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River City Ransom

An NES game created by American-Technos.

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"What do you want to do tonight? Watch Ralph and Barry BARF!?"

  • Nov 18, 2010
  • by

The days of the classic NES were good days indeed.  Games still felt like games without being too real and really had some levity in them.  This game even with it's an action game feels light and fun.  The colors are light, the music is light with some levity in it's sound effects and the game is just plain fun.

The story has Ryan and Alex from Cross Town High going "cross town, get it?!" to River City High, the rival school where a student names Slick has kidnapped Ryan's girlfriend and has mobilized the toughs at the school to stop you if you try and rescue her.  I don't know WHY he kidnapped her other then Slick is a jerk, your not even sure of the demands unless you read the instructions but one thing is certain, it's time to kick some butt.

WIth no real difference between them, take Alex or Ryan across town through shopping malls, parks, warehouses and highways and fighting your way past the enemy gangs.  Ranging from the cowerdly pink shirted Frat Guys, the violent pipeswinging Mob gang to even the rowdy Cowboys.  Gangs carry sticks and chains among other weapons but trash cans and rocks can also be used to fight off the foes.  Beating them gets you money to spend at the malls on power ups for your health, attack power and other attributes along with techniques you can learn like faster kicks and spin attacks.  Yes, you are reading that right, this is a sidescrolling action game like Final Fight but it's got RPG elements to it and best of all...no fetch quests.

There isn't much in the way of platforming other then making some jumps here and there and there aren't many holes in the game to fall into.  It's a simple game.  Beat up anyone who isn't your friend to get money, buy power ups and fight the bosses.  Careful you don't hit your friend in two player mode since firendly fire is common in the game.

The game has also one of the best death moments in games.  When you beat a gang member, especially one early on, they will usually dissapear from screen with this parting message:



I still don't know why they say that?  Is it one of those mis-translations in video games?  Stupid censorship?  Who knows.  It's funny though.

Graphics and sound are nice by Nintendo standards.  A cartoony look with nice bright colors with the appropriate maching sounds of cracks and whacks for the sound effects.  The music in the factories is a little more grim but theres only two of those levels.  One more thing about the graphics, I still laugh considerabbly when I see the characters eating the powerups in the shops.  The game sadly has a LONG password system that is EASY to screw up so careful writing down all the characters if you need to take a break.

River City Ransom is a classic for the NES ans is now on the WII virtual console.  Take a look if you got tired of Double Dragon or wanted a little more depth to it.....


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November 24, 2010
highly entertaining review, John! cheers!
November 25, 2010
No problem. WIsh this had a SNES release
More River City Ransom reviews
Quick Tip by . June 04, 2010
One of my favorite NES games. Pretty good graphics for the time, great gameplay. The RPG elements are a very welcome introduction in a genre that was always pretty straight forward.
review by . April 25, 2010
Classic NES Fighting.... and Upgrading?
River City Ransom was the first NES game I ever bought with my own money as a kid. I liked it from the very first day I rented and had to have it. This game floats between well known and obscure in vintage game circles these days, and probably wasn't much more than that when it was new. It's quite the find if you can get it on a cartridge and system.      The story of this game is really simple. In the town of River City Alex and Ryan have had their girlfriends kidnapped. They …
About the reviewer
John Nelson ()
Ranked #8
Born in Wausau Wisconsin. Move at an early age to Ventura California and lived for 8 years. Growing up in a big city landscape didn't prepare me for my next move: Archbold Ohio with a population of … more
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About this video game


River City Ransom, released in Japan and as Street Gangs in the PAL region, is a video game for the Family Computer/Nintendo Entertainment System, originally released in 1989. It was one of the first console games published by North American subsidiary American Technos.

It is the third game in Technos' Kunio-kun series released for the Famicom, preceded by Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun (Renegade) and Nekketsu Kōkō Dodgeball Bu (Super Dodge Ball). Like its predecessors, Monogatari underwent great changes in its storyline and graphical presentation during its localization in order to make the game more palatable in the western market.

Remakes of the game have been released for the PC Engine, X68000 and Game Boy Advance. The NES version was re-released in North America on the Wii's Virtual Console on April 21, 2008, for a price of 500 Wii Points.
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Number of Players: 2
Publisher: American-Technos,
Console: Nintendo Entertainment System (NES)
Genre: Action Adventure

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