a map that displays Banchos that you can currently brawl and where they are at.
-"I keep getting my ass kicked."-
You might consider three options:
1) Call a buddy on your cell phone in-game. This will help you keep peppy during any normal encounters you might get into along the way.
2) Stock up on food. Recovery items especially and temporary stat-buffers secondary. Remember: No food, no fight!
3) Level up and/or change your moves. A level up always grants the option to boost your stats, and usually grants some new fighting moves as well. If you have a variety of attacks already, experiment and see if attacks that are faster or stronger are more effective against certain Banchos. Remember to change your Local Specialty to one that's better for single targets.
A fourth option is to fight dirty and bring a weapon, but unless you like risking your status to end up as a Shabazo, you might not choose this.
-Did I just beat multiple areas?-
Highly likely. Some Banchos already have others as their minions/peons, so if you beat the head honcho among them, they are considered conquered as well. However, you won't get the minions' cell phone numbers or local specialties, so if you're going for completion, you'll have to take 'em all on in sooner or later. However, it is damn near impossible to do this in one playthrough. There's just not enough time in a week to deal out all those asskickings and travel from place to place to reach them. So if you want to gain alot of conquerings in as little time as possible, skip the small fry and take on the big fish. However, this strategy is mostly recommended in your second or third playthrough minimum, since the bigger the rep, the tougher they are.
Shabazos are those generic nobody thugs you see all over the place. Even still, they can put up a decent fight on their own, and can potentially be deadly in packs. Still, it's good to take 'em on regularly as they are generally your main cash source and can provide free items and some generally okay weapons that they drop. It's nigh-impossible to find itenaries without them.
Some general tips are:
1) Call a buddy on your cell phone in-game. Again, why not share the pain you'll be dishing out and taking in?
2) Gather them in a group. Many attacks and local specialties are able to hit more than one enemy at a time. As such, hit as many as you can when you are able to.
3) Fight near an area you can escape to. If things take a turn for the worse, then just walking to somewhere else has all enemies after you give up the chase.
A fourth option is to run toward a cop. He'll chase off all the enemies currently after you. This can be somewhat risky though. If you accidentally attack the cop or someone else in front of him, he'll be after you instead! It's possible to pull number 3 with a cop, but if you aren't anywhere near an entrance, you might run out of breath. Cops have infinite endurance (and HP), so they won't.
-Keeping up appearances-
Even though this game has a story, you don't need to bother with it. If you are compelled to, make sure you check your itenerary and cell phone to note where certain story events take place if you're currently running out and about.
-Keeping up YOUR appearance-
Everyone knows the old Bancho look. Be it from River City Ransom, JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, or some other source. And while it's cool to follow this classic look, nobody says you can't work on your own fashion sense. There's a number of different shirts, pants, hairstyles, jackets, shoes, and other clothing and accessories for you to wear. You might consider basing your character off one of your favorite individuals from different media, create something original, or even base him off yourself (to a lesser extent if you happen to be a Sukeban playing this). As long as you have the cash, you can get the look or at least something close to it. Heck, you can even go out in nothing but your boxers and nobody will even care. Just pay attention to what you happen to be wearing, as some clothing combos have less pockets than others. Your item storage maximum is 8 and your minimum is 1. Remember, drop off stuff you don't need at the inn.
If you like a game of chance and/or you want to play with someone who also owns this (via adhoc), consider Night Out mode. This casual play mode closes off many areas, but has a number of tough enemies strolling the streets. Your reward for beating these is the occasional Bancho Soul dropped (you normally get these at level ups to increase your stats). Wail on it like a Smash Ball and you'll absorb it. You can keep on going and collecting as much of these as you like, but remember: In this mode, you cannot distribute soul to your stats. You must go back to the main game to do so. Dying in this mode does not send you back to the inn, but back to the title, devoid off all your collected soul from that night out. Your normal data is safe, but why lose lost time when you can run back to the inn, save, exit, and get some nice stat boosts?
-Range vs. Power-
Depending on what you'll be fighting, you might consider choosing one over the other (obviously). Example: Longer weapons tend not to be as strong as shorter weapons. However, long range is able to sweep out many more foes at once. Some weapons don't quite follow either, such as the more joke weapons, such as the broom, or some odd ones, such as the telescopic rod. There are some rare weapons you can find that have the advantages of both, but again, that's why they're rare... The same obviously applies towards attacks (compare short range punches and kicks to stretched out or spinning strikes) and local specialties (some have splash damage, others are hard to aim, but worth the pay off), along with Lock-On (one-on-on vs. a group of foes).
I haven't found too many myself, but there's a variety of secrets to find. Most of them are noted in Bancho 101, such as UFOs and the like (they'll pop up in certaina areas at certain times, but I've yet to learn if they have any real purpose). There are some secret areas you might stumble across by striking certain walls or doors. There's the pennants, which you can get from giving them a Menchi stare. And last but far from least, there are titles, which double as the in-game achievement system. Most serve no purpose other than obscure things you managed to pull off, but a small few reward you with items. For instance: Try never leaving your room and always and only sleeping for one week straight. Never eating, never leaving, never changing your appearance, etc. You'll get quite a few titles by doing so, and a few items as well. Which is always nice for a new game+. There's many titles that I have yet to find as well, and there are indeed alot to find. Happy hunting to you and me.
+Handy Attacks/Stuff to have and where to find it+
Rassei Rush- You can find this pretty early. A Bancho and his two buddies are near the city hall area. Beat them and this multi-knee-jab Local Specialty is yours. Very good early on, but becomes less effective later. -> +'s: Strong chain of multiattacks; -'s: Linear in nature, so it's easy to miss; Advice: Best used on a cornered foe, that way many hits can be expected (though not guaranteed)
Iyokan Juicer- Another pretty early Local Specialty that might not be used later, but is still handy for a while. You get it from that "sumo-haired" Bancho roughly mid-week or so. Whip out a fruit, then punch it to get high-speed citrus in a group's faces. -> +'s: Pretty wide attack, and adds stun to most foes hit; -'s: Rather weak, only really good when you're being swarmed; Advice: If you're just running out and about to find money and items, you should give this Local Specialty a whirl, as it can be good for leading into getaways or charged up group attacks.
Enduring Poseur- A Local Specialty that basically gives you infinite Endurance for a pretty decent while. Great if you're running about exploring for stuff like hidden presents and other such things. A nice alternative to buying O2 Masks, but only if you lack cash. As you can guess, it's pretty useless for fighting. I can't recall who gives it or where. ->: +'s, -'s, and Advice: Uh, I mentioned them all...
Three Up- An inexpensive Local Specialty that simultaneously boosts Attack, Defense, and Endurance for a brief while. A good alternative to holding 3 respective items. Get this from Tokyo's Bancho on the 4th or 5th day, usually in the foreign food stands area. ->: +'s: 3 boosts for cheap; -'s: Can't use an offensive Local Specialty because of it, and it's a bit iffy for group fights unless your levels around 30+ or you're playing on easy; Advice: Recommended if you'll be taking on a Bancho you haven't fought before, especially if you're low on cash ahead of time.
Manma World- Usually near the city hall area on the 5th day, there's a Sukeban in the area. You'll know if you see alot of schoolgirls about who pick fights with you. Beat the Sukeban, and she'll give you this great Local Specialty. It causes a small wind ripper to circle you, striking all sides repeatedly. Great for fighting groups or one-on-one. I still use this, and consider it one of the best Local Specialties you can get. -> +'s: Multiple hits on all sides, can use twice with a full Kiai meter; -'s: can be easily blocked, the radius is kind of small, and unless nearly all possible hits land, only one is kind of weak; Advice: Corner foes before whipping this out, or use it as a counter for upcoming attacks, especially group beatings.
Yoi Yoi Dance- Make like a Crash Bandicoot with this spinning smackdown. You can get it from a Bancho leader later on (I need to double check which one) in roughly the 6th and Final days. If you're quick, you can aim your movement abit to cover more ground. It's a pretty good alternative to Manma World, as it does less hits, but has more power and a bigger range potential. -> +'s: Hits all sides and is pretty strong, especially if you can aim to get multiple hits on corners and walls, and if aimed well, you can even bypass guarding by having the last hit strike from behind!; -'s: More expensive than Manma World, and like it, not as strong as some Local Specialties unless more than one hit lands, its short time of usage requires it to be used almost exactly when you need it, where others have a bit more leeway; Advice: fight near walls or corners and try to get the hang of the spin control, having a Kiai Drink Z handy is also recomended for quick multi-usage.
-Attacks- (all are learned by leveling up)
Rocket Kick: Good for a Super or Charge attack. This drops you down for a spring-shot kick to slam through enemy groups. The drop is good for quick evasion, which can make for a nice counter-strike.
Pimp Slap (Pin version): This double slap is nice for adding more hits to a pin combo.
Big Slappy: One of the first attacks you learn which remains one of your better choices. Has a pretty good range which makes for a nice group-attacker.
Backflip Kick: This pretty damn effective, as it lets you hit foes from behind as well as the front. Somersault Kick is an early version of this, but lacks the advantage of landing on your feet.
Spinning High Kick: Has a pretty good range, which is nice for hitting many foes
Double Knee Drop: A good beatdown move which lets you drop on ground-bound foes then prop right up. Good for quick evasion in groups. Hip Drop is a weaker version you get a bit earlier.
Giant Throw: Not a powerful throw, but a great defensive move. It 360s an enemy around you before tossing and lets you walk away with ample retreat. Good for hitting groups or hitting distant foes.
Axe Kick: A later-earned attack that is a double strike. Each hit is decently strong, so try it out if you aren't concerned about speed.
Shadow Uppercuts: A punching alternative to Axe Kick, hits one more time, but each hit is weaker, but faster. The minimal range puts Axe Kick above it in group fights, but it's ace for one-on-one
German Suplex: Powerful, used after behind grabs. Even though Behind Throw (I'll check the real name later) can hit more enemies, you'll usually only get to back-throw in one-on-one fights. Airplane Toss: A behind-grab toss that spins your foe above your head before tossing them. Not as range-heavy as Giant Throw, but still handy in group fights, and a good alternate to German Suplex.
Pimp Fury: A grab-finisher that, when combo'd with 2 Double Slaps, can deal TEN hits! You won't get it until much later though, so Headbutt Combo and Knee Jab Combo will serve you well before this.
Fists of Flurry: The pin version of Pimp Fury. Like that, combining this with 2 Pimp Slaps, can deal TEN hits! Again, a much later move, that sadly gets no weaker version before this. Combo a grab and pin of this combo and Pimp Fury's for HUGE damage.
Kiai Drink Z: Relatively cheap, but provides a handy boost of Kiai to let you whip out your charge-up attacks and Local Specialties easier.
Veggie Bento: A pretty easy find that's rather cheap too. Chow down to restore 800 precious HP. Less useful after you hit 2000+ Max HP, but depending on your distribution, that may not be for a while.
Miyabi Bento: This is the stuff of asskicking kings. Restores a huge 1600 HP. However, unless you have a fat wallet or are willing to break boxes and run from the cops, don't expect to see this often.
O2 Mask: Running is tiring, but with this you can run free for 15 seconds with nigh-zero fear of losing your breath. Also good for drawn-out fights when you'll be striking alot.
Ultra Stamina Drink: Restores 700 Stamina and HP. Good, but kind of expensive. Consider sticking with the regular SD early on or at least until you have more moolah.
KO Protein DX: Raises your strength for a while. Totally excellent when using multi-hit attacks and Local Specialties.
Taxi Ticket: Calls a taxi wherever you are. While you won't properly use this until you have major cash, the instant scene-change is good if you're getting beatdown by foes. It's great for proper use during PM for fast movement and absolutely invaluable during the last two days when you only have so much time left.
Drying Pole: If you choose to use weapons, this is one of the longest you can get. It's found in a present behind a wall in a certain area (I'll check which one later). Not the strongest, but the huge range makes up for it.
That's all I have to mention. I may add some more notes if needed, but considering the type of game this is, I don't want to give too much away. This is a game made for you and me, to be as free as a high schooler on a field trip can be (even though I graduated some odd years ago...). The experience is what you make of it, which is the reason I love this game so much and I hope you readers can enjoy it as much as I do. There's no set path to pursue the game in, and new game+ gives you more options to keep going and playing: finding things you might have missed, doing things you didn't, and so forth. Here's some external links to some miscelleneous Banchoisty:
Atlus homepage- Official website telling a bit more about the game
Atlus presents: HOW TO BE A BANCHO- A short video with some gameplay footage
Kongo Bancho- Info on a manga likely inspired by this series and others (Yeah, "series". This is actually the third KB, but the first one in the series to make it stateside. The 4th is set to come out in 2010, if we're lucky, we might see it over here, too! Make sure to support Atlus, Bullets, and Spike by buying a copy of Badass Rumble ASAP, since 4 is looking to have even MORE content than this.)