Video Game: Growl

Gen, Burn, and their animal friends.
Growl, known as Runark in Japan, is a side-scrolling Beat 'em Up by Taito released in 1990.

In the early 20th century, a ring of evil poachers is going around Africa slaughtering innocent animals, and it's up to our four heroes — the rangers Gen, Burn, Khan, and Jack — to beat them into submission. The game's most distinctive feature, besides the variety of weapons, is that when you free an animal from the poachers' grasp, it fights alongside you for a short while.

A Sega Genesis port was released in 1991. It was relatively accurate to the arcade version, with the major changes being the lack of a multiplayer mode, scaled-down graphics, and the replacement of the lava stage with another brawling level. The arcade version is included in Taito Legends 2 for the PlayStation 2 and Xbox.

This game provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Androcles' Lion: Almost every animal you release during gameplay will attack poachers for a while.
  • Boss Rush: All the bosses reappear in the enemy's hideout before the final boss battle.
  • Bowdlerize: The version in Taito Legends 2 removed all the dismembered body parts that appear whenever an enemy is killed in an explosion or mauled by an animal.
  • Car Fu: The first boss can pick up and toss a nearby truck to the player as a weapon. The final boss lifts a tank instead.
  • Convection Schmonvection: The lava level.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer:
    • Gen: White
    • Burn: Red
    • Khan: Blue
    • Jack: Gold
  • Competitive Balance: Burn and Jack can swing any weapon they wield faster, but Gen and Khan are better jumpers. Gen in particular is the highest jumper, but the slowest weapon wielder.
  • Clown Car Tank: Round 5 ends with an encounter against a tank that holds nine mooks in it.
  • Direct Continuous Levels: The entire game until Round 6 (the cavern stage).
  • Dub Name Change: The names of the two main organizations, as well as the enemy characters, are different between the Japanese and English manuals.
    • WAPS (World Animal Protection Society) to PAWS (Protectors of Animals' World Society)
    • Belser Animal Protection Organization to Rendow Animal Protection Organization
    • Daisuke to Jetgun
    • Araboo to Hassan
    • Boostedman to Booster
    • Dib to Gazoss
    • Beth to Doll
    • Only Nitroman remained unchanged.
  • Evil Poacher: Of course.
  • Fat Bastard: The six fat guys at the end of Round 3.
  • Flash of Pain: Booster and Nitroman will both begin flashing red whenever they're near death.
  • Fun with Acronyms: According to the manual for the Genesis port, the good guys are members of the Protectors of Animals' World Society. The bad guys on the other hand, are working for the Rendow Animal Protection Organization .
  • Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The final boss, which even illustrates the page.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: The boss of Round 4 begs for mercy by offering a free weapon after being defeated. If you pick it up or turn around, he will use the opportunity for a free hit. Thankfully, he only takes one more hit to kill.
  • Law of Chromatic Superiority: The palette-swapped enemies aren't there for show, their different colors indicate how much health they have compared to other enemies of the same type depending on the character.
    • Jetgun: purple < green < red
    • Doll: black dress with blond hair < pink dress with red hair < green dress with black hair and dark skin
    • Hassan: red < yellow < blue
  • Ludicrous Gibs: The most infamous aspects of the game is that an enemy (or crowds of enemies) killed with a bladed weapon (sword) or an explosive firearm (grenade or rocket) explodes into charred smithereens.
  • No Name Given: Everyone in the arcade version. In the Sega Genesis port, the names of the four main guys are given in the character select screen (presumably since none of the characters are color-coded anymore), while the enemies' are All There in the Manual, which are as followed.
    • Jetgun - Hunting cap-wearing male mook.
    • Doll - Female mook in powersuit.
    • Hassan - Turban-wearing male mook.
    • Nitroman - Boss strapped with dynamite.
    • Gazoss - Fat Bastard boss.
    • Booster - Masked wrestler boss.
  • Non Indicative Name: The game only has seven stages (excluding the bonus round at the end of the train stage), but the game's ranking display recognizes the final stage as "Round 8". Presumably there was a deleted stage that took place between the cavern and the enemy's hideout.
  • Non-Standard Game Over: The arcade version can be set up so that no continues are allowed during the final boss fight. If the player dies during this instance, it will display an alternate ending which states that the aliens took away all the animals from the jungle and used them as food supply.
  • Panty Shot: The panties of the female mooks can be seen when kicking or is slumped face down.
  • Palette Swap: Half of the player characters are palette swaps of the other two (Gen and Khan; Burn and Jack) and all the enemies have three palette swapped variants each (except for the third boss Booster, who only has two, and the final boss).
    • In the Genesis version, Khan and Burn (the blue and red players in the arcade version) used the same palette as Gen and Jack (who wear white and yellow respectively), making them visually indistinguishable from their counterparts. This is presumably the reason why the Genesis version displayed the main characters' names on the character select screen.
  • Portmantitle: The Japanese title (Runark) comes from a combination of "Rune" and "Ark."
  • The Reveal: The leader of the poachers is a giant alien millipede.
  • Shared Universe: With Darius of all things. The enemy organization is called the Belser Animal Protection Organization in the Japanese version and the Belser Army were the bad guys in the Darius series. What makes this more than a simple reference is the fact that the final boss is an alien in disguise.
  • Throw Away Guns
    • The six shooter revolvers can be thrown at enemies once all of their ammo are used up.
    • Averted with the M-16 and rocket launcher. The player can still use either of them as melee weapons after all the ammo is gone.
  • Traintop Battle: Round 2.
  • Unexpected Gameplay Change: Round 6 in the arcade version inexplicably switches from a Beat 'em Up to a Platformer, forcing you to jump between narrow platforms in a lava-filled cave.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: The Dolls have an unlimited amount of stick grenades they take from the chest area of their blouses.
  • Whip It Good: One of the weapons in the game.
  • X Meets Y: Growl is Double Dragon meets Indiana Jones meets Animal Wrongs Group.