40: River City Ransom

Genre: Beat-em-up/RPG

Developer: Technos
Publisher: Technos
Year: 1990

Basic Idea: Save your high-school while learning martial arts by reading books.

Review: One of those NES games that is more popular than it is great, but it’s still pretty damned great.  If this were simply a Double Dragon RPG, I might rank this even higher.  It being a Technos game, however, they insist on using these butt-ugly blocky guys that are funny to look at but awkward to control and have questionable hit detection.  The game is hilarious.  Players make funny faces and even barf at times.  The shopkeepers are amusing.  Attacks are creative.  And the ways in which you improve your stats and your skills lends to humor much like in Earthbound.

Sadly. the game has some annoyances.  It’s non-linear, but in the annoying way in that you may have to backtrack through multiple levels to get something you need.  The password system is also fifty miles long, which is inexcusable for a game released in 1990.  Finally, the game has RAM issues like every other game by Technos; characters flicker like crazy when too many get on the screen.  It doesn’t kill the game like it did with Super Dodge Ball, but it’s enough to annoy me here.

Worthy of a play by anyone who is a fan of beat-em-ups.


4 thoughts on “40: River City Ransom

  1. Honestly, the look of this game always turned me off enough that I didn’t play it (which is saying something, since I’m just not a graphics guy). As a result, I didn’t even know it had RPG elements. Now, 22 years after its release, it’s finally mildly on my radar.

  2. I liked it as a rental. Loaded it up a couple years ago. I probably got about as far as I did when we rented it before I lost interest again.

    Dodgeball was still a lot of fun against another human. Tried that for the first time a couple years ago.

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