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River City Ransom this NES brawler RPG has made it to the Wii U virtual console.

Updated on October 5, 2015

My youtube video review

Note all pictures in this hub were captured by me playing the game on a game capture device.

This week my first RPG I have ever played came out on the Wii U virtual console. Does it involve fighting a dragon to save a princess and kingdom? Nope does it involve collecting crystals to restore the environment and stop the forces of chaos? Nope What does it involve beating the crap out of kids and stealing their lunch money. The game I am reviewing today is River City Ransom


If you’re looking for something epic here when it comes to the story then you’re going to be disappointed. This is still an 80’s action NES game you know that that means, it means someone that likes to wear a dress is going to be kidnap, yeah that’s something I also notice with the exception of April O Neil in the ninja turtles games all the woman who got kidnap in the 80’s never wore pants.

Anyways your goal is to play has either Alex or Ryan and find your way into River City high School which has been over taken by thugs and save your girlfriend, to do that you have to find and beat bosses, and do them in a certain order. The instruction booklet that came with the NES gave you hints but for the most part just starts with Rocko in the warehouse and follow his advice to find the other guys. Usually to make boss appear you’ll have to beat 4 or 5 enemies on a screen to make them show up. Also you can read the bottom of the screen too see what beaten grunts say, barf, biff, mama.

While the story isn’t anything really memorable the fact that you have to read dialogue and look for hints to find things in the right areas to unlock new scenes was uncommon in a brawler like this. All the other brawlers on the NES were just linear beat up all the guys and move on to the next screen so River City Ransom even have a narrative has strange and lean has it was something new.


Yeah the game looks like a game called Dodgeball; that’s because they used the same sprites but I like the cartoony look to the characters and the backgrounds for when this game was made on the NES look good. The game has very little slow down to it too boot. It only suffers from NES limitations in one area, no more than 2 bad guys are ever on screen at a time.

I like the cartoony graphics in this game

they give this game a style all of it's own
they give this game a style all of it's own


The music in this game has a really catchy beat and while it may not be has well known has a Mario game it’s still really good. The sound effects are also really good for the 80’s.


The game maybe a brawler but it’s a nonlinear one your free to run from screen too screen at your own will, you don’t have to fight any of the bad guys if you don’t want too. That says you will want to beat up most of them…why because they drop coins which is River City Ransoms way of powering up. Coins equal money and you will need to use money when you get to malls.

Yeah there are 4 malls in River City Ransom, they function has check points has well has a place to power up our heroes. Each mall has stores with power ups, restaurants will heal your character give them more health (wow did he just eat that plate). Book stores give you access too new abilities, and drug stores for example will give your health boosters that you can use later on. Both the health boost and the new abilities share the same item screen so choose wisely. I normally only two abilities they can pick up in the first mall in the beginning of the game the stone hands and dragon feet, basically make you punch and kick really fast. I also recommend picking up the army boots in the 3rd mall, and then stocking up on drugs in the 4th mall. Are we saving the world by using generic Viagra. Got no joke on top of that but something to think about. Also the last mall has the Pops health club where we can take a sauna which is a cheap way too power up your characters.

You will need to shop for power ups.
You will need to shop for power ups.

Has far has the fighting mechanic goes there pretty basic. Yeah you have weapons but once you get stone hands and dragon feet you don’t really use them. There useful if you don’t acquire them but I just prefer beating thugs up using my bare hands. The average enemies go down without too much of a fuss, but they do damage if you do get hit. RCR isn’t hard but it’s not exactly a push over your going have to spend time figuring out what are the best items for improving the stats you need to win. And yes there are some useless things to spend your money on like the Arco Circus here, yay a spinning jump that does little damage and is hard to hit people with.

If there’s one complaint I can make about this game is there is a bug in the AI standing on top of things causes the enemies to freeze and they won’t unfreeze often until a few seconds after you decide to jump down. So kicking enemy thugs in the head is really easy. This includes the final boss. Yeah this guy was smart enough to take over the school, and kidnap a girlfriend, not smart enough to jump up and do an upper cut to keep from getting kicked in the head.

I should warn you this game kind falls into the Battletoads area of not being a 2 player friendly game. I don’t have any footage but I do remember being able to hit and kill each other, plus you can both run off the screen. It’s not like Battletoads where both sides are heavily penalized if one person dies, but at the same time you don’t want to play with someone who a novice or is unfriendly towards you in anyway.

Final Recommendation.

I give RCR a 4.5 out of 5. It’s a must have the virtual console and a really great fighting and RPG game for the Wii U virtual console. I should also tell you the game was also remade for the GBA and while some say it’s better I do not. Don’t get me wrong they fixed the AI bug and gave the game a lot better color scheme but in the process they try to make the game last longer and make it harder, all they did was manage to make the game more tedious by having you grind more


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