Downtown Special: Kunio-kun no Jidaigeki da yo Zen'in Shūgō! is an action role-playing beat 'em up game for the Famicom, both developed and published by Technos Japan released on July 26, 1991 in Japan. It is a follow-up to River City Ransom in which the characters act out a period play.
Just like River City Ransom the game is easy to play, and the player is now offered a lot more freedom. The player is free to decide how their character grows, what techniques they will use and much more, giving the player infinite possibilities in gameplay and replay value.
The game expands on the gameplay introduced in River City Ransom, with most of the systems revamped. Up to two players can play through the game (a maximum of four players can play together with a code). When starting the game, the player can select two separate modes, Cooperation or Battle. These determine if friendly-fire is enabled or not. The player can also switch who controls Kunimasa and his companion (Tsurumatsu at the beginning of the game). Pressing the Select button in this screen allows the player to rename all of the playable characters.
Just like in River City Ransom, the player is able to travel through an open world in a non-linear sandbox progression in a bigger world. Enemy clans will travel through the game's map at the same time as the player, in order to fight the clans the player has to reach them first. Defeating all enemies in a clan will have the boss spawn and when he is defeated the player has to travel through the map to find another enemy clan (or let the clan reach them first). If there are no enemy clans in an area the player is free to explore it and some areas are shopping districts, allowing players to stay at an inn or purchase items and equipment.
The game's objective is to defeat all of the game's bosses. This requires fighting each of the enemy clans to make them appear. Once the final boss is defeated, the player simply has to return to the Bunzō family house to complete the game (no enemies will be around after the final boss is defeated). In a single player game, if the player controlled character is defeated they will be returned to Suruga (near the Bunzō family house) with half of their money lost. In a two player game if one player is defeated, he will re-appear on the next screen with his stamina recovered but lose half of their money. If both players are defeated they will be returned to the Bunzō family house near Suruga with half of their money lost.
The head of the Bunzō family has fallen ill. Kunimasa and Tsurumatsu pay a visit to the ill Bunzō, where they meet his daughter Okoto. Asajirō then appears and informs Kunimasa that Okoto is his fiancée. Though Kunimasa is suspicious, he ignores this to meet Bunzō, who tasks him with the mission of finding a medicinal herb to cure his illness.