Monday, January 12, 2015

NES Essential Imports: Gekitotsu Yonku Battle

Console:     Famicom
Genre(s):    Vehicular Combat
Players:       1
Developer:  Tamtex
Publisher:    Irem
Released:    1989

(*Famicom or converter required on US consoles)

Over the years the NES and Famicom systems were home to some very solid arcade style racing games, many of which have a large fan-base even today. The more common titles that would come to mind would be Super Sprint, Spy Hunter, Cobra Triangle, Micro Machines, Super Offroad, and the RC Pro Am series of games.  All of these games are great titles indeed, but what if you looking for something a bit different? What if you are in the mood for some arena style vehicular combat? Unfortunately this is a genre that had not really been tapped into for the early Nintendo. That is until Gekitotsu Yonku Battle was released for the Japanese Famicom. This lesser known gem is a fun and challenging overhead vehicular combat game developed by Tamtex, a subsidiary of the publisher Irem. Publisher of such classics as R-Type and Lode runner.


Gekitotsu Yonku Battle plays much like the classic arcade title Rally-X by Namco/Midway while blending in gameplay elements of the lesser known Autoduel that was released for the Atari 400/800. Resulting in some genuinely addicting gameplay. The point is the game is very simple. You need to smash into the enemy vehicles in each stage until they are destroyed. In doing so your will notice you gain "Teki". Each level requires a certain amount of Teki to clear. Early levels will require 50 Teki, while later levels will require 55 Teki to clear. You are also able to gain Teki by collecting flags that will appear on the stage. After an enemy vehicle is destroyed, a flag will appear on the stage, you will see this indicated your very handy radar/ heads up display (also displays enemy's locations). So after destroying 1 vehicle, a 1-Teki value flag will appear. After destroying 2 vehicles a 2-Teki value flag will appear. This trend continues until you have destroyed 4 vehicles and the 4 Teki value flag has appeared. If you destroy a 5th vehicle without collecting the 4 Teki flag on stage, the 4-Teki flag will turn into a purple badge. This purple badge is worth 5 Tekis, making it more valuable than any of the flags.

 Destroying enemy's and collecting flags/medals will also earn you points towards your total/high score. Which is added up upon the completion of each level. The point value for each is as follows:

Enemy Car 1:    100pts
Enemy Car 2:    100pts
1 Flag:              200pts
2 Flag:              400pts
3 Flag:              600pts
4 Flag:              800pts
Badge:             2000pts

The Fastest way to rack up points is to keep track of your kill count, and once you reach five collect the badge. Any kills after 5 will not result in a new flag or new badge so you are best to grab it right after your 5 kill in a row. Keep in mind this is not always as easy as it would seem. Mainly due to the constant barrage of enemy vehicles that will be relentlessly hunting you down once the level begins.

While running down the enemy and collecting flags will need need to stay aware of your surroundings and pay close attention to the direction you are sending the enemy's vehicles when smashing into them.  Often times hitting enemies will send them into a viscous spin and cause that vehicle to come back your way with only vengeance in mind. Being struck by an attacking enemy or by an out of control vehicle will certainly cause damage to your vehicle. The same goes if you run into barriers or drive over an oil slick and then skid into barrier, you will take damage. Once your life is depleted your little 4 wheeled friend will explode, game over. Luckily even after being sent back to the title screen, you are able to continue on that same level you left off on.

Gekitotsu Yonku Battle features a total of 18 RC cars to choose from (once unlocked). These cars will vary in design, speed, and amount of damage they can withstand. Unfortunately these figures are never explained or presented within the game. So we can only assume the later cars are a better. Here is a brief introduction to the available cars.

You are able to change the color of your car to 1 of 10 different colors by pressing the A button during vehicle selection.

There are a total of 8 stages in this game. While its unfortunate that there is only 8, all are well designed and later levels definitely provide a significant challenge to the player. They will start off more open and forgiving, and quickly ramp up in difficulty. Usually by increasing the amount of oil slicks, narrowing paths, and adding the presence of things like sand and ice that can make navigating certain areas a nightmare. Some stages will begin with a bonus round where the goal is to collect as many flags as you can within the given time limit. This will earn you extra points toward your high score.

There are a few on stage power ups that you should always be on the lookout for during combat. These items are:


The graphics in this game are great. Both the cars and levels are well designed. Animations of cars are crisp from every angle. Levels are bright and boundaries are clearly visible. Very bright and colorful game. Radar/ Heads up display graphics are very useful.


Music in this game is incredible. Not what you would expect of this type of game. Each level has a unique song and all are extremely well done. Some sound like they belong in a classic rpg or platformer. Some fit the level just perfect. Sound effects are also very good. There are ones for collision, spinning out, making tight turns, picking up items, going off road and more. All around very well done in this department.


The controls in this game are simple and well laid out. What you would expect of a retro arcade style game. Very self explanatory, are as follows:

     Directional Pad:

          Up       - Turn Up
          Down  - Turn Down
          Left      - Turn Left
          Right    - Turn Right

     A Button   - Gas (all cars) / Turbo (if acquired)
     B Button   - Brake

     Start  - Pause
     Select - No Use

Conclusion : I really like this game, it would have been amazing with the addition of multiplayer and some more levels to choose from. Even as it stands though,its a truly great title for 1 player and offers something not found in any other NES or Famicom game. You can usually find this game on eBay around the 5 dollar range . For that reason alone there is no reason not to give this title a shot. I would to recommend this game any fan of racing or arcade style games on their NES/Famicom console. Well worth the purchase price for a fun and somewhat unknown game.

Bonus Images:

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