?The closest I can compare this to any other Nekketsu game is River City Ransom because of its RPG elements. There's no money collecting or food-buying, in fact, I don't think you can buy anything, ever. You simply gain experience from beating people up and your stats rise when you gain a level. You can equip different shoes, lining (coat lining?) and weapons, which consist of things like boxing gloves and brass knuckles. The items you collect include taxi cards for a quick return to your hotel, and you learn techniques that temporarily raise your stats but drain your willpower.
You can beat up anyone, whether or not they're angry at you. At first you'll probably just be accosted by punks in blue school uniforms and the occasional schoolgirl, but old men with beer guts, ladies, and salarymen eventually start fights with you. Even with the translation, I'm not sure why. When you get into a fight, there's no way of escaping, and the screen won't scroll again until everyone's dead. When you die, you're returned to your hotel bed, probably with some kind of penalty (but I never noticed). Sometimes people on the streets will join your side during a fight, but you still get experience for killing them.
The fighting works well and has a good "brawl" feeling, and you'll be doing a lot of it. At certain points in the game you can get a companion to fight with you, but they usually hurt you more than help. The music is incredibly great, and it never got old for me. The sounds are well done, but subtle. You get a nice sound when breaking a wooden stick over someone's head, or when hearing your thrown lead pipe bounce off the left side of the screen in stereo.
I think the story is very good... it has some branching options; you can join the evil side later in the game, as well as be uncooperative with the police. If you're a person who needs to know what's going on in a game to enjoy it, I recommend you wait until the translation is 100% complete. If you know Japanese or just want a good aimless romp, by all means, go for it. It's a lot of fun.? Two thumbs up, way up!
Note: the ROM download on this site has the latest English translation patch (alpha 2) already applied, although there are still about 15% Japanese text left. Keep your eyes open on the translation site for the final release of the patch.