River City Ransom by Tomm Hulett

I’m sorry to say that River City Ransom is one of those games whose significance I failed to properly appreciate at the time. I borrowed it from a classmate, finished it in an afternoon, returned it the next day, and promptly failed to think about it again for years. The problem, I suspect, is that I never bothered to try it with another player, so it seemed like just another slightly open-ended action game, except shorter and easier than something like Faxanandu. If only I’d had a friend to play with, I’d have better appreciated the fact that it was a lot like Final Fight or Double Dragon except with actual substance… and the ability to chuck your friend at bad guys.

I learned my lesson, though. These days, I savor games. Sip, not gulp.

7 thoughts on “GSQ6: BARF

  1. Nice article.

    BTW Tomm, are you sure that that “Welcome to the RC!” wasn’t a reference to The OC?

  2. RCR is great on Virtual Console since you can just pick it up where you left off and not have to worry about passwords. Unless you want to switch between single-player and two player, in which case it’s still an agonizing process.

    • Because I remember you said you did it with no awareness of the OC or something.

      Anyways, I found it funny because in addition to personally knowing you, I’ve known Josh Schwartz, creator of the OC.

  3. I dunno, when I wanna play something as mindless as a brawler, I go all out. RCR just has too much depth for me when I’m in that mindset.

    Actually, maybe it’s just the game’s ‘charm’ that doesn’t appeal to me. Maybe the only time I like to play these games is when it involves some sort of license, like X-men or TMNT or the Avengers.

    Or, god forbid, Spider-man, Hawkeye, and Namor.

  4. RCR was (and still is) one of the greatest brawlers of all-time. And while I haven’t really given it a fair shake, I’d say that it’s probably better than the modern-day interpretation of the game that is Scott Pilgrim.

    There’s a GBA port of the game, but for some reason, a lot of the physics and whatnot have changed. Things just don’t feel quite as “solid” compared to the original, and it suffers for that, despite the expanded moveset.

  5. “I’d have better appreciated the fact that it was a lot like Final Fight or Double Dragon except with actual substance…”

    I’m sorry, but what “lack of substance” are you talking about? As much as I love River City Ransom, as beat-’em-up player myself, it always annoys that people are always comparing Double Dragon and Final Fight (or any other arcade beat-’em-up) unfavorably to it, by declaring them to be “shallow” just because they don’t have stats-building, all your moves are available from the start and the levels are linear and not free-roaming. I bet most people who dismiss the genre have never even tried completing Final Fight on a single credit.

    I will grant that one thing that River City Ransom did differently from arcade beat-’em-ups is that weapons could be carried from one scene to the next without being forced to lose them (likely the result of every enemy having the same sprites as the player, thus the same animation frames for everyone).

    It’s a shame that [i]Downtown Special[/i] (the Samurai-themed Kunio game) only came out in Japan. That was the only true sequel to [i]River City Ransom[/i] that was ever made as far as I’m concerned (the Super Famicom beat-’em-ups with Kunio and Riki might as well had been different games starring the same characters), as it had a different inventory for special moves, varied level designs, and actual free-roaming (as opposed to just getting from point A to point B).

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