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River City Ransom (NES)

100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
5 point score based on user ratings.
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The evil Slick has kidnapped Ryan's girlfriend and taken over the high school. The player is cast as either Ryan or Alex (second player) and has to fight his way through River City's merciless gangs before confronting Slick and freeing his girl.

River City Ransom is a side-scrolling beat-em-up similar to Double Dragon. The player, or players, travel through the locations of River City, encountering various gangs along the way. Gang members can be defeated with punches and kicks, or beaten up with objects scattered around. Upon their defeat, gang members drop money which Alex and Ryan can spend in malls to buy items that restore health and improve their combat abilities. The main characters have RPG-like numerical stats that can be improved this way, and can also buy books to learn combat manoeuvres. To finish the game, the player(s) have to find and defeat all the bosses.


River City Ransom NES Hey, careful with that there stick!
River City Ransom NES Title screen (European version)
River City Ransom NES Inventory. If you read the comic, you'll gain better stats
River City Ransom NES Forest battle

Alternate Titles

  • "ダウンタウン熱血物語" -- Japanese spelling
  • "Street Gangs" -- European title
  • "River City Ransom EX" -- Gameboy Advance title
  • "Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari" -- Japanese title

Part of the Following Groups

User Reviews

River City: Where the smiles are free! Adzuken (691) 4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars
Barf! Zovni (9384) 4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars4.25 Stars
Take Street Fighter, add Final Fantasy, throw in some Super Mario Brothers, what do you get? River City Ransom! Jimmy Sherrill (8) unrated
Street fighting never got better than this MaiZure (114) 4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars4.75 Stars

The Press Says

Thunderbolt Games Jul 29, 2004 10 out of 10 100
Netjak Aug 16, 2002 9.5 out of 10 95
GamesCollection Nov 26, 2007 8.5 out of 10 85
N-Force Nov, 1992 81 out of 100 81
Nintendo Power Magazine Sep, 1989 4 out of 5 80 Mar, 2003 7.9 out of 10 79
NES Archives Feb 10, 2009 B 75
Joystick (French) Nov, 1992 74 out of 100 74
VideoGame Apr, 1991 3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars3 Stars 60
Total! (Germany) Jul, 1993 4.25 out of 6 35


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  • When you are on the 3rd floor of the school and you fight the "Dragon Twins", the background music is the same music from the NES game Double Dragon.
  • The gang duo Benny & Clyde is an obvious take on the famous criminal duo "Bonny & Clyde" from the 1930s

Version differences

In the original Japanese version (Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari) the characters wore schoolboy jackets and belonged to high schools instead of gangs. This was changed in the American version because the jackets could be mistaken for bathrobes and beating up evil gang members seemed like a more worthy cause.


  • GameSpy
    • 2004 – Best Use of Barf of the Year (GBA)
Information also contributed by Jimmy Sherrill
Ghost (106) added River City Ransom (NES) on Nov 01, 2002
Other platforms contributed by WildKard (12157), GTramp (28619), Zovni (9384) and gamewarrior (5067)