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Last Bronx (ラストブロンクス -東京番外地-, Rasuto Buronkusu ~Tōkyō Bangaichi~) is a 3D fighting video game developed by Sega AM3 on the Sega Model 2 mainboard.[3] It was released in Japanese game centers in 1996. Home versions of Last Bronx were produced for the contemporary Sega Saturn and Windows systems. In Japan, Last Bronx was novelized and serialized into comics and radio drama. A VHS video documenting the motion capture process used for the game and introducing the characters was released in 1996. A year later, Takashi Shimizu directed the live-action movie (V-Cinema). On June 29, 2006, Sega released Last Bronx on PlayStation 2 as a tenth anniversary celebration.

Last Bronx
Last Bronx arcade flyer.jpg
Developer(s)Sega AM3
Publisher(s)Sega
Director(s)Akinobu Abe
Platform(s)Arcade, Saturn, Windows, PlayStation 2
ReleaseArcade
Sega Saturn
  • JP: August 1, 1997
  • NA: October 14, 1997
  • EU: October 23, 1997
Windows
  • JP: February 27, 1998
  • NA: January 1998
  • EU: 1998
PlayStation 2
  • JP: June 29, 2006
(as part of Sega Ages Vol. 24)
Genre(s)Fighting
Mode(s)Single player, multiplayer
CabinetUpright
Arcade systemSega Model 2

Contents

PlotEdit

Last Bronx is set in an alternate version of post-Japanese bubble Tokyo, where crime and gang warfare is rampant. The game has the following main characters:

  • Yusaku Kudo is the boss of the street gang "Neo-Soul" from Haneda airport.[4] His preferred weapon is a metal sansetsukon; his in-game alternate weapon was a Shinkansen scale model.
  • Joe Inagaki is the boss of the "Shinjuku Mad" gang from Shinjuku. His preferred weapons are metal nunchaku;[4] his in-game alternate weapons are corn ears.
  • Saburo Zaimoku is the boss of the "Katsushika Dumpsters" gang from Katsushika. Zaimoku's preferred weapon is the hammer;[4] his in-game alternate weapon is a frozen tuna.
  • Toru Kurosawa is the boss of the "Roppongi Hard Core Boys" gang from Roppongi. Kurosawa's preferred weapon is the bokuto (a wooden sword);[4] his in-game alternate weapon is a folding fan.
  • Nagi Hojo is the boss of the women-only "Dogma" gang from the Rainbow Bridge area of Tokyo, as well as a sadist.[4] Nagi's preferred weapon is the sai; her in-game alternate weapon is a spoon and fork.
  • Yoko Kono is the boss of the "G-Troops" gang from the Tokyo subways. Yoko's preferred weapon is a pair of tonfa;[4] her in-game alternate weapons are umbrellas.
  • Ken Kono was the co-founder and former boss of the "G-Troop" gang. After refusing the Redrum challenge, Redrum badly injured him in a fire, and his anger made him mad and evil. Eventually, he was turned into Red Eye (レッドアイ) and himself became an agent for the mysterious Redrum ("Murder" backward) organization. In Yoko's ending, he is beaten by his sister Yoko at the tournament's final in the subway. Ken apologizes and tells his sister the truth, and then dies in her arms. Red Eye's preferred weapon is a metal tonfa; his in-game alternate weapons are chopsticks and broiled sauries.
  • Hiroshi "Tommy" Tomiie is the boss of the "Helter Skelter" gang from Shibuya. Tommy's preferred weapon is the (a long pole); his in-game alternate weapon is a deck brush. Tommy's stage, "Cross Street", features a Sonic mascot which is Sega Shibuya Game Center's logo.
  • Lisa Kusanami is the leader of the "Orchids" music-band (and gang) from the moonlight garden in Takeshiba Passenger Ship Terminal. Lisa's preferred weapon is a double metal stick (aka "Double-sticks");[4] her in-game alternate weapon is a ladle and spatula.

GameplayEdit

Each match is a best out of two rounds fight with victory by knock out or remaining health at the end of the 30-second time limit. The stages are set in real Tokyo city closed areas without any ring outs. However, fighters can jump on the barriers (and eventually make a disqualifying ring out backflip from there).

Sega AM3 used the "PKG" 3-button system introduced by the AM2 in Virtua Fighter – "P" stands for "Punch" (or weapon), "K" for "Kick" and "G" for "Guard".[5] The player uses the arcade joystick to move the character. Certain joystick and button combinations result in special attacks and combination attacks. The "G" button is used to block the opponent's attacks and to perform a feint attack called "Attack Cancel". Strong attacks, throws and rolling moves can be performed using different button combinations. Taunts can also be used – Last Bronx is part of the rare games in which the CPU uses this feature against the player or even another CPU controlled character.

DevelopmentEdit

The arcade version was developed in Japan by the AM3 team that had developed Virtual On.[citation needed] According to director/project lead Akinobu Abe, "The game was designed to be quite realistic, with realistic style and people - Last Bronx characters wear clothes based on current Tokyo street fashions."[3] While working on the game, the developers found that the weapons couldn't be seen during attacks because of how fast they were moving; this led to them programming the weapons to leave afterimages when in motion.[3]

Environmental texture mapping, used to create the reflective effect of the "Metal" versions of the characters, is not a supported feature of the Model 2 hardware and had to be accomplished through programming trickery.[2]

AM3 had a demo of the game ready in time for the AOU show in February 1996, but Sega would not allow them to show it because Sega AM2 was demonstrating several fighting games at the show and they feared another one would divide media and industry attention too much.[6]

The Saturn version was developed by the same team which created the arcade original.[3] They started work on the conversion on November 8, 1996,[2] and first demonstrated it at the April 1997 Tokyo Game Show.[7] Since they believed the fast weapons movement to be the key element to the game's appeal, they prioritized retaining all the animation data and the 60 frames per second frame rate of the arcade version.[2]

None of the development team had ever worked on a Saturn game before.[2] According to Abe, who was also director of the port, the most difficult part was making the collision detection accurate, due to the greater amount of calculations attached to weapons than hand-to-hand combat.[4] They found it impossible to recreate the environmental texture mapping on the "Metal" characters with the Saturn hardware.[2]

ReleasesEdit

Last Bronx was first planned to be released in the first week of August 1997, but it was actually first sold in Japan on July 25, 1997.[citation needed] The Tokyo Bangaichi subtitle appears only in the Japanese release. The logo's blood squirt was removed in overseas editions. Only the 2006 PlayStation 2 Sega Ages 2500 Series Vol.24 version uses the original Last Bronx: Tokyo Bangaichi title name and logo.

A movie (Toei Video) was dedicated to Last Bronx, with its own OST CD. Last Bronx was launched in summer 1997 with a blockbuster campaign. The Sega Saturn game box contains exclusive extras such as a "Special Disc" featuring two training modes, a vocal characters profile and an "Interactive Tutorial Mode" with extensive vocals. This bonus disc was never released overseas. This package also includes a 56-page illustrated color booklet, a dual-side collector poster featuring character art and a gameplay command list and a set of stickers. The Sega Saturn version is supplemented by extra game modes such as Survival, Time Attack and Saturn Mode. Three Club Remixes by Yoshiaki Ouchi were taken from the movie's OST and added in the game as unlockable BGM for the stages of Tommy, Lisa and Kurosawa.

The "Saturn Mode", or "PC Mode" in the PC version, is a new story mode. The final fight between Yoko and her elder brother Red Eye is no longer the game's climax. The new plot was re-imagined as a complex network revolving around the Soul Crew duel of Yusaku versus Joe, around which all primary and secondary characters are linked to, for individual reasons. As a result, there is no more fixed fighting order with Red Eye as the last boss to beat. Instead the mode features a random route with Red Eye as a sub boss and a final match specific to each character.

Each final match is introduced by a real time cutscene with the two opponents, which differs from the Arcade Mode's unique dialogue between Yoko and Red Eye. The Arcade Mode's "Extra Stage", which is only available when beating Red Eye without using a continue, does not exist in the story mode. In this bonus stage, the ultimate opponent is a Dural-like metallic mute version of the player's own character. Depending on the version, this extra character is either a solid gray color or reflective. In the console versions, Red Eye is playable with his own story mode ending movie.

Winning the story mode's final stage unlocks a different ending anime sequence for each character and each video is available for future viewing in the "Movie" mode. Prolific Japanese studio Telecom Animation Film (テレコム•アニメーション•フィルム) produced all ten videos, including the opening music sequence.

Last Bronx includes advertising for real life brands such as Shott, Suzuki, Toyo Tires, AM Records, Java Tea, Axia, Wild Blue Yokohama (theme park) and JAL. Most of these advertising bills were removed or exchanged with Sega or Saturn logos, sometimes replaced by "Now Printing" bills, in the oversea releases. An "AAA Act Against AIDS" bill, which is a Japanese nonprofit annual event concert, was introduced in the subway stage of the 1998 Windows version.

After the worldwide release of Last Bronx, Sega PC started a port of the Sega Saturn version for Windows 95/98. This 1998 home version is basically the same as its predecessor but graphically closer to the arcade original with much more detailed fighting environments. The game also ran at a faster frame when using the new "Auto Control" option. The CPU versus CPU non-playable "Watch Mode" was removed. A new "Replay" feature was introduced and extra modes were added including "Team Battle" and "Network Battle", both playable in single, 2-player or 10-player LAN/Internet. Screen resolutions and graphic detail options were also available.

Ten years after the original release, Sega released Last Bronx on the PlayStation 2. This version is a straight emulation of the arcade original, with none of the special modes added to the ports. The four game modes are "Arcade Mode", "VS Mode", "Survival Mode" and "Time Attack Mode". The "Replay Mode" which was introduced in the Windows version is still available and now gives the player the ability to save into the memory card their own "Replays" in order to watch them later. In this upgraded mode, the user can now zoom in/out and freely select the camera angle or even rotate over 360° around the moving characters. This version also features the Sega Ages 2500 usual "Archives" mode with some game art. A hidden bonus menu featuring exclusive options is included in the PlayStation 2 version:

  • Kaodeka Mode: The "Huge Face Mode" allows the use of characters with oversized head, which is typical of the SD anime/manga style.
  • Bukideka Mode: The "Huge Weapon Mode" allows the use of oversized weapons for both characters. These cartoon style big arms don't affect the power of the fighters though.
  • Invincible Mode: This mode disables damage for both characters allowing an unlimited health bar. As a consequence, the player cannot reach the second stage in the single player modes nor cheat in "Survival Mode". This feature is actually meant to be combined with the "Round Time" option set to "Infinity" to be used as a "Practice Mode".
  • Tough Mode: This mode doubles the strength for both characters. When hit, a fighter will only lost the half of the damage compared to the default setting.
  • Homerun Mode: When struck by an uppercut or a powerful attack, the fighters will float much higher in the sky. This mode's name is a reference to the baseball explicit term home run.
  • Gourad Use: Turning on this mode will allow the user to unlock both "Metal" (3DCG model textured with Gouraud shaded reflection & light source effects) and "Gray" (the same light sourced, gray colored 3DCG model minus the reflection effect) versions for all playable characters. An unplayable "Metal" version was already available in the Arcade version, and was also selectable in the PC version through the "Character Model" option. Due to the amount of CPU resource required by the "Metal" effect's Gouraud shading real time operation, a low-detail stage, including simple light sources, was specially designed to host this character: the "Brilliant Room". On the Sega Saturn version, the "Metal" effect is untextured and gray instead. The latter was kept and made available for low-end computers in the following Windows edition. Since the PlayStation 2 hardware is superior to the Model 2, the "Metal" version is now available in all stages, for the two fighters and is even selectable in the character selection screen just like a regular, alternate, costume.

The game is fully compatible with the SegaSaturn Control Pad/Virtua Stick for PlayStation 2 which was specially released on the Japanese market to fit the Sega Ages vintage line. Like its predecessors, this new version doesn't support the vibration function. However, it does feature extensive display options – including frame rate adjustment and letterbox mode. A cheat code can be used to switch between the "Last Bronx 1996" and "Last Bronx 2006". The first one uses the original title screen, game graphics and secret tip messages (how to unlock the Survival Mode, etc.). The latter includes game modes selection, options and the "Pause" function.

Two campaign editions were released through the Sega Direct online shop. The first one was a regular edition bundled with an exclusive "葱 Dumpsters" round badge. The second edition is named "DX Pack", for "Deluxe Pack", and features a "portable strap set" and a "postcard set".

ReceptionEdit

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
GameRankings71.70%[8]
Review scores
PublicationScore
EGM8.25
GameSpot4/10 (SAT)[9]
Next Generation      (ARC, SAT)[10][11]
      (PC)[12]
MAN!AC80/100 (SAT)[13]
Joypad84%[14]

Last Bronx was already a hit and popular franchise in Japan before the home version's release, but it flopped in U.S. arcades, appearing in only a handful of venues in the country.[1][15]

Next Generation reviewed the arcade version, describing it as "a grittier, and in some ways more inventive product than the sometimes overly smooth efforts of AM2." The reviewer also praised the subtle techniques, use of the same intuitive three-button configuration used on all Model 2 fighting games, challenging opponent A.I., fluid animation, and intense sound effects.[10]

Next Generation reviewed the Saturn version of the game, rating it four stars out of five, and stated that "To see the next step in Sega fighters, look at the VF3 test bed known as Fighter's Megamix. However, Last Bronx shows that the current system still has a long way to go before becoming obsolete."[11]

Next Generation reviewed the PC version of the game, rating it two stars out of five, and stated that "It's too bad Sega dropped the ball because this coulda' been a contender."[12]

MerchandiseEdit

BooksEdit

A manga series was launched in the Asuka Fantasy DX collection and Last Bronx was also novelized by Asuka Books.

Artbooks
Comics

In May 2005, the Chinese publisher Ching Win has licensed the Asuka Comics DX manga which were created by the game director himself, for an official release in Taiwan.

  • 1997.09: Last Bronx 4Koma Gag Battle Hinotama Game Comic Series (Shounen On Comics, Koubunsha, 132p.)
  • 1997.10: Last Bronx Comic Anthology (G-Collection, Broccoli, Movic, 165p.)
  • 1998.05: Last Bronx #1 (illus:Saitou Remi/story:Akinobu Abe, Asuka Comics DX, Kadokawa, 176p.)
  • 1998.08: Last Bronx #2 (illus:Saitou Remi/story:Akinobu Abe, Asuka Comics DX, Kadokawa, 169p.)
  • 199X.XX: Last Bronx Complete Edition Set (illus:Saitou Remi/story:Akinobu Abe, Shonen Comic, Kadokawa, 345p.)
  • 2005.05: Last Bronx ~Tokyo Bangaichi~ Martial Arts Tournament Arena Complete Edition

(illus:Saitou Remi/story:Akinobu Abe, Ching Win Publishing Group, licensed by Kadokawa, 345p.)

Novels
  • 1997.07: Last Bronx (Asuka Books)
Strategy guides
  • 1996.08: Last Bronx ~Tokyo Bangaichi~ Official Command Book (Aspect, Ascii 62p.)
  • 1996.10: Last Bronx ~Tokyo Bangaichi~ Official Guide Book (Aspect, Ascii, 269p.)
  • 1996.11: Last Bronx ~Tokyo Bangaichi~ Arcade Game Hisshou Special (Keibunsha)
  • 1997.09: Last Bronx Complete File For Expert (Mainichi Communications, 125p.)
  • 1997.09: Last Bronx Official Guide (Soft Bank Creative, 175p.)
  • 1997.09: Last Bronx V-Jump Books Game Series (Shueisha, 130p.)

ToysEdit

In the brand's game centers, Sega used to offer Tokyo Bangaichi related prizes to pachinko gamers and local arcade contest winners. Various goodies such as plush toys and female fighters dedicated super deformed plastic key holders were produced in Japan by the time of the game's arcade release. An all-character plush toy Christmas special edition was even created in December 1996. When the Sega Saturn was released the following year, the famous model kit maker Hogaraka bought the license to sale official Last Bronx dolls of Lisa, Nagi and Yoko.

FilmEdit

Documentary
  • 1996.08: Last Bronx ~Tokyo Bangaichi~ Compilation (VHS, Columbia Music Entertainment, 45mn, COVC-4728)
V-cinema
  • 1996.10: Last Bronx ~Tokyo Bangaichi~ (VHS, General Entertainment)
  • 1997.06: Last Bronx ~Tokyo Bangaichi~ (VHS, director:Kazuya Shimizu/music:Yoshiaki Ouchi, Toei Video, 90mn, VRZF-00368)

AudioEdit

The Saturn exclusive opening anime's theme song Jaggy Love, performed by the R&B trio D'Secrets (Kaori, Mayumi & Rie) was released as a single, with Kaze No Street as the B-side.

Game OST
  • 1997.06: Last Bronx ~Tokyo Bangaichi~ Sound Battle (Tokoyuki Kawamura, Fast Smile Entertainment, 49mn, FSCA-10008)
  • 1997.08: Jaggy Love [MAXI-CD] (D'Secrets, lyrics:Minoru Ohta/music:Woora, Inoks Record, Pony Canyon, PCDA-95016)
Radio drama

Pony Canyon published a four episodes Radio drama audio CD series.

  • 1997.09: Last Bronx Radio Drama Vol.1 (Inoks Record, Pony Canyon, PCCG-95002)
  • 1997.10: Last Bronx Radio Drama Vol.2 (Inoks Record, Pony Canyon, PCCG-95003)
  • 1997.11: Last Bronx Radio Drama Vol.3 (Inoks Record, Pony Canyon, PCCG-95004)
  • 1997.12: Last Bronx Radio Drama Vol.4 (Inoks Record, Pony Canyon, PCCG-95005)
V-cinema OST
  • 1997.06: Last Bronx ~Soundtrack VS Club Remix~ (Yoshiaki Ouchi, Inoks Record, Pony Canyon, PCCG-95001)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Protos: Last Bronx". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 94. Ziff Davis. May 1997. p. 36.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Interview: Last Bronx". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 21. Emap International Limited. July 1997. pp. 44–47.
  3. ^ a b c d "AM3 Unleash Bronx Cheer". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 15. Emap International Limited. January 1997. p. 12.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Leadbetter, Rich (June 1997). "Last Bronx". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 20. Emap International Limited. pp. 12–16.
  5. ^ Nutter, Lee (August 1997). "A Bronx Tale!". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 22. Emap International Limited. p. 64. Retrieved November 25, 2018.
  6. ^ "Model 3: Sega Affirms Arcade Supremacy". Next Generation. No. 17. Imagine Media. May 1996. pp. 12–18.
  7. ^ "Last Bronx". Sega Saturn Magazine. No. 20. Emap International Limited. June 1997. p. 7.
  8. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-06-28. Retrieved 2017-05-06.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ MacDonald, Ryan (May 2, 2000). "Last Bronx Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 2015-12-07. Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  10. ^ a b "Finals". Next Generation. No. 33. Imagine Media. September 1997. p. 144.
  11. ^ a b "Finals". Next Generation. No. 35. Imagine Media. November 1997. p. 196.
  12. ^ a b "Finals". Next Generation. No. 43. Imagine Media. July 1998. p. 116.
  13. ^ Ehrle, Oliver (2019-01-16). "Last Bronx - im Klassik-Test (SAT)". MANIAC.de (in German). Archived from the original on 2019-05-02. Retrieved 2019-05-02.
  14. ^ "Test: Last Bronx". Joypad (in French). No. 68. France. October 1997. pp. 100–101.
  15. ^ "Tokyo Game Show Report from Japan". Next Generation. No. 30. Imagine Media. June 1997. p. 16.

External linksEdit