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River City Ransom

aka: Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari, Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari EX, Kunio-kun The World: Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari, River City Ransom EX, Street Gangs

Description official descriptions

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.

The Game Boy Advance port of the game adds a number of features, including the ability to recruit certain characters (including defeated bosses) to fight alongside you. It also has different gangs and several new weapons.


  • くにおくん ザ・ワールド ~ダウンタウン熱血物語~ - Microsoft / PlayStation Store Japanese spelling
  • ダウンタウン熱血物語 - Japanese spelling
  • ダウンタウン熱血物語ex - Japanese Game Boy Advance spelling

Groups +



Credits (NES version)

16 People (13 developers, 3 thanks)

Programmed by
Character Design by
B.G. Designed by
Sound Composed by
Sound Programmed by
Manual Package Design by
Special Thanks to
Directed by




Despite what a first-time player might think, the enemies aren't randomly generated—each of the gangs has nine pre-defined members (ten in the GBA version), each with his own specific name, appearance, and even different stats.

Final boss

In the GBA port, the final boss (Slick) can use a telekinetic attack where he tosses weapons at the player. The original NES version contains an unused sprite of Slick doing the same attack pose, suggesting that he was originally going to have psychic powers in the NES game but they were never implemented.


  • 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 "Bonnie and 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. This, however, does not apply to the Game Boy Advance port, where the character still wear the "bathrobes" in the American version.


  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • December 1989 (Issue 5) - Most Power-Ups in a Video Game* GameSpy
    • 2004 – Best Use of Barf of the Year (GBA)

Information also contributed by Jimmy Sherrill

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Downtown Nekketsu Kōshinkyoku: Soreyuke Daiundōkai
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River City Super Sports Challenge
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Nekketsu Kakutō Densetsu
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Kunio-kun no Nekketsu Soccer League
Released 1993 on NES, 2020 on Xbox One, Nintendo Switch
River City: Tokyo Rumble
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Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 7645


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Contributors to this Entry

Game added by Ghost.

Game Boy Advance added by Shoddyan. Nintendo 3DS added by GTramp. Wii U added by Michael Cassidy. PlayStation 4, Xbox One added by Rik Hideto. Nintendo Switch added by Kam1Kaz3NL77. Sharp X68000 added by Infernos. TurboGrafx CD added by Zovni. Wii added by gamewarrior.

Additional contributors: Shoddyan, tarmo888, MaiZure, Joshua J. Slone, Alaka, Игги Друге, JudgeDeadd, Patrick Bregger, Rik Hideto.

Last modified February 22nd, 2023.