Some things that everyone needs to know about me:
- I love martial arts movies
- Yes, even Jean-Claude Van Damme (don’t judge me)
- I love Japanese culture especially aspects that I’ve gleaned from games
- I love beat ’em up games — basically all beat ’em ups
- I love RPGs
And my favorite retro-game of all time is River City Ransom (RCR). It holds a special place in my heart. My sister recently found all of my old Nintendo/Sega Genesis games at my parents’ house right before Christmas and among the games was RCR. I almost cried. It was the best thing to happen to me all year.
One day, after Christmas I decided to post all of my games that were recovered from my parents’ house to Twitter.
— KNells (@knelligan12) December 31, 2014
Then @soulbrotherkab mentioned that if I loved River City Ransom, then I should play the Yakuza games for PS2 and PS3.
Yakuza: How Did I Miss You?
I had never heard of the series, but as I looked into it, I wondered how I could have missed it! It’s exactly the type of game that I love! I always complain that the beat ’em up genre has suffered over the last 10 years. They were oftentimes great couch co-op games you could play with your friends!
Beat ‘Em Ups: A Brief History
Any kid that grew up with Nintendo and Sega Genesis is familiar with the beat em’ up genre–the late 80’s and early 90’s were sort of a golden age for this type of game. Double Dragon, Renegade, Final Fight, RCR, Streets of Rage, the TMNT arcade game were all favorites of mine back in my tween days.
I even liked this little gem back in the early days of PS2: The Bouncer by EA. It was not a huge success, the acting was laughably terrible and the story was kind of weird, but I loved it anyway. Similar to action movies, we don’t usually watch/play because of the perfectly crafted story.
The Sign of a Good Game: They Don’t Get Traded In
So back to my current mission: finding all of the Yakuzas! I started by quickly researching on Amazon. The first Yakuza for PS2 is selling for around $30. I can swing that. Yakuza 3 and 4 were each selling for under $50 online. All of that seems pretty manageable. I decided to swing by a few Gamestops for the games to see if I could find them more inexpensively. Here’s an important note for all of you Yakuza seekers out there, NO ONE TRADES IN THESE GAMES! I did manage to find Yakuza: Dead Souls for under $10 at Gamestop. I’m told this is because it’s kind of a weird spinoff infused with survival horror elements. I like survival horror, so I’m fine with that.
Good News for Playstation Plus Subscribers
My second lucky break in my search was the discovery that Yakuza 4 is free this month for Playstation Plus subscribers. This month’s offerings for Playstation Plus members was excellent: Thief, Ducktales Remastered, Yakuza 4 for PS3 and Transistor for PS4. Transistor is a really cool game for PS4 and worth checking out. I haven’t beat it yet, but tried it for a few minutes and I know I’ll like it. Vita offerings look a little disappointing. But, all-in-all, I was feeling pretty good about myself yesterday after finding that out, and then I hit a wall…
Yakuza 2: The Elusive and Ridiculously Priced Bastard of a Game
As you can tell from that subtitle, I am frustrated, yet unwaveringly determined to find this game.
So, I’ve embarked on a quest to find the PS2 games as well as Yakuza 3 for PS3 (Yakuza 5 is out, but only in Japan so far). Yakuza 2 is proving to be one of the more frustrating games to find for me so far. It’s almost like trying to find Ducktales 2 for NES: Rare, expensive and impossible!
I’ve been told that Yakuza 4 gives you a background in cutscenes of the previous games and after my frustration with Yakuza 2, I thought of just starting there and working my way back to the PS2 versions. But, I’m kind of an OCD purist when it comes to watching shows/movies and playing games in order so I don’t think that’s going to work for me. Shout out to @king_ruckus and @soulbrotherkab for letting me know how cool these games are.
— king_ruckus (@king_ruckus) February 15, 2015
For now, I’ve foundYakuza 1 for an excellent price on Ebay. The search is still on forYakuza 2. I will find it somewhere for under $50. I can’t rest until it is part of my collection but there is noflippin’ way I’m paying $80 for a PS2 game. Not happening. Wish me luck!