Being the doltish kid I was when I was eight, I missed out ENTIRELY on the NES version of this game. ...Well, until my friend got me into emulation, whereupon it became one of the first games I played emulated. You see, when every magazine you've read and everything online you've seen gives a positive review to such an old game, you start to think it's for a reason. Plus, if you're like me, you like the idea of a beat-'em-up and an RPG joining together.

Having played it, and many bizarre hacks of it simply because I could, and thoroughly enjoying the original, I eventually heard about a remake. I don't think I need to tell you how happy I was to hear about this.

So, three months pass, I download the Japanese version, enjoy it thoroughly, and wait three more months for the American release. (Let it be known- if it's a GBA ROM I can theoretically buy, I WILL buy the game after downloading the ROM if the game's good)

Despite my car's engine having blown up 50 miles from the house en route to get the game, I talked my parents (who had to drive that same 50 miles to get me, imagine for a second what sitting in a parking lot for 50 minutes with nothing but your imagination to entertain you, having had nothing to eat for eight hours, feels like- NOT pleasant) into driving me the last two miles to get it.

And you know what? Even WITH that incident, the end result was totally worth it, kinda like getting the crap stomped out of you and left for unconscious only to be found and nursed to health by a mega-busty cutie over the course of the next thirty days. It's that fun.

Seriously, I don't know how walking down the streets of a blatantly Japanese town, mowing down equally blatant stereotypes with various appendages and blunted instruments (stealing their money afterwards, of course), eating fast food to slowly become damn near invincible, and buying books that instantly cause you to learn fighting moves that Chuck Norris would kill to be able to use, can be so damn FUN, but it is.

You remember how the NES version basically had nothing for a story? Things have since changed. The story obviously isn't that great, of course, that'd break at least four laws of beat-'em-ups, but it's still cool what's been done. Bad guys and good guys alike have new sets of things to say to you, mixing it up occasionally, NEW bosses have their own stories to tell, and there's a few new denizens of River City that have something to say to you.

What makes THAT cool is the fact that you now have a bit of choice in the matter of how things go. Sometimes, you'll get a small menu with four choices to pop up, based on what's been going on. These choices, when you pick the right ones, can do a few things, like stopping a fight before it starts, getting a few bucks, getting a new ally to fight with you, or causing more dangerous boss encounters later down the road.

Yep. You can get people to fight with you. It might be a guy you simply ran into by being in the right place at the right time, or it can be a BOSS you defeated. Believe me when I say there's few things cooler than walking around, with friggin' IVAN and TEX pounding the hell out of enemies with you. Of course, you have to not fight like an asshole to get many of the bosses to think even once about it, but hey, small detail, right? (Tip: especially since, given that getting knocked down improves your reputation no matter how you do it, slamming your face against a wall enough times can help that along)

Now, there's a slight tradeoff to this, but it's one that I've heard of people returning the game over. There is no multiplayer in this game. You can trade characters around, but that's it. But hey, if you have no friends, like me, what kind of a problem is this?

Oh yes, you don't happen to remember the Double Dragon remake that came out a while back, do you? Probably not, and I understand; I think only twenty or so copies were made. Still, have you at least heard of all the improvements that were made to the remake of THAT? They made quite a few to this, too. New gangs, new weapons, new bosses, new moves (not just for you, either), and a ton of new items.

(By the way, I MUST take the time to explain one of these moves; the 'Kickstand'. Buy this, equip it, then grab an enemy by the legs. Hit 'up-up' really quick, and you'll instantly kill him (unless he's a boss) with a kick to the crotch.)

One of my favorite new things, however, is that fact that enemies have a LOT more to say to you. Enemies don't just throw up ('BARF!') or scream for their maternal units ('Mamaaa!'), now enemies have new death quotes, new things to yap about while they're trying to kick your ass, and each gang actually GREETS you once you enter an area (so they're generally threatening you; it's still cool). And cooler yet- most of the gangs tend to only say things you'd expect their respective stereotypes to say.

And screw what they SAY, each gang actually FIGHTS differently this time around. For example, the Generic Dudes don't even bother to attack half the time, the Dragons (I got a laugh out of Kunio and Riki (that is to say, the Japanese names of 'Alex' and 'Ryan') constantly chuck shit at you, the Entrees drop a ton of money but VERY often do all in their power to run away, the Locals are the most dangerous and aggressive fighters in the game, the Eagles are the only gang that brings hyper-chains in to the fight, and so on.

Damn it, I just realized I don't have much more to say, yet I took 25 pictures, and I have to have SOMETHING to say under each one...

Well, let's try this. Do you want a copy of this game? Good luck getting it if you don't live in a big city. You see, about the only place you'd be able to find this game at is a Gamestop (like I did), and $29.99 really isn't a bad price for this game.

I mean after all, if you simply downloaded this game without intentions of buying it, and this being a reasonably new system and the game being both new and commercially available, it'd be kinda mean...

Especially with this thing I've heard about more Kunio titles MAYBE being ported to the GBA if the games sell well enough...

I mean, that would kick ass. There's quite a few Kunio games that we didn't get that I'd like to see come over.

Stuff like maybe 'Kunio Tachi no Banka' (assuming it were longer), or maybe 'Shodai Nekketsu Kouha Kunio-Kun', or maybe even an update to 'Crash N' the Boys: Street Challenge' (didja know of ITS Kunio roots?).

Don't you think that would be cool?

So yeah. You really oughta buy this game! It's fun, addicting, and a fun way to pass the time while passing your dinner.

Sure, when you save, and shut off, you gotta start over, but it's all cool! Like you were gonna use that hellish password in the NES RCR ANYWAY? You still get to keep your stats and everything!

Oh, something I gotta mention. With the 'Custom Self' item you can get after you beat the game once, you can customize your character's appearance. That's how come I'm in all of the screenshots I took, rather than our man Alex.

And there's something really amazing about this incarnation of River City Ransom, too.

Oh, you want to know that really amazing fact about this game? Slick's actually WAY more dangerous than Randy and Andy this time around.

Graphics: 10 Everybody's animated REALLY well, the backgrounds look really cool, and it's awesome watching a 4-on-4 melee take place.
Sound: 6 The music's not bad at all, that's not the problem. The problem IS, you're going to be hearing only a few tracks throughout the entire game, the main theme RCR's known for more than 70% of the game.
Gameplay: 10 Have you not been reading what I've been saying? The game's crazy fun, I've technically been playing it for four months with no signs of stopping, and there's just something positively COOL about roving the streets as chibi-YOURSELF, pounding on all stupid enough to oppose you.
Quote insanity: Still pretty darn high All the Home Boys needed to say was 'BizARF' once and already the insanity has proven to not dwindle over the years.
Stereotype power: Lots Just thank whoever that the stereotypes in this game, while still wildly non-PC, and in fact more pronounced than ever, are the kinds of stereotypes that nobody gives a blurdy damn about.
How do I get to play as you, too?: Read. Step 1: Get 'Custom Self' by whatever means. This includes changing your name to 'XTRA1' temporarily.
Step 2: Fire it up and put in these characteristics.

Face: 88. It's important that I both wear glasses and constantly scowl.
Skin color: 0. I'm not QUITE pasty enough to qualify as color 1.
Hair: 109. It looks the most like the sentient mass that grows on my head.
Hair color: 1. Brown and oddly shiny. In three years, you may change it to 4, to account for my worrisome nature giving me premature gray hair.
Uniform: 31. I like blue.
Eye color: Doesn't matter. You won't be able to tell.

Step 3: Change name to either 'Bo' or 'Y.T.F'.
Step 4: KICK ASS. Oh, and you can take it a step further by trying to stick with kicks and throws.

I'm ready to read up more on RCR. However, I am NOT spending $150.00 to do so.

Take me to the game reviews before I shove this tire into your face three times in rapid succession.

Take me back to the main page before I barf.