River City Ransom (NES)

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  • System: Nintendo Entertainment System
  • Genre: Action
  • Max Players: 1-2
  • US Release: January 1990
  • Developer: Technos Japan
  • Publisher: American Technos

Okay, kids. It’s time for a good game. I know it’s been a while, but let’s just get this out of the way so I can get back to using off-color comparisons and inappropriate commentary to convey my utter disgust for whatever terrible game I happen to be reviewing in the following months. In the meantime, it was brought to my attention that I rarely do a game that I actually endorse, and I thought that that is an unfair portrayal of me, being such an advocate of the classic systems amongst classic systems, the Nintendo Entertainment System. With that having been said, buckle your seatbelts, dorks, as we enter…River City Ransom.

rcrsnLike most games of this time and genre, the story is simple enough. Slick, the apparent bad dude of River City, has kidnapped your girlfriend, and you must beat the living crap out of everyone in the entire city to get her back. It may sound dumb, but the game has sort of a satirical feel to it, seemingly poking fun at the games and above all cheesy storylines of this time period. It was perfect considering the humorous approach that the game seems to convey. Once the story is stated and the characters are selected, it’s time to kick some ass.

Initially, this game reminded me a lot of Double Dragon. Only I didn’t realize, Double Dragon didn’t kick quite this much ass. It’s a lot more cartoony than DD, and therefore a lot funnier. Enemies will rush onto the screen and slap you upside the head very comically, and then once you return fire with a barrage of punches, they will keel over, uttering hilarious dying words like “BARF!”. The weapons you can pick up add to the hilarity, such as picking up a trashcan and bashing the hell out of an enemy’s head. BARF!

Another very welcome addition is the shopping malls. Though a lot more cartoony than most scrolling fighters, this game is very much advanced. In the shopping malls, with the money that you have collected from the beaten thugs, you can buy anything from food to medicine to books for learning moves to a relaxing sauna. Once fully charged up and ready to go, you can continue on to the next section of the town, kicking even more ass than you were before. Eventually, after clearing all sections and their respective bosses, you must enter River City High School, where the final bout with Slick will commence. I won’t spoil the ending for you here, but just know it is sorta weak. But hey, who’s playing RCR for the storyline? Yeah, that’s what I thought…

Overall, the game kicks ass. It is simple, cartoonish, and funny, but still has many functions in the game that are more advanced than the serious games of this time. Clearly, no NES collection is complete without this game. I’d buy it myself, but that’s the beauty of long term borrowing—sooner or later they forget.

  • GameCola Rates This Game: 7 - Good
  • Score Breakdown

  • Fun Score: 9
  • Audio Score: 6.5
  • Visuals Score: 8
  • Controls Score: 7.5
  • Replay Value: 8.5
1 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 101 vote, average: 6.00 out of 10 (You need to be a registered member to rate this post.)

About the Contributor

Neal Iannone is a former staff member from GameCola's early days as a monthly email newsletter.

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