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River City Ransom (NES)

80
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.0
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Adzuken (702)
Written on  :  Apr 09, 2009
Platform  :  NES
Rating  :  4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars

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Summary

River City: Where the smiles are free!

The Good

River City Ransom is one of my favourite NES games. It’s bizarre, really easy to pick up and play with a friend, and it has a lot of depth for an NES game.

The game brilliantly meshes RPG stat building with a typical brawler formula. While you run around the city, you’ll pick up coins from fallen enemies, which you can then spend on new techniques, equipment, and food that can not only heal you, but also raise your stats. And because it’s a co-op game, you can even coordinate with the other player when building your stats, so while one person builds up their punch, the other can give their character a kick to be feared.

The combat in the game has slightly more depth than the typical early beat-em-up. Although most of the time you will just beat on an enemy until he’s dead, there’s often quicker ways to whup them. Dashing at an enemy before attacking causes more damage, and sometimes it’s easier to throw them into River City’s numerous bottomless pits. There are a number of weapons in the game, such as pipes, bats, boxes, and tires. You can even pick up and use fallen enemies (or the second player) to batter your foes.

Unlike many games of the NES generation, River City Ransom doesn’t make it a point to kick your butt. It can be quite challenging, but rarely is it unfair. New players should find it really easy to pick up and play, while experienced players will see that it has a great deal of depth.

The Bad

Although it’s among my favourite NES games, River City Ransom isn’t perfect. The game never really progresses. The enemies get a bit tougher, but they aren’t any different than the ones at the beginning of the game. They don’t wield new weapons, they don’t employ different tactics, and they don’t even look very unique. Even the bosses look like average joes. Luckily, the game is short enough that it doesn’t ever get the chance to feel repetitive.

The games brevity is actually another complaint I have. It isn’t difficult to beat this game in under 3 or 4 hours. On the other hand, this does make it an easy game to pick up and play in the afternoon. This makes it a great co-op game, since you can beat it easily in one sitting. If you’re anything like me, and I know I am, you’ll find yourself playing through it more than twice.

The Bottom Line

In summary, River City Ransom is a short-but-sweet, simple-yet-deep, co-op, beat-em-up, that you and a friend can have a blast playing through in an afternoon. The game is simple to pick up and learn, even for novice players and non-gamers. It is one of the best NES games ever released, and should be a part of every retro gamer’s collection. River City Ransom is an AMAZING game.