A NES gem – River City Ransom!

My brother and I grew up with the Sega Master System, we were more than happy with what we had and never really thought about owning other consoles with different games. Our friend had a NES and we played it from time to time but only Mario and maybe Double Dragon.  My NES playing experience is pretty thin, as mentioned above I’ve played the common hits but not delved into the extensive library of ‘other’ games. My Bro Retrolechuck has quite a few games now as he is an avid collector however times have changed and we can’t sit around playing games all day.

In steps my November forgotten purchase, Classic NES, its now been adapted to house the games I never got around to playing, one of which was River City Ransom.


I’d never heard of this game as a kid however quite a few YouTube broadcasters talk about it as a classic. So one Friday my Bro and I fired it up to give it a good run through. Being a NES game we weren’t expecting much visually but the game has a certain cartoon style which makes the limited graphic ability less obvious. Plus, the fact it was two players with alot of enemies on screen made us start to realise how special this game could be. Then couple these points with the speed it ran at and it was kind of unbelievable a nes game could be this inolved, throw in its rpg power up elements and our minds were blown. Not to mention if was a free roaming side scroller, e.g. you could run back to the start if you wished to grind through and get coin for food or equipment. Compared to our go to Double Dragon this was epic and if I’d have played it on release the size of the game may have been fantastically daunting. I wouldn’t have been used to different foods, books or equipment to buy that affects your stats like stamina and power etc. These types of things didn’t exist on our PAL SMS, well not in our house hold anyway. One of the best elements is its life system especially on 2 player. You essentially can’t die however you will loose your money if you health bar reaches zero. A neat trick we did was if P1 was low on health they’d die on purpose so P2 called walk out of the area to replenish P1 health! This mixology of game types reminds me alot of what I experienced with Borderlands, fps and rpg fused together only this time for a arcade classic genre and years earlier!

You also get memorable moments like this:


Who doesn’t like a sauna or an 8bit butt! Oh and speaking of Double Dragon we were elated when entering a level only to be greeted with the classic DD music and battle with… The Double Dragon’s!

This game was ahead of its time and still holds up, we thoroughly enjoyed spending two sessions playing it to completion. A hidden gem for me but probably well known for more long standing NES goers.  Go play it!


3 Comments Add yours

  1. Matt says:

    It’s one of the games that should have made it into the NES Classic library.


    1. Da22 says:

      Totally agree such a good game

      Liked by 1 person

  2. stevenger says:

    Love that guy’s Guile hair on the poster! Played this a little bit (NES version), reminded me more of Renegade 1 in non-Speccy form.


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