Retro Gaming Review: Nekketsu Oyako Hot Blooded Family

Nekketsu-Oyako-Hot-Blooded-Family-Sony-Playstation-1If you were to ask a new Sony PlayStation owner which game they were most looking forward to, I’m pretty sure the last thing they would say is ‘Hot Blooded Family (Thermal Blood - Parent Child)’ aka Nekketsu Oyako.

As usual, Japan was treated to another game in that never saw light of day anywhere else.Are you surprised though? Nekketsu Oyako was released in 1994 by Tecno Soft. It could have possibly been a launch title for the Playstation 1 in Japan, arriving the same month of the hit console’s birth. It also saw release on the Sega Saturn a year later, as a direct port of the Sony Playstation 1 version.

The first conclusion any gamer would arrive at playing Nekketsu Oyako is that it is a clone of Streets of Rage or Final Fight, a conclusion which is very much understandable. With a choice of three characters, with a few different stats, you’re back on the streets taking care of the crime like its 1991. By 1994 you’d think gamers would be fed up of side scrolling beat-em-ups, especially with polygons and 3D worlds promised in the tech demos for the PS1 and Sega Saturn. However I’d have to disagree as this is something the system really lacked. Apart from the 1997 efforts of Core Design/Eidos’s Fighting Force (despite being 3D), the PlayStation never got much from this genre in Europe or the USA.  

Nekketsu Oyako in all honesty isn’t the best beat-em-up around, however it has its charms and good enough gameplay to lure you in. As you slowly advance through the first stage, you quickly realise that there is a very easy method to advance further. By rolling the pad in a ‘Hadouken’ method and pressing punch, a near unavoidable combo attack is let out which many enemies seem to walk into repeatedly. This trick can be used on bosses too. But for gamers wanting to enjoy the game, the action is fairly good and some nice combos can be strung together.

By the end of level one you are slowly realising why it never left Japan, as watching your character get swallowed up by a whale, only to begin level 2 inside its stomach says enough. To add to that point, the whale spits you out to prepare you for the boss fight on his back at sea. Considering at the time of launch this was up against the likes of ‘Ridge Racer’ and the first 3D home console beat-em-up ‘Battle Arena Toshinden’, it’s no wonder this title disappeared into the depths of unknown games.

Gameplay Video

Final thoughts

Nekketsu Oyako is worth getting if you’re a fan of the genre or into Japanese curiosities, but when it comes to side scrolling beat-em-ups, the 16-bit era (and arcade) is where you need to be looking!

Further links: Fan translation of the game

Last Updated ( 05 December 2010 )  


Better known as Adam offline, Cauterize is one of RetroCollect's final bosses with an unhealthy addiction to pixels. When he's not out searching the web for the latest retro gaming news or creating content for RetroCollect, he'll will most likely be found working on his Sensible Soccer skills.

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(Link to this comment) Tepid Snake 2010-12-04 23:47
Very nice write-up on quite an obscure game- I only heard about it recently, and had no idea there was a Saturn port too! Shame it seems to be outclassed by other games in the genre, as you say.

You're right about the lack of scrolling brawlers on the PS1- I can't think of any more 2D ones, but there's a few other 3D brawlers on there, including Gekido: Urban Fighters and Crisisbeat (which is the better of the two, and absolutely worth tracking down).
(Link to this comment) suzzopher 2010-12-16 16:51
How does the Saturn version hold up over the PlayStation? I'm quite keen to import this.

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