More than two decades after the original release, NES cult classic beat-em-up River City Ransom is coming back. BARF!
Japanese developer Miracle Kidz said today that it was working on a sequel to Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari – the game that was released in the West in 1989 as River City Ransom. One of the first wave of beat-em-ups in the vein of games like Double Dragon, RCR chronicled the exploits of two high schoolers, Alex and Ryan, as they battled teenage gangs and tried to save River City High and Ryan’s girlfriend Cyndi from the evil “Slick.”
As in all self-respecting beat-em-ups, this was accomplished by walking right across a screen and punching anyone who got in the way. Sure, it might not look like much these days, but in 1989? It was pretty mind-blowing – not only was it a very competent beat-em-up, but it was the first to really flirt with what we’d call “RPG elements” today: Enemies dropped money, which you could use to upgrade stats, equipment, and even train new moves.
It also had a rather silly sense of humor. The nine enemy gangs included “The Generic Guys,” “The Frat Guys,” and “The Jocks” (particularly satisfying for young gamers to defeat), and they all yelled a phrase upon defeat – the most memorable of which being the immortal “BARF!”
While it never sold all that well upon its original release, it’s since become a rather beloved cult classic. Somehow, over the years the rights came to Miracle Kidz, a studio which supposedly includes many of the original developers of River City Ransom, which is why they’re making the sequel.
According to Andriasang, the game is scheduled for a home console release – no console specified – this summer in Japan, and an online PC version is expected to follow in 2012.
The original RCR was noted for its surprisingly thorough localization – Japanese school uniforms on the punks became jeans and T-Shirts, for instance – and one can only hope that someone has the prescience to bring the newfound sequel over as well.