River City Ransom


Review by Jess Ragan

Amer. Technos


Graphics: 8

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 10

Overall: 9

rivercityransom1.png (3002 bytes)It simply perplexes me that Ed Semrad & many of the pundits of the industry have come down so hard on the NES, the very ship which sailed gaming across the turmoil of customer disgust to an environment more advanced and complete than any other in its time. Some of the world's best cartridges are available only on the NES, and the classics we enjoyed in the early 80's were finally done justice with its advent - you simply can't compare Bandai's Galaga or Konami's Gyruss to the clearly inferior efforts from the ColecoVision or any of Atari's ill-fated consoles.

While today's games - breathtaking audiovisuals and all - invariably bore us to tears in a matter of days or even hours, the NES' kept us entertained for months on end. THIS is the thanks we give it for yanking our hobby out of the tar pits of obscurity and treating us to the largest selection of high quality software of its (or, arguably any other) time? You're so gracious! Peckers.

Anyway, River City Ransom by renowned fighting game programmers American Technos, is just one of the many NES titles that exhibit the high audiovisual standards, innovation, and nearly infinite playability that characterized the system. Patterned loosely after the Double Dragon games, RCR has its origin more deeply rooted in Super Dodgeball with its pudgy characters and quirky, yet hard-hitting action.

rivercityransom2.png (3092 bytes)Bits of role-playing come into play with the huge array of items available to augment your character's status. These things round out what could have been another me-too side scrolling beat 'em up. RCR brilliantly flaunts the playability and replay value that made the NES a household name. Two players can join together to explore the many interconnected brawl locales which make up River City, and thrash the gangs and their bosses - resulting in some humorous exclamations (i.e. "Mommmiiieee!"), if a thug has the good fortune to escape. All kinds of painful weapons, including lead pipes, brass knuckles, and tires (which can be hopped upon and ridden!) can be picked up to mutilate your opposition, and for the bloodthirsty, there's always those delightful times when your friend's back is turned and a nice gaping pit is just inches away...

OK, so it's not up to par audiovisually with a game like Streets of Rage 2. Big deal! River City Ransom can take on any 16-bit fighting game and emerge victorious in the long haul. Screw the 16, 32, and 64 bit revolution! Few games for any of these formats exhibit the omni-enticing play that RCR and the NES deliver. Do yourself a huge favor and dust off the old workhorse and one of these beauties. The NES may have had it in the sales department, but that makes it all the more viable to Digital Press - and especially to me - as the one system you must buy this year.


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Last updated: Tuesday, September 27, 2005 12:56 AM