River City Ransom (NES)

Its as easy as seeing the title screen for the first time. You are right in the action within seconds. Punch, kick, throw anything you can find to make your way to River City High where Slick is holding your girlfriend. But don’t think it will be that easy. Slick has employed his Zombie bosses (fancy word for mind controlled) at each check point to make sure you don’t get there. The game envelopes many genres into one great game. You have action, role playing, adventure and even some hilarious side humor along the way to make it more enjoyable.


Personally there is nothing funnier than running up to Benny and Clyde sucker punching them before they can even finish their intro lines. Many people from back in the day remember the point where 8 bit butt was shown for the first time when they went into a sauna. I do like how the game peppers in some “safe zones” in the form of shopping malls to ease the pain of the journey. From martial art books to gain new techniques, items to help you run faster, regain energy and some that just make you smile (its free after all).

All in all it has a good story, great gameplay and is a must for anyone who has an original Nintendo system. My generation has the understanding that it redefined the beat em up genre after Double Dragon. However, if you do find one, you will pay a good price for it since its popularity has remained steady over the decades.

Soon I will review River City Ransom EX for the GBA. Its basically the same game with a few twists that make for an interesting upgrade.

There has been an indie “sequel” released called River City Underground, but after playing it for a few times, I felt it wasn’t in the same vein as its predecessor, so I will not say much on it other than good graphics, good gameplay, but ultimately not nearly as good as the original. I know I’ll get a lot of flack for saying that but I wouldn’t review something if I weren’t being honest about it. I’m not one of those reviewers who feel they have to pander to their audience for threat of dislikes and unsubscriptions.

Editor’s Note: This is a review for the English version Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari which was changed to River City Ransom. While I have played the original as well as the English version, I’m emphasizing on the English version for the review. I will, however, do a review on the original Famicom version in the future because I feel it deserves its own.

  • The Good

    Fast paced action, semi open ended gameplay, a testament to beat em ups everywhere

  • The bad

    Steep learning curve when figuring out the various moves. Sometimes the player can get easily cornered

  • Gameplay ( 9 )
    Graphics ( 9 )
    Music ( 10 )
  • Total score 9.3

So what say you? Do you agree with this review? Did I leave something out? Leave a shout in the comments if you feel the need. Stay tuned soon as I dive into the whole Kunio-Kun series of games from its birth to the present. Should be a fun ride.

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