With all our might to
Get back our boyfriends
We love them so!
We'll take the world on,
And sing this dope song!
Don't mess with us, we're the River City Girls!
It seemed like an ordinary peaceful day in River City High to Misako and Kyoko, two street-tough high-schoolers, until they hear some shocking news: their boyfriends Kunio and Riki, the toughest, baddest guys in the town, have been kidnapped. Now they must fight their way through the regions of River City to get them back, encountering an assortment of strange villains along the way.
The 2019 entry to the Kunio-kun series developed by WayForward Technologies, River City Girls is a departure for the franchise. Besides starring the heroines (a callback to the 1994 SNES game River City Girls Zero) and using a new graphical style, it fuses the original's Japanese setting with Western tastes to create a distinct Americasia outlook. It follows the open-world system in River City Ransom, but not without new gameplay additions. Perhaps surprisingly, it only has English voice acting, even though it's still published by Arc System Works that currently owns the rights to the series. It was released for Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and Microsoft Windows.
See also River City Ransom: Underground, another Western-developed Kunio-kun game that was crowdfunded and released in 2017; and Double Dragon Neon, another WayForward-developed game based on a Technos property released in 2012.
A sequel, River City Girls 2 was released in December 2022.
River City Girls provides examples of:
- Absurdly High Level Cap: The game caps at level 30, which is significantly above what you need to beat the game. New moves stop being unlocked at the dojo once you hit level 12, beyond that all you're getting are minor stat boosts and extra inventory slots.
- Achievement Mockery: The "Killed By Math" achievement, given out for being defeated in the first room of the game.
- Achievements in Ignorance: Kyoko somehow managed to get detention in a school she doesn't even attend.
- Adaptational Attractiveness: Misuzu originally looked like a burly middle-aged man dressed like a schoolgirl. Misuzu in this game still has an enormous, blocky figure, but a much more feminine face and decently-sized breasts.
- Adaptational Badass: Misako and Kyoko are notably more badass than their first appearance, going from weaker than the boys to being able to throw down on their level. Noticably, in their first game, the girls couldn't grapple enemies. In this one, they're strong enough to pick said enemies up and use them as bludgeons. Hasebe and Mami make up a Bonus Boss in this game, while both of them were just passive love interests during the rest of the franchise, with Mami even being the Damsel in Distress for River City Ransom.
- Adaptational Curves: Marian from Double Dragon appears in this game, this time wearing an outfit that exposes her stomach, showing off her ripped abs. The two heroines appear to have more curves compared to their debut, as well as Reika.
- Adaptational Jerkass: Both Hasebe and Mami are rude and snotty in this game, with a flashback even going so far as to show that they both bullied Misako and Kyoko since grade school. In fact, you're going to be really glad when you get to fight them both in the Bonus Boss fight. And when you beat them both, they both act like Sore Losers, going so far as to accuse you of cheating.
- Adaptation Relationship Overhaul: The normal ending shows Misako and Kyoko are revealed in the end to not be Kunio and Riki's girlfriends in this game. Instead, the boys are revealed to be dating Hasebe and Mami, respectively. The ending to the True Final Boss fight against Hasebe and Mami turns this into a meta-joke, with the duo's debut in River City Girls Zero being revealed to be something akin to a forgotten first date. The Secret ending downplays this and puts Kyoko and Misako on much friendlier terms with the boys, and hints at a proper relationship.
- Adaptational Wimp:
- Kunio and Riki, previously able to beat down entire gangs, were kidnapped at the beginning of this game. Subverted, since they were just at a sauna all day and in the secret ending, they are offended at the idea that they could ever get kidnapped.
- Godai goes from a late game boss in River City Ransom to a scrawny bystander who does not display any kind of fighting ability.
- Amazon Chaser: The first verse of "Can't Quit the RCG" has the singer muse about how much he loves women that can kick his ass. The second verse however takes a darker turn, as the singer is revealed to be a masochist who enjoys the various physical injuries his girlfriend inflicts on him, to the horror of his back-up singers.
- Ambiguously Brown:
- Some of the enemies. Race is not relevant in the game but some characters are obviously not white or Asian. Given the Americasia setting, and some black skinned and white skinned mooks having non-Japanese names like "Malhar" and "Colleen" respectively does enough to establish racial identities.
- Abobo in particular looks like a mix between a Mexican gang leader and a black bodybuilder.
- Americasia: River City in this game has Japanese style private schools where American cheerleaders and Japanese Delinquents coexist. Burger joints serve their food out of izakaya-style restaurants, mixed martial arts dojos can be found in western suburbs with traditional and colonial-style housing, department stores resemble malls, Japanese and English text can be found everywhere, and the town even has an English name. Characters alternate between Japanese and American names, come in all colors and speak English with fashion being a similar mix. White, black, and other non-Asian thugs sport a Japanese gangster wardrobe. Perhaps the best reflection of this is the game's character designer Rem, an American artist well known for her mangaesque comics.
- Anti-Grinding: Only the first enemies you defeat in an area will give up experience points and any after that only drop money. Any others that you defeat after breaking a screen lock but before transitioning to a new area will stop yielding EXP.
- Art-Shifted Sequel: Similar to Kunio-tachi no Banka, River City Girls adopts a new pixel art style that looks substantially different from even the 16-bit Kunio-kun games, utilizing a brighter, more colorful palette.
- Ascended Extra:
- Prior to this game, Misako was a regular NPC (with occasional playable roles) in the Nekketsu Sports spinoffs, while Kyoko's only playable appearance was in Kunio-tachi no Banka before cameoing in a couple of other sports games. As opposed to what most westerners think, Kyoko and Misako were the boys' girlfriends in Kunio-tachi exclusively, with Mami and Hasebe being the original girlfriends to Kunio and Riki. This is brought up for laughs in the normal ending, since Kunio and Riki don't remember them, and are dating Mami and Hasebe.
- River City Girls 2 has Marian become one of the main playable characters, after being a Shopkeeper in the previous game. By proxy, she gets more of a role here than the entirety of her Double Dragon appearances outside of the Neo Geo fighter.
- Assist Character: Sometimes a defeated enemy may surrender, whom you can befriend and call to provide temporary assistance.
- Ass Kicks You:
- Kyoko uses her aerial attack to bash the bad boys with her buttocks.
- Misuzu's favorite mode of attack is to jump in the air and come down hard on you with her butt. It doesn't always work in her favor though; falling ass-first on anything tends to hurt, and she takes moment to rub the soreness out of it, leaving her vulnerable.
- Backwards Name: The song for Sanwakai Tower where the Yakuza are located, is "Azukay", a.k.a "Yakuza" backwards.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: Misako and Kyoko on the cover art and the opening sequence.
- Badass Adorable:
- This being a WayForward game and all, pretty much all of the female cast could count (female Mooks included) with a notable exception in Misuzu, who is extremely tall and muscular. The other exception would probably be Sabuko, the final boss, due to being probably too old and intimidating to really fit the classical definition of “cute”, but even she has a move in her boss fight where she does a Doppelgänger Spin attack where her and all of her illusions strike a silly pose while visibly blushing.
- Special mention goes to Hibari the fashion designer, who’s so short you’d be forgiven for thinking she’s just a little girl with a rather Creepy Cute fashion sense at first glance and she has an oddly endearing nasally voice and affected manner of speaking. She’s also That One Boss, is the only character who can outright fly and summons zombies during her fight, so she’s possibly a Necromancer, too.
- Badass in Distress: Kunio and Riki are kidnapped, driving the plot of the game. Except not really; they were just at the sauna all day.
- Bait-and-Switch Credits: The opening animation shows the kidnapping of Kunio and Riki, alongside a date with Misako and Kyoko. The former never happened.
- Blood Knight: This time around Misako and Kyoko are both rather extreme in their beatdowns, with some of the most over-the-top comedic violence in the series. They're even punching each other back and forth for the loading animations, and are effectively crazy delinquents tearing everything apart and having fun along the way for it. The fact that they're clingy exes beating up the entire damn town on a childish, insane whim under the delusion that their alleged "boyfriends" were taken from them only further highlights them as batshit insane.
- Boobs of Steel: Both Kyoko and Misako have considerable busts and can kick anyone's ass in the game. A number of female bosses also possess these. Inverted with the True Final Boss duo of Mami and Hasabe, who are noticeably lacking in the chest area, but not in the asskicking department.
- Book Ends: The game's opening cutscene shows Misako and Kyoko at a restaurant with Kunio and Riki. The secret ending ends with the boys taking the girls out for food.
- Boring, but Practical: The male student's assist has him simply toss a fistful of sand in front of him. It doesn't do any damage, but it can stun an entire cluster of enemies to take pressure off of you or extend combos. He's also useful for collecting the rare variants of the enemies, as they can stun your desired recruit so you can focus on defeating everyone else first, or immediately send them into their vulnerable state.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: The game can play fast and loose with the fourth wall at times, often lampshading some of the goofiness in the city.
- When Yamada starts to reminisce, the screen starts to fade to white...with Kyoko fearfully wondering what's going on and Misako pointing out it's a flashback. They then proceed to heckle all through said flashback.
- There's quite a bit of meta-humor in the Bonus Boss fight against Mami and Hasebe, with Kyoko and Misako wondering why the normal Final Boss isn't there, and Mami and Hasebe pointing out that Kyoko and Misako's previous game was one that never left Japan (at least until the remake in 2022, which takes the form of the girls actually playing the game).
- One of the Enemy Chatter lines is "I wonder if anyone is reading this?"
- Bullfight Boss: One option for fighting Misuzu is to stand next to a pillar or the walls, wait for her to start a charge, then leap over her. She'll be stunned after hitting the wall, opening her up for attack. There are other ways to beat her, though.
- Call-Back: Several to other games in the Kunio-kun series, in particular River City Ransom.
- In RCR, Cyndi is being held in a classroom on the third floor of River City High. Here, the game starts with Misako and Kyoko in a classroom on the third floor of River City High. However, the entryway carpet on the first floor reveals the Japanese name of the school is Nekketsu High, not Reihou Academy like in the Japanese version of RCR. It's the very first clue that these are not the girlfriends of Kunio and Riki.
- Yamada (Slick/Simon in RCR) still has a thing for hanging out on rooftops.
- Several of the shops from River City Ransom are still open (most notably, Merv Burger), and the stat buffs from eating there are comparable (accounting for different stat systems) to the originals.
- Among the Enemy Chatter lines is the series staple "BARF!"
- The Cameo:
- Alongside many Double Dragon baddies, the Lee brothers and Marian themselves appear as shopkeepers.
- Cat Girl Without Salad: There's a graffiti of Kebako:
- Outside the school.
- At the entrance to the Basketball Court in Downtown.
- Linda from Double Dragon and Trash (the third boss from The Combatribes) are both among the mooks you encounter.
- Skullmageddon of all people (the final boss from Double Dragon Neon) runs the Pawn Shop and helps the girls with an honest to God smile. This may be the player's first hint that the girls might not be as good as they seem.
- Sabu is reduced to this - formerly the Final Boss of several previous Kunio-kun games, now only present as stone busts that Misako and Kyoko can break. Justified in-story as he's still in prison after some of his previous actions.
- Outside of the high school two guys are sitting on the grass, doodling on tablets. RubberRoss/Ross O'Donovan on the left and Egoraptor / Arin Hansen on the right.
- Canon Immigrant:
- While hardly the first game to feature the Double Dragon cast (River City: Rival Showdown had the Lee brothers in its battle mode), this game goes a step further by integrating its bad guys into the story mode, Abobo and Burnov. Then we have Skullmageddon running a shop.
- The sequel brings in Provie as one of the additional playable characters, having previously appeared in the non-canonical River City Ransom: Underground.
- Captain Ersatz: There are enemies in the game, who are, as the game so succinctly describes them “Giant robots from the future disguised as giant robot looking humans.” They’re very obviously inspired by the robots from the eponymous Terminator franchise and make what can only be described as Arnold Schwarzenegger noises.
- Captain Obvious: Mami during a flashback Kyoko has to her childhood where she’s being bullied by her and Hasebe.Hasebe: Stupid Kyoko, you're just a joke-o!
Mami: Hey, that rhymes!
Hasebe: I know, that’s why I said it.
- Cardiovascular Love: The dot on the "i" in "Girls" for the title is a Heart Symbol shape, with the curves only being clear in extremely large sizes◊, fitting the romantic theme of the girlfriends being the protagonists and rescuing their boyfriends.
- Catching Some Z's:
- In Nozomi's manga, the first panel has a boy sleeping on his desk in school, and Zs are coming from his head.
- In the ending version's of the credits, Misako's sleeping with blue Zs coming from her head.
- Characterization Marches On: The characters are somewhat different from their original counterparts to varying degrees. Hasebe and Mami, who were all-round nice girls in the original series, act more rude and snooty towards Kyoko and Misako in this game. It might actually be an example of foreshadowing with the reveal at the end that Kyoko and Misako are just crazy exes who think they're still Riki and Kunio's girlfriends, with Hasebe and Mami being the boys' actual love interests.
- Combat Pragmatist:
- The male students will pick up some dirt and throw it in your eyes. The description for them states that they have no problems fighting dirty due to a sense of entitlement. When they do this it will instantly stun you and open you up to whatever attack they or the other Mooks decide to use on you next unless you mash out of it fast enough. If you recruit one of them, you can have them use it on your enemies with the same effect, which is great if you like using grab attacks. Notably, it goes through both you and your enemies' blocks but it’s pretty short-ranged, so staying mobile is a good way to not leave yourself vulnerable to it. Conversely, it’s also pretty hard to hit moving enemies with it.
- The player can get in on this too, by using weapons against unarmed enemies, though the enemies aren’t really fighting fair by ganging up on the player either and they'll use weapons on you too, so it all evens out.
- Continuing is Painful: Continuing after you've lost all your health costs 25% of your cash. It's especially painful if you've saved a lot.
- Continuity Porn: The game is packed with references to the older games in the franchise, ranging from shopkeepers, to bosses, to even regular enemies, alongside numerous other background gags.
- Crapsaccharine World: River City may be a clean and colorful place, but it's absolutely boiling over with people just looking to brawl for no real reason, from ordinary high school students to humanoid robots from the future. Lampshaded by Kyoko, who, in Underground Floor 6, wonders why you can't seem to go anywhere in the city without running into a mob that wants to beat you up. Averted with the slums, which is just plain crapsack.
- Denser and Wackier: This is very much the most bizarre entry of the River City franchise with the slapstick turned up to the max, especially when compared to other games, such as River City Girls Zero where Misako and Kyoko first appeared. In that game, the girls are nearly killed by gunshots, whereas here they shrug off a fall from a high skyscraper with no trouble.
- Destination Defenestration: After getting beaten the Final Boss gets kicked out of a skyscraper window. Unfortunately since they do a flying kick they go out the window alongside said boss and drop right into the spa that the boys have been chilling at all this time.
- Determinator: Kyoko and Misako will stop at nothing to get back Kunio and Riki, whether it be fighting bullies to Yakuza to their own delusions as to whether or not they are really Kunio and Riki's partners. It's no wonder that Godai sent photos to the pair in an effort to convince them that the boys have been kidnapped in an effort to exploit their anger and prowess.
- Distressed Dude: Kunio and Riki, usually the protagonists, are kidnapped this time, leaving their girls doing the rescue. Except it turns out they weren't kidnapped to begin with. They had just been spending the day at the spa.
- The Dog Was the Mastermind: The person who orchestrated everything in the game turns out to be Godai as per Word of God who sent the picture of Kunio and Riki supposedly being kidnapped. Turns out those side quests were more than likely Godai using Misako's and Kyoko's wrath to indirectly do his bidding. This is hinted in the game with Misuzu stating that she saw Kunio and Riki talking to a creepy guy right before Kyoko and Misako run into Godai, but the two never catch on in-game.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: The secret ending significantly dampens (though not outright disproving) the implication in the original ending that Riki and Kunio were being stalked by Kyoko and Misako. They are on friendlier terms, and the boys are willing to take Kyoko and Misako out to eat, though it's never confirmed if this is a date or a simple hangout, but the way the couples hold each other in the end implies something more romantic.
- Effective Knockoff: To access Hibari's room, Misako and Kyoko purchase a fake cat statue that looks to be gold.
- Elite Mooks: The red paletted version of every enemy tend to hit very hard, have a unique description, and are typically hinted at being either a leader or someone more powerful or important than the rest of their palette swaps, and if recruited can take 4 hits before leaving you instead of 3. The gray skinned palettes are invariably some variety of zombie or undead, are even stronger than the aforementioned, and can take 5 hits.
- The Ending Changes Everything: The normal ending reveals the girls aren't actually Kunio and Riki's girlfriends and were just a pair of exes and the kidnapping which set them off never actually happened. However, the secret ending puts them on friendlier terms.
- Enemy Chatter: It wouldn't be a sequel to River City Ransom without it. It ranges from standard cries of pain (several variations of Ow, My Body Part!), to the meta ("I wonder if anyone is reading this.") to the series staples ("BARF!").
- Eyelid Pull Taunt: When selecting a new game's settings, Misako's pulling her left eyelid down from her perspective, and sticking her toungue out at the player.
- Expository Theme Tune: The above song, which plays during the intro.
- Executive Suite Fight: The final boss fight takes place in Sabu's office of the Sanwakai tower. Only this time it's his daughter you have to deal with.
- Experience Meter: The amount of color inside the circle on the Character menu, indicates how close the character is to levelling up.
- Fighting Clown: Arguably everyone except Misako falls into this to some degree or other. Kyoko does a literal dab to send enemies flying, Kunio eats a hamburger, and Riki combs his hair.
- Fist Bump: In the true ending, Kyoko and Misako share a fist bump for being taken to date a with Riki and Kunio.
- Flashback Effect:Misako: I thought you guys were friends.
Yamada: We were... a long time ago.
(screen starts turning white)
Kyoko: What's happening?
Misako: Ugh, it's a flashback. NO ONE CARES YAMADA!
Abobo: "So, maybe they weren't kidnapped."
- Misuzu, upon being defeated, recalls Kunio and Riki talking to a creepy guy. Almost instantly after, Misako and Kyoko run into the creep Godai. Word of God confirms Godai sent the original texts to Kyoko and Misako in order to get them to go on a rampage to do his bidding.
- Yamada recalls Kunio falling for Hasebe in grade school, while neither Misako nor Kyoko bring up any interjection as to why Kunio ended up with Misako instead later on, which is probably the first hint that Misako isn't actually Kunio's girlfriend. Sure enough, in the end, it's revealed that Kunio still is interested in Hasebe.
- Upon defeating the fourth boss, who denies his involvement in the kidnapping of Kunio and Riki, he gives his own take on the situation based on what he knows:
- Fun with Acronyms: While at the school, a classroom features a lesson on Punching Until Bricks Explode Right Towards You.
- Game Gourmet: You can buy various food items in restaurants and stores throughout the game as healing items. The first time you eat something you gain a permanent stat increase.
- Giving Up the Ghost: Misako in the opening scene while struggling in detention with Kyoko.Misako: That's it, I'm dead. Here lies Misako, killed by numbers.
- Good Old Fisticuffs: In contrast to Kyoko's more acrobatic and dance-inspired style, Misako's attacks are much more straightforward brawl maneuvers. She's no less deadly for it.
- Grievous Harm with a Body: It's possible to pick up downed opponents and strike other opponents with their buddy.
- Groin Attack: Misako's aptly named "Nutcracker" attack.
- Healing Shiv: When playing Co-Op, you revive your teammate by stomping on their corpse until their soul returns to it.
- Hearts Are Health: Recruits have their Hit Points measured with Heart Symbols. at the top of the screen.
- Here We Go Again!: Implied at the end of the credits, Kyoko suddenly receives a message and lets out a Big "WHAT?!" while waking Misako up.
- Hypocrite: Misako chews out Yamada for believing he’s fallen in love with Hasebe right after seeing her once, not even getting to know her personally beforehand. Even though she set out in the first place to rescue Kunio, who's actually dating Hasebe and actively avoiding Misako.
- Hypocritical Humor:
- Kyoko points out that Misuzu doesn't even go to the school they're fighting in. Neither does she. She's somehow still in detention though. At least Misuzu admits that she's just there for the money.
- Yamada flashes back to his one true love that spurned him. At age ten. Who he never really spoke to. The girls make him out to be a sad, sad individual for this which is fair enough. They are in the exact same situation, they barely knew Riki and Kunio who don't even remember their names.
- Improbable Weapon User:
- Kunio, when he's unlocked, can whip his enemies with a towel, of all things and eat a hamburger with enough force to knock back enemies.
- Riki gets in on this too, using his comb. He can throw it torwards his enemies to distract them before either rushing torwards them and unleashing a combo or siccing his shadow on them. It's not really clear. He can also attack enemies behind him by combing his hair.
- Inescapable Ambush: Forced enemy encounters in the city make chains appear on the screen's borders and prevent the player from leaving the area until all enemies are beaten.
- Infinity +1 Sword: Found in Merlin's Mystery Shop, of course, both cost 5000 dollars. The Tank Button gives super strength but makes you super slow. The Bunny Button makes you super fast. Too fast. Wearing both at the same time gives managable quantities of both.
- I Reject Your Reality: Kyoko and Misako against Hasebe and Mami are at odds as both pairs of girls argue over who is dating Kunio and Riki. In the normal ending, the boys barely recognize the two girls, much less as girlfriends. Though defeating Hasebe and Mami unlocks a new ending where Kunio and Riki are on friendlier terms with Misako and Kyoko and hints at a proper relationship.
- Irony: "BARF!" is infamous for being the comical and common defeat cry of most enemies in River City Ransom. Which makes it extra-funny when Kunio's defeat animation has them nearly barfing instead.
- It Amused Me: Kyoko was expelled from a school for stealing basketball hoops, with no real reason stated. Misako even calls her weird for that.
- Invulnerable Civilians: Like River City Underground, it features pedestrians that comprise the regular, non-delinquent residents of River City. Unlike that game though, they're invulnerable, however they do react to attacks performed by players and enemies who will either flinch or duck below. The only exception is the pink-hair girl with sunglasses in Uptown. (A cameo of one of Kay Yu's characters, who helped animate the game.) She instead parries any attacks.
- Karma Houdini: Godai sent Kyoko and Misako the picture of Kunio and Riki supposedly being kidnapped to trigger their wrath and do sidequests for him, but other than a cryptic hint from Misuzu that Kunio and Riki were last seen talking to a creepy guy, Kyoko and Misako never catch on.
- Leaked Experience: The character you're not controlling still gains any experience and cash awarded from quests, becoming half the level of the active player. When more characters are unlocked after beating the game, they start at Level 1, however.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
- Kyoko wonders just why it seems the whole city is interested in having an all-out brawl at pretty much all times, while Misako brushes it off.
- Appropriate for this American-made entry into the Kunio-kun series, Kunio and Riki have no memories of Kyoko and Misako, who were previously in an entry in the series that never left Japan. Hasebe and Mami point it out to the duo before their secret boss fight, and defeating them in a way defeats the other canon of the series, with Kunio and Riki in the secret ending preferring to take Kyoko and Misako on a night out.
- Level-Up Fill-Up: Levelling restores a character's hitpoints to full.
- Lost in Translation: Much of the dialogue plays off and parodies American high school tropes and comedy that would fly over the heads of many Japanese players. The very first scene, for instance, has the girls stuck in detention, immediately establishing them as troublemakers. Misuzu's claim of being smart because she was held back for three years wouldn't make much sense in Japan, where students aren't allowed to repeat a year as school standards are taken much more seriously than in American high schools. Consequently, a lot of jokes were rewritten in the Japanese translation.
- Made of Iron: Kyoko and Misako kick the final boss out of a window, and they survive both a massive fall from the top of a skyscraper, but also the subsequent crash landing at the sauna Kunio and Riki were at.
- Magic Skirt: In spite of several moves that would otherwise expose her underwear (including a headstand kick), Kyoko's skirt defies the laws of physics and gravity in order to adhere to this trope.
- Megaton Punch: Used by Misako and Kyoko in the ending on Kunio and Riki after the former are revealed to be the girls' exes.
- Mirror Boss: Hasebe and Mami fight using variations of Misako and Kyoko's attacks. Their fight even manages to incorporate the revival mechanic as the fallen combatant's soul flying around the arena to assist the remaining girl.
- Money Multiplier: The Pepper Spray multiplies Godai's Mission Rewards' money, and maybe Experience Points, by 1.5. Applied after the base value appears in the reward screens.
- Ms. Fanservice: Marian wears a crop top that exposes her midriff and outlines her larger breasts. Reika too wears fishnets that emphasize her thighs and a top that once more, highlights her larger breasts. Noize also wears slightly ripped clothing and is a bit of a Statuesque Stunner.
- Multiple Endings: There are two endings, unlocking the second one requires completing the game and destroying all Sabu statues.
- If Sabuko is fought at the end, Riki and Kunio dismiss the girls as ex-girlfriends, which leads to them uppercutting the boys into the sky out of frustration.
- If Hasebe and Mami are fought at the end, Riki and Kunio ask the girls out for burgers and they walk off into the city together.
- Musical Nod: Abobo's boss music is a remix of the RCR boss theme.
- My Name Is ???: Kenji's name is unknown and first appears as "???", and he offers to give his name at the end of the first conversation, and he even gives a hint that it rhymes with "Benji", but Misako replies "Totally don't care." and so, at the end of their first meeting, his name is still written as "???"
- Mythology Gag:
- In the main menu screen, there's a writing on the wall behind Misako (who is doing ab Eyelid Pull Taunt) that says "Crash & the Boys".
- The help notices feature 8-bit Kunio, in all his boxy glory.
- In a flashback scene, young Misako is wearing a large bow just like her past design from the NES games wears.
- The optional arcade that Misako and Kyoko can visit has a machine playing an old 8-bit Kunio-kun game, with semi-regular closeups of Kunio.
- Naked People Are Funny: Kyoko and Misako find their Riki and Kunio in the most awkward way possible: by crashing through the roof of the spa where the guys are taking a shower. Kunio is embarrassed and in his panic tries to cover himself, while Riki sternly points at the "Men Only" sign in annoyance.
- New Game Plus: After beating the game once, attempting to play the file that completed the game gives a "New Game +" option:Restart for a new, more challenging adventure!
Story progress is reset and enemies are tougher.
Current stats, items, and techniques are retained.
- Nice Girl: Kyoko is considerably nicer than Misako, being way friendlier and kinder to NPC and even bosses than her in spite of being presumably as a big of a Psycho Ex-Girlfriend as Misako.
- Ninja Pirate Robot Zombie: The gray paletted Terminator parody - a magically undead cyborg from the future.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Godai's voice actor seems to be unsure of whether to use an Irish or an American accent.
- Noodle Incident: Both Billy and Jilly Lee's Shopkeeper Dialogue has them missing their brother; implying some kind of falling out.
- Notice This: The box holding the Tomatoes on the school's roof emits yellow sparkles.
- Overlord Jr.: The Big Bad of this game is Sabuko, daughter of traditional Kunio-kun antagonist Sabu.
- Paper Tiger: The zombie enemies. Sure they look scary as a zombie should, but they take forever to attack you and they go down in one tap. Because of this, they don’t actually give any EXP either.
- Perky Goth: The shopkeeper for Cream Dream has a lip piercing and other punk accessories, but also has pink-haired supplemented by a cheery attitude. She's actually a cheerleader from one of the older Kunio-kun sports games named Momozono.
- Plot Hole: The game starts with Kyoko being sent a photo of Kunio and Riki being seemingly forced into a suspicious van, but we never find out where it came from. The ending's revelation that Kunio and Riki weren't really kidnapped, they were just at a sauna really just adds even more questions.
A tweet from the creators explained that Godai sent them the photograph of the "kidnapping", but his motives remain a mystery. Though fans believe the quests he sent Kyoko and Misako on were his motives, as setting the two on a rampage eliminated many targets for him.
- Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Kyoko and Misako beat up the entire city to rescue two guys they only thought were kidnapped, and who don't so much as remember them. This is downplayed in the secret ending, with Kunio and Riki taking the girls out for a burger. Though the specific wording leaves it ambiguous if they're acknowledging the girls as their girlfriends, saw it as an opportunity to take two girls they didn't know on a date, or if they were just hanging out as friends. Either way, Kunio and Riki don't treat Kyoko and Misako with any degree of disgust like in the original.
- Purposely Overpowered: Kunio and Riki are only unlocked after beating the game and have moves that are far more powerful than Misako or Kyoko's movesets.
- Retraux: While certain features are high-definition, the game, in general, is pixelated to resemble 16- or 32-bit, while the music sounds more specifically like the Sega Genesis. The Secret Shop is back, and this time, in contrast to the still crisp look of everything else, it has the same 8-Bit style that's practically expected of the series.
- Revive Kills Zombie: In the True Final Boss (Bonus Boss?) fight, when you defeat one of the two bosses, their soul starts flying around and protecting the other; making them invincible. You have to use the same Revive technique on the boss's body as you would a second player partner to break the effect.
- Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: Wouldn't be a River City game without enemies saying "BARF!"
- Secretly Wealthy: Yoko, met in Uptown, where the rich people are. Misako and Kyoko didn't know she was rich. And she isn't. Her parents are.
- Secret Character: Beating the main game unlocks Riki and Kunio as playable characters.
- Series Continuity Error: Although Wayforward did remarkable amounts of research, there are some that are noteworthy.
- Hasebe, Kunio's "real" girlfriend from the ending and original Secret Ending was only ever portrayed as a friend who maybe had a one-sided crush on him outside of a game that was a Show Within a Show to the series. Likewise, the fourth-wall-breaking claim that Misako and Kyoko only dated Kunio and Riki in one game is false. They've appeared in those roles in numerous spinoff games as well, though Mami definitely edges her out on sheer prevalence. Misako does bounce back and forth between being a girlfriend and just a close friend to Kunio, though.
- In the wake of River City Girls Zero in conjunction with Mami and Hasabe's comments at the end of the game, the continuity errors are being acknowledged in-universe as well. Characters question and point out inconsistencies often stemming from merging the American and Japanese games universes. It's not made very clear if this is just a gag or part of some larger plot.
- "Shaggy Dog" Story: Turns out that Riki and Kunio were never really kidnapped, they've just been hanging out in the spa all day. Also, Kyoko and Misako aren't their girlfriends, they're just incredibly clingy exes. Albeit significantly less so in the secret ending, in which Kunio and Riki take the girls out for food, though it's never outright confirmed if Misako and Kyoko were really dating them prior.
- Shamu Fu: The Tuna of River Heights is one of the many improvised weapons found in the game. There's even an achievement for defeating an enemy with one.
- She-Fu: Kyoko's fighting style is heavy on kicks, flips and dance moves, including a dab strong enough to knock enemies to the ground.
- One piece of official character art◊ for Misako depicts her with a Modified Bear keychain on her phone.
- Misuzu starts her boss battle by shouting "GET OVER HERE!"
- The boss fight against Noize contains one towards Guitar Hero. Every time Noize goes on stage to play her guitar and sing her song, colored discs slide on the battleground from the upwards position to the downwards position.
- The wrestler enemies are named after famous wrestlers' real names, including The Rock (Dwayne), Vader (Leon), Rob Van Dam (Szatkowski), and Rey Mysterio Jr. (Oscar). Even Aurelien. They also wear tiger masks.
- Hibari looks like a character straight out of Touhou Project, and fights using simple Bullet Hell patterns as you might see in those games.
- Kyoko's kicks have her going ORA ORA ORA!
- The female yakuza enforcers in the final area have Ibuki's hairstyle, as well as her aerial kunai throw.
- One of Misako's move is called Stungun, which she performs a stunner on her opponent. This references the wrestler who made this move famous whose previous finisher is called the Stungun.
- Several other special moves are pulled straight from Street Fighter, such as Chun-Li's Spinning Bird Kick and Ken's Shippu Jinraikyaku.
- Misako calling the Concerige of the River Heights' Hotel, Jeeves and calling him a "butler guy".
- There's one that's a bit stealthier: the Bunny Button and Tank Button are Infinity -1 Swords when used separately, but become an Infinity +1 Sword when used together. Or in other words, "RABBIT! TANK! BEST MATCH!"
- Skewed Priorities: Riki, when defeated, will lay on his back in defeat, sit up to comb his hair one last time, then lay back on his back in defeat. Guess he wants to make sure he looks good at his funeral.
- Smart Jerk and Nice Moron: Misako is the more intelligent of the pair, but she's also impatient, rude, and prone to losing her temper. Kyoko is friendlier, but she's a complete airhead who would at many points stop the rescue mission to go shopping if Misako wasn't around to keep her focused.
- Smash Sisters: Misako and Kyoko, for obvious reasons.
- Soundtrack Dissonance: Sometimes you'll end up in an area where a stereo is playing music, resulting in your pugilistic rescue rampage being backed by moody synthpop vocal tracks.
- Spiritual Antithesis:
- River City Ransom: Underground leans heavily toward the American side of the franchise with character names, having a grungy 90s aesthetic, and a significant Time Skip. River City Girls on the other hand leans more toward the original Japanese games, with the use of the original Japanese names for most of the cast, has a lighter aesthetic, and the cast are still high-schoolers in a more contemporary time period.
- Within the Nekketsu Kouha branch of the Kunio series, River City Girls Zero has high stakes, lots of grounded gang violence, some tragedy and is overall the darkest game in the series. The chronological follow-up River City Girls has its share of violence, but a lot of it is more over-the-top and slapstick, the general mood is much more comedic, and the lower urgency of the simple premise (possible kidnapping) leads to barreling through overwhelming odds with gusto, including more fantastical rivals. Oh, and there is singing.
- Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Kunio and Riki have barely any idea who Kyoko and Misako are, since, as Hasebe and Mami note, the boys dated them once and moved on to others.
- The Ahnold: The Terminator-like mooks, with accented gibberish and a Flavor Text that reference that they came from the future.
- There Was a Door: Misuzu makes her appearance by punching her way through the wall. In the pre-boss fight dialog, Misako tells her to to punch through another wall until she figures out how doors work.
- Throw the Dog a Bone: Update 1.1 adds a secret ending where Kunio and Riki, while offended at the idea of having been captured, decide to take Misako and Kyoko for food, even if they tore up the city for nothing after all.
- Tomato Surprise: The normal ending has Misako and Kyoko being called stalkers that Kunio and Riki are actively avoiding. In the secret ending, the two are taken to dinner by the duo.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Misako is the tomboy, Kyoko is the girly girl. However this is zigzagged a bit as Misako acts like an aggressive tomboy, but looks more feminine than Kyoko with her makeup and hair. Kyoko meanwhile looks like a tomboy (including a Tomboyish Ponytail) but acts far more feminine than Misako with constant references to love and shopping.
- True Final Boss: By beating the normal final boss and smashing all the Sabu Statues, you unlock two halves of a pendant that when equipped allows you to fight Hasebe and Mami in where you normally fight Sabuko, which gives you some context for the actual ending of the game and unlock a far happier ending for the girls.
- A Twinkle in the Sky: Kunio and Riki point out Kyoko and Misako are stalking them in the standard ending, the girls uppercut them into the stratosphere.
- Ultimate Job Security: The security guard for the mall blows off work to take a nap in his home. Quite deliberately in fact— If you wake him up when trying to take his keys, he throws you out and goes right back to sleep. This is bad for everyone because they need him to unlock the main entrance, potentially costing the businesses inside hundreds in profits. There's no mention of him getting fired for this.
- Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Kyoko and Misako are a pair of impulsive, rude (or Innocently Insensitive in the former's case), and quick-tempered adolescents with a history of delinquent behavior who are eager to pick fights with anyone for any reason. For grilling people on the location of their kidnapped boyfriends, for getting in their way, or just for getting on their nerves. And as it turns out, Kunio and Riki haven't been kidnapped at all and they're only the girls' boyfriends in their own heads for the normal ending, meaning they do nothing remotely heroic and tear up half the city for nothing. And their behavior is all Played for Laughs.
- Use Your Head: Misako sometimes finishes her combos with a headbutt.
- Visual Pun: A room in Sabuko's building has money being washed in washing machines and hung to dry. Literal money laundering.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Misako and Kyoko have been best friends since childhood, but the animated intro and loading screens imply that they can get as physically violent with each other as they do with just about everyone else.
- Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Kunio's defeat animation has him puking his guts out (not literally). Poor guy must’ve got punched in the stomach a bit too many times.
- Wham Line:Hasebe: They barely remember you!
Mami: Yeah, you guys dated them for, like, one 16-bit game.
Hasebe: That wasn't even released in the USA!
Mami: Talk about obscure.
- What Happened to the Mouse?:
- In the epilogue, Kyoko wonders what happened to Sabuko or Mami and Hasebe after they were sent out a window.
- It's never actually revealed who sent the pictures of Riki and Kunio to the girls in the first place. Or who "kidnapped" the boys, or why they were at the sauna all day after that happened. Was it all staged? Did they escape/beat up their abductors and decided to take a sauna break, unaware of their stalkers coming after them?
- As for who sent them the photograph, it's been confirmed that Godai did it, but his motives remain a mystery other than the fact he used Kyoko's and Misako's bloodlust to accomplish a series of destructive tasks.
- Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: If one of the girls croaks, their soul will fly around and can assist the remaining girl on the field. As can Hasebe and Mami.
- Wrestler in All of Us: The girls can learn various wrestling moves such as dropkicks, German Suplexes and even a Stunner.