Originally released on the Gameboy Advance way back in 2002, surprisingly titled Gekido Advance, the game reviewed favourable and played well. Developer and publisher Naps Team now aim to bring us an all singing and dancing remaster on Nintendo’s latest console, the Switch. The story continues a year after the events of Gekido in which an epic battle ultimately decided the fate of mankind. We are faced once again by an evil presence that has returned to undo all that is good in the world. Ushi, the last remaining master of Shin-Ken, calls upon his adopted son Tetsuo to investigate strange happenings in a small village. Spread over five levels the game unfolds and provides enough story to get you sucked in.
This updated version has received a number of improvements in the visual department, cut scenes are sharper for a start. There are various screen settings to chose from, including my personal favourite which makes the game look like its being played an old school TV. The soundtrack has been updated bringing it into the modern world. The developer has added a nice touch though in giving us the option to change back to the original settings which is all important for those wanting a nostalgic experience. The game controls as it should using four of the available buttons to pull off a plethora of basic and special moves. The button config holds true to its Gameboy Advance origins but can be changed to suit your style of play. On the Switch however we use the analogue stick opposed to the broken d-pad of the left joy-con. It works but as we all know it isn’t the same.
For me Gekido is very reminiscent of the side scrolling beat ’em ups of yester year, the likes of Streets of Rage and Final Fight instantly spring to mind. This is a great starting point for anybody looking for that kind of experience on the Switch… well while we are all waiting for that infamous virtual console announcement.
Unlike those classic scrolling beat ’em ups though Gekido allows you to venture back and forth through levels as you look for keys inside buildings and caves. It’s a nice change that sets this apart from the norm. You can even chat with some of the locals along the way filling in details of the story as you progress. The inclusion of power ups is welcomed but I always seemed to pick up the reversal one which was more of a hindrance. Another big plus is the addition of co-op mode and is one of the best updates we receive in this version, mainly because it helps even up the fight. On my play through I did struggle at points but will definitely give this another go with a friend when I can find one. The level design contains a number of holes in the floor which annoyingly I always ended up falling down. Even more annoyingly I ended up down the same hole three or four times but honestly that probably says a lot for my hand eye coordination than anything.
Overall I enjoyed the experience of replaying Gekido. Naps Team have done a good job here and if it paves the way for other classic titles to make their way to the Switch then seriously count me in. If you can, give this a try!