Tuesday, May 24, 2011

River City Ransom: Technos' Shining Moment

In the past I have offered my opinion on the collective works of several developers, one in particular being Technos Japan. Technos was responsible for some of the most important games of the 8 and 16-bit console cycle, most notably Renegade and it's spiritual successor Double Dragon. Nothing in the back catalog of Technos Japan would prove to be as genre defining as their 1989 Beat Em Up/RPG classic River City Ransom.

River City Ransom started life as many Japanese games that end up in America do, by having a very different back story than the version we ended up getting here.The American version featured the classic damsel in distress storyline featured in many other games, but it was focused on several groups of teenagers and wrapped up at River City High School. The gameplay is reminiscent of Double Dragon with the stat building of RPGs of Final Fantasy. being so full of exploration, River City Ransom can feel like you're playing The Legend Of Zelda with punches and kicks instead of swords and sorcery.

Over the years, River City Ransom has been remade, redrawn, upgraded, and down right ripped off. No matter what though, the source material has been the stuff of legend among young gamers who came along after 1989, almost to the point where it drove the value of copies of the NES game. even now, a copy of River City Ransom can sell for up around $35 for just the cartridge without manual or packaging. While games like Samurai Zombie Nation and Snow Brothers are extremely expensive in resell and very rare, River City Ransom ups the ante by actually being a very good game. If you know someone with a copy, you should do whatever you can to get it from them, just for the experience of playing a legendary game.

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