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Video Game / River City Ransom

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"Kids, if there's one thing you take away from River City Ransom, may it be that violence is the answer to your problems. If you beat a gang member hard enough, he will become an honor student. And if you beat an honor student hard enough, he will give you his lunch money. And the final moral is: it's all about good grades and trips to the mall."

River City Ransom, released in Japan as Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari (part of the Kunio-kun series, which also included the Super Dodge Ball series, Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge, and the original Renegade) and in Europe as Street Gangs, is a Beat 'em Up with elements of a Role-Playing Game. The story goes that Ryan's (Riki's) girlfriend gets kidnapped by River City High's top gang leader, Slick (Yamada), who also happens to be the arch-rival of Cross Town High's top punk, Alex (Kunio). So Alex and Ryan fight their way past gang territories and various malls to get to River City High, take down Slick, and rescue Ryan's girlfriend.

While not the most well-known game on the Nintendo Entertainment System, it was well-received by those who did play it. It offered several different ways to customize your character, was one of the earliest games to blend RPG elements into another genre in a successful fashion, and was noted for its humor in many spots.

Has a Japan only sequel/spin-off Downtown Special: Kunio-kun no Jidaigeki Dayo Zen'in Shūgō!, which is practically River City Ransom recycled in historical Japan. It is less linear, has a proper save system in place of the original's long passwords, allows computer controlled allies in a 1 player game and has a great deal more moves, but replaces the classic "eat food for power" with equipping items and a level up system, restricting food to health regeneration.

The storyline (but not the gameplay) of River City Ransom was continued in the (also Japan only) game Downtown Nekketsu Kōshinkyoku: Soreyuke Dai Undōkai. Oddly enough America did get the sequel to Soreyuke Dai Undōkai, which was localized as Crash 'n' the Boys: Street Challenge.

A remake, River City Ransom EX, came out in 2004 for the Game Boy Advance, which added more moves, more gangs, more weapons, more characters (some of them from later Downtown Nekketsu games), and the option to have up to three allies fighting alongside you. However, it lacked a proper 2-player co-op mode and while the English version featured an Americanized script like its NES counterpart, the characters were still drawn with their Japanese school uniforms.

Nekketsu Koha Kunio-Kun SP: Ranto Kyosokyoku, a sequel to both River City Ransom and the original Kunio-Kun game, was released on the 3DS in 2013, later localized to English as River City: Tokyo Rumble in 2016.

Another remake, Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari SP, was released in Japan for the 3DS in 2016 as part of the franchise's 30th anniversary celebration. These trailers pretty much tell it like it is. An English localization was released in 2017 under the title River City: Rival Showdown.

A new officially licensed sequel named River City Ransom: Underground was developed by the Canadian indie developer Conatus Creative. The project reached its funding through Kickstarter. The game was delayed many times, but finally released on February 27, 2017 on Steam.

Before River City Ransom: Underground was announced, the game actually had not one but TWO cancelled sequels.

  • First one was a fan-sequel to River City Ransom, planned for the GBA by an independent American developer called "Realize Games". The developer even managed to get rights to the trademark "River City Ransom". In 2003, the developer heard that a remake of the original game, River City Ransom EX, was being developed, and the fan-sequel was cancelled out of respect for the original developers.
  • Second sequel, Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari 2, was announced in 2011 by Japanese developer Miracle Kidz. Miracle Kidz includes original Kunio-kun developers and it was supposed to be the official sequel. Sadly, this project was put on hold in 2012 and it seems likely that the game is not going to be made.

In 2019, WayForward Technologies released River City Girls, a Distaff Counterpart Gaiden Game where the plot has Kyoko and Misako rescue Kunio and Riki.

The game was released as part of the Double Dragon & Kunio-Kun Retro Brawler Bundle in North America in 2020, and includes both the Western version of the game and the original Japanese game translated into English.

This game has examples of:

  • A.I. Breaker: Walls that can be climbed. The computer is completely unable to jump on top of other platforms, and it becomes way less aggressive against a player walking on them. One easy way to handle many foes (even bosses!) is to climb up a wall, attack while jumping down, and get back onto the wall to repeat while your foe is down. If the wall is sufficiently short, Alex and Ryan can even hit their foe without jumping down, allowing the player to just stand up there and win. Kept from outright breaking the game by having several of the more challenging fights (including several Zombies as well as most of River City High) lacking these convenient platforms. Fixed in the EX version, where the enemies have finally mastered the esoteric art of jumping.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: See (US) for (Japan) yourself. (Europe)
    • And then the GBA rerelease reuses the US NES version's pose coupled with an anime-esque style, effectively combining the US and Japanese versions. Click!
  • Arbitrary Headcount Limit: On the enemy gang members. 9 in the NES version and up to 20 in the GBA version. Furthermore, you can only recruit 3 other characters to your party in the remake.
    • Best exemplified if you manage to recruit The Generic Dudes. Their boss follows Alex just like the other partners, but the other two guys are replaced with other gang members until they're wiped out.
  • Art Evolution: Compare the spritework in the previous 3DS games with Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari SP. It's clear that they wanted to make their 30th anniversary celebration their best yet.
  • Artificial Stupidity: In EX, you should set the "attack" menu option to "none". Doing this will make you immune to the attacks of your allies (not that the game ever explains what exactly this function does). Otherwise, the biggest threat to you on the battlefield may turn out to be your supposed ally.
  • The Atoners: Notably, the Zombies minus Thor will all wish to join for this reason upon defeat.
  • Backtracking: While there are no hints that you must do so, you have to go back a little bit before Mojo will challenge Alex and Ryan, after defeating Blade.
  • Behind the Black: In order for the screen to scroll in the NES version, you have to be ridiculously close to its edge. This leaves you open to sudden, unexpected attacks from enemies that were standing just offscreen.
  • Blood Knight: The Zombies and minor gang leaders.
    Turk (upon being hurt): More! Give me more!!
    • Rex, who doesn't really care about why everyone is fighting. He just wants to fight too.
  • Boss Banter: Though in text rather than spoken dialog, the bosses all had a lot to say during their fights.
  • Bottomless Pits: There are a couple in construction zones. Most notably, there are ones in the arenas where Rocko and Thor fight.
  • Broken Pedestal: Slick is Simon, Alex's childhood friend.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Benny and Clyde, in their rematch fight close to River City High. They couldn't beat Alex and/or Ryan back at the first mall, when the two hadn't had a chance to improve at all. They then come after the heroes near the end, after they've had nearly the whole game to buff out. Oh, and Benny and Clyde didn't get any stronger in the interim. They deliberately come looking for payback against the two and pick a fight against two guys they literally couldn't beat on their best day... and that best day has long since past.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Completely averted with Gary. He refuses to stand by and watch the streets become overrun by the gangs. Unless you recruited him at the very beginning, he is already out there kicking ass on his own before he teams up with Alex.
  • Call-Forward: In EX the ending mentions a new student council president, which references the Japan-only storyline sequel to River City Ransom.
  • Carry a Big Stick: The stick weapon.
  • Chain Pain: A common weapon. EX adds a double-length chain to the mix.
  • Chez Restaurant: Chez Walle's.
  • Combat Pragmatist: Plenty of gang members (including bosses) will use whatever's available to pummel you. Kick boxes and cans into you? Throw you into a pit? Kick you while you're down? All things the computer can do — to be fair, those options are available to you, too.
  • Counter-Attack: Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari SP introduces the Nekketsu Counter, which allows Kunio to spend SP to escape enemy attacks while Wreathed in Flames, dealing some damage to nearby attackers. In practice, it behaves more like a Combo Breaker and a recovery move.
  • Creepy Twins: Penultimate bosses Randy and Andy.
  • Critical Existence Failure: The player can still keep fighting with 0 HP and Will Power until he gets knocked down by a finishing blow or by running into a wall.
  • Cultural Translation: All the Kunio games that were localized for the international market were Americanized in some form or another. River City Ransom did so by replacing the characters' gakurans with jeans and shirts. The GBA remake reverts back to gakurans, but keeps the anglicized character names.
    • Averted with Super Dodgeball Brawlers for the DS, the only game besides the Neo-Geo version of Super Dodge Ball, where Kunio and Riki were still called Kunio and Riki outside Japan.
    • Also averted by Aksys Games' most recent Kunio-kun localizations on the DS, River City Soccer Hooligans and River City Super Sports Challenge, which keep the River City "brand" for the sake of consistency and brand recognition, but also keep the names Kunio and Riki. That pair's names have changed so many times in so many localized games that it's nice to see some consistency for once.
    • And then we return to the "Americanized" style with the the officially licensed sequel, River City Ransom: Underground. The game completely embraces the localized City Ransom, and was made from the ground up as a sequel to it only, so there are no story connections to the Japanese Kunio-kun canon.
  • Cutscene: Subverted, as a boss will start to monologue when they first appear, but you can attack them during this (and they have dialogue that only appears if you do attack them early). Played completely straight in Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari SP, however.
  • Death Is a Slap on the Wrist: Losing all your stamina simply results in you waking up at the nearest mall, minus a chunk of your money.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Applies to the Zombies, Generic Dudes, and somewhat to Ivan in the GBA version. Subverted with Thor, who is more a Noble Demon.
    • Ivan will fight on your side as long as you complete the side-quest, even if you don't allow teammates via option. When you hit the top floor, he's facing off with the Dragon Twins just as you show up and counts as a teammate — although once they're defeated, he leaves.
    • Even if you have a FULL PARTY, complete his quest and Ivan will still show up here and temporarily join your team.
    • The Generic Dudes require Ryan to be absent because his school rivals theirs — but then you have the ENTIRE 20 PERSON GANG of the Generic Dudes following you around, 3 at a time. When defeated, they're gone for good — except for their leader, Conan.
    • It is possible to get Thor to join you, but he has the steepest requirement of all the Zombies; namely, a reputation neighboring the game's cap and not already having another Zombie in your party.
  • Determinator: In the original NES version, no matter how much an enemy wails on your limp, prone body (and the Dragon Twins will certainly do that), as long as you have at least 15 Willpower remaining, you will rise to your feet. Each get-up requires another 15 Willpower, but that's all you need in order to heal while in a position to defend yourself back into fighting shape.
    • On Hard mode, this also applies to the mook gang leader — always has the same face, and has 15 Willpower and will get up one more time no matter how much you beat him down.
    • In the GBA version, Willpower is applied more like Heroic Spirit, as if you run out of energy, the game automatically converts your Willpower to your stamina as required. You're not done until you're out of Willpower. Applies to enemies too.
  • Difficulty by Region: The Famicom version has three difficulty levels: Easy, Normal, and Hard. The Easy setting was removed in the NES version, while Normal and Hard were renamed Novice and Expert respectively. The NES version also removed the option to disable friendly fire in the 2-Player mode.
  • Dual Boss: The Creepy Twins Randy and Andy. Also Benny and Clyde.
  • Dub Name Change: See article for a full list (which does not include gangs and towns).
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In EX completing certain requirements will allow the player to meet a character named Titus, who will say some vaguely ominous things and vanish. While American players wouldn't recognize him, he's actually an example of this trope. Titus's Japanese counterpart first appeared in Downtown Nekketsu Kōshinkyoku: Soreyuke Dai Undōkai, which was the storyline sequel to River City Ransom('s Japanese counterpart). Futhermore, Titus appeared under the name "Todd" in Crash 'n' the Boys: Street Challenge, which was originally the sequel to Soreyuke Dai Undōkai.
  • Enemy Chatter: Lots of it, such as "*BARF*!" (Or in the case of EX's Homeboys, "Biz-ARF!")
  • Everyone Has Standards: Fulfill the requirement to encounter Rex with bad reputation. Rather than ask to join, he will challenge you to a fight because he deems you too crazy. This is the guy who wanted to fight regardless of who was good or bad.
  • Excuse Plot: "I hold your city captive & Ryan’s girlfriend hostage. With my gangs of Students & evil bosses, nobody can stop me now. Meet my demands – or else!… P.S. Alex & Ryan if you interfere, you’ll be in for the fight of your lives!"... Yeah, that's all the plot you'll get. Now go kick the crap out of them all until they cry like little girls.
    • Please note there are no demands listed. No wonder you're kicking his ass, you have no option otherwise!
  • Extreme Omnivore: Your characters will down whatever meal they ordered in one gulp. For extra fun, try dining in at a Merv Burger and ordering a drink. Yep, they'll eat it; glass and all.
    • Or in the original version, try dining in at the KFC expy and ordering gravy. The game even tells you they just drink a bowl of gravy, STRAIGHT. Never mind the fact that the characters swallow the thing whole, bowl and all.
  • Fastball Special: With the help of the Javelin Man technique. There's also a variation where one player throws a tire, and the other jumps on and rides it. Possible also with crates and trashcans, but the distance is not nearly as great.
  • Four Is Death: The Zombies. (In the Japanese version, they're named The Four Heavenly Kings.)
  • Freudian Excuse: The reason for Slick kidnapping Alex's girlfriend and taking over the whole city? He's actually Simon, Alex's childhood friend. He got tired of being seen as a weakling and second fiddle compared to Alex and wanted to prove he could kick his ass. Even after getting a beatdown, he still swears revenge for next time they meet.
  • Gang of Hats: All of them.
  • Greaser Delinquents: The American version changed the Japanese Delinquents to Greasers from The '50s.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Not just with enemies, mind you, but you can use your own teammate as a battering ram.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • There are a lot of items available for purchase in the shops... but the game doesn't tell you what they do until you buy them. Determining which items are best for raising your preferred stats can take a lot of time and effort.
    • If you didn't know what Reputation is in the remake and how to raise it, you wouldn't know you can actually recruit people. Even the recruit with the clearest requirements (Ivan) will refuse to join if your karma is low, even after clearing the Abby sidequest. Some are clear Violation of Common Sense; to have Ted even appear, you'd have to fulfill the requirements to recruit Rex, turn him down, then return and clear the street he was at again. To recruit Jesse, beat up his friend Turk four times with bad reputation, then beat them both with good reputation. And then there's the Tidus sidequest...
  • Happily Ever After: Really? All the gang members went back to school and became honor students?
  • Hayseed Name: The Cowboys gang all has 'em, in both the hillbilly and cowpoke flavors.
  • Head Swap: Literally every character who fights in this game has the exact same body, with the difference being their faces and what color clothes they wear. This has the practical upside of minimizing the number of unique animations required for the game.
  • Heel–Face Door-Slam: You can refuse to take on defeated enemies as your allies. But one notable boss is the Zombie Mojo. If you are in a position to recruit him, he will actually show regret for his actions before asking to join. And then he sadly laments that he is stuck where he is if you refuse his offer.
  • Heel–Face Turn: In the GBA version, you can recruit some of the bosses to your side after beating them. In a few cases, you might get them to join without a fight.
    • Riki (Ryan's Japanese counterpart) himself is an example of this trope. Riki was originally Kunio's (Alex) rival in the original Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun (the Japanese version of Renegade), where he was the first boss in that game. Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari takes place months after the original Kunio-kun according to the manual, which is why Ryan is unfriendly towards Alex in the opening of the GBA version.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]: You can change the character's name from the default.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Tex and Ivan are hinted to be this. Tex refuses to fight you if he finds out Ivan has made a Heel–Face Turn. Actually, he has a crush on Ivan's sister, Abby. Both Ivan and Tex will also fight you simultaneously under certain conditions.
  • Hot-Blooded: It's part of the Japanese version's title.
  • I Have Your Sister: Implied with Ivan, which could explain why he serves as the main gate's guard.
  • Idiosyncratic Difficulty Levels: In addition to having the standard Easy, Normal, and Hard modes, the GBA version has a Wussy setting and a Crazy setting too.
  • Improvised Weapon: You can hit people with rocks, trash cans, and tires.
  • In the End, You Are on Your Own: In Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari SP, Kunio faces Yamada alone on the school rooftops, without the aid of Riki or other allies. And even when that's over and Kunio and friends are walking away from the building, a powered-up Yamada reemerges from the school doors and effortlessly dispatches everyone except for Kunio, Riki, Hasebe, and Mami. Kunio faces Yamada alone one more time while Riki, Hasebe, and Mami clear the area for a proper final showdown.
  • It's All Upstairs From Here: The final area is River City High — Alex and Ryan enter the front gate, and they have to make it to the roof to confront Slick.
  • It's Personal: For Ivan. If you refuse his offer to join, you will still find him already about to fight with the Dragon Twins. He joins in, even if you have a full party. Once the twins are defeated, he declares his beef was with them alone and leaves the rest to you.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: It's possible (without cheats, even!) to create a copy of Slick. Now, play a solo game (max 1 person party) with both characters as Slick. Rename one Simon. Fight Club ensues.
  • Karma Meter: In the remake. Not visible, but it's there. It measures how cleanly you fight (i.e. your restraint from things like punching bosses before they finish their speech and kicking people while they are on the ground), and it's used to get bosses to join you. With some hard work, you can raise it by doing noble things like beating up people fair and square, or just committing suicide and repeatedly running into a wall.
  • Last Chance Hit Point: If you get knocked down with 0 stamina, you will ordinarily lose the game. However, the willpower stat can give you a second chance. If you have enough willpower, your character will sacrifice it in order to get back up with two bars of stamina. Granted, this is barely enough to sustain one more hit, but it does allow you to get back into the fight. You can actually be revived multiple times if you have a large amount of willpower, but once it's all used up, you're mortal again.
  • Lighter and Softer: This is quite possibly the least brutal Beat 'em Up ever made: no one gets killed, none of your rivals are especially evil, most don't even work for the Big Bad, and all of them — yes, we said all — go back to school and earn top honors after you beat the final boss. That said, it's still one of the most esteemed games in its genre, and deservedly so.
  • Limit Break: Introduced in Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari SP. By spending a large amount of SP, the game stops all movement for everything but the user, who then proceeds to unleash a powerful attack before normal gameplay resumes. Both Kunio and certain boss characters can have them. Some examples:
    • A dash punch that hits enemies multiple times after the user stops moving.
    • A stronger version of the Mach Punch that resembles a very familiar technique from either Hokuto No Ken or Jojo's Bizarre Adventure.
    • A move that can only be used while holding any weapon, in which the user jumps up and throws multiple copies of the item down to the ground, hard enough that they cause mini-explosions. This breaks the weapon, however.
    • Sawaguchi has a super throw that makes him jump up high with his opponent above him, before coming back down in a sitting position on top of the opponent.
    • Nishimura has a super version of his charged punch, except that since time is frozen when he uses his super move, it hits instantly.
    • Onizuka's super version of his Spin Attack not only does more damage, but lets him continue the attack after the cinematic has ended.
    • Ryuichi and Ryuji have similar super moves that lets them channel Billy and Jimmy Lee from Double Dragon, enhancing their already-potent attacks.
    • Yamada, being the Big Bad, gets a cinematic form of his telekinesis move, which allows him to hit his target instantly, and a powerful takedown grapple. His final boss form has two similar supers — one where he does a weird gesture that hits all opponents in the direction he's facing, and another that acts like an extended, stupidly powerful version of his takedown attack, adding rapid-fire stomps while standing on his downed opponent and ending with a kick for good measure.
  • Metal Slime: The Entrees gang in EX, who give ridiculous amounts of money and carry unique weapons, but flee from battle almost immediately.
  • Mirror Match: In the GBA remake only.
  • Money Spider: Justified in part by only fighting human opponents — but isn't it strange how every member of a gang always has the same change in their pockets?
    • When you consider everything else about the gangs, no, not really.
  • The Movie:River City Rumble, a fan-made tribute movie made by X-Strike Studios. Still better than half of the game-based movies out there.
  • Never Say "Die": Everyone always faints when they fall down with no more health and willpower. (On the other hand, the NES manual actually says that you die if you run out of stamina.)
  • No Fair Cheating: Very averted in EX. There is a hidden shop located in a secret wall in the tunnel that offers a variety of powerful items at a high price. Some of these items do pretty cool stuff bordering on Debug Mode like creating a save file of any character in the game (including Slick!), rebinding your special moves' controls, and merging two saves to make a character with the stats and special moves combined of both characters. Since these alter the save files themselves instead of the current character, you can just load a save, get the item, use it (even on the same save), and reload to get your money back. And said shop also happens to sell a cheap lottery ticket that is very easy to save-scum.
    • That said, some of them are better than others in practice. One allows you to not so much jump as fly, which sounds cool and great for aerial attacks, but causes you to ascend really slowly, as much as you descend, and doesn't let you come back down again until you hit the apex of your jump, so it also means you take forever to land again. Then there's the item that makes you jump like a freak, which, coupled with the item that lets you jump in midair, means spamming it makes it impossible to judge your landing trajectory and will eat up time sending you up way higher than you'd ever need to go. Using them in unison means playing around can get you stuck for quite some time trying to land again just to leave the screen you're on. Then there's the one that makes you teleport behind opponents before attacking them, in essence giving every special attack and normal attack the gimmick of the Nitro Port... except it can make it really easy to whiff moves you always timed normally before. The roller skates that launch your running speed to the moon to better land moving attacks, and the special item that lets you simply run in midair, on the other hand...
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Tex is more interested in staying on Ivsn and Abby Popov's good side than he is in acting as an enforcer for Slick's occupation of River City High.
  • Oh, Crap!: Any boss can be refought if you return to their hangout and beat up the resident gang. Generally, they have this reaction to Alex and Ryan's return.
  • One-Winged Angel: Yamada has a new form in Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari SP, where he gains Prophet Eyes and a ghastly purple aura. In this form, his telekinesis attack and his super moves are significantly buffed.
  • Optional Boss: Benny and Clyde are the only bosses the player is not required to defeat to access River City High School. Once inside, Tex can be skipped too, since only Otis and the Dragon Twins have to be defeated to access the final boss.
  • Palette Swap: All the guys have the same basic body, differentiated only by the color of their shirts. All the gangs also share the same nine faces; fight all nine members of a gang and you'll always see a Glasses Guy, a Sunglasses Guy, a Big Forehead Guy, a Scruffy Haired Guy, etc. in each of the gangs. Finally, all of the boss characters have unique faces that sometimes resemble but are notably different from the nine generic gang faces.
  • Password Save: An odd system, since it only would keep track of your stats while the plot starts over from the beginning every time the game is turned on. A jacked-up character, however, can easily walk through the plotline until the point he left off. They were also annoyingly long.
  • Pipe Pain: In the original, steel pipes were the strongest melee weapon available, only found in the hands of the Cowboys and the Plague, the two toughest gangs in the original.
  • Power Fist: The brass knuckles.
  • The Promise: Rick swore to Ryan years ago that he would help him if he ever truly needed it. Come time to rescue Ryan's girlfriend, Rick makes good on that promise.
  • Promoted to Unlockable: Eventually everyone, in the remake, thanks to the Custom Char item. As far as the plot is concerned, however, you are still Alex or Ryan regardless of what character save you have loaded.
  • Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs: Stone Hands gives you the power to rapidly throw three punches in the time it used to take you to throw one, while Dragon Feet does the same thing for kicks. Based on how affordable these two are, plus their availability at every mall, they're frequently the cornerstone of a player's offense. Much more expensive, but more deadly, is Grand Slam, which allows Alex and Ryan to do the same with any equipped weapon.
  • The Rival: In the original Japanese version, Kunio and Riki are rivals who team up against a common enemy and become Fire-Forged Friends.
  • Save-Game Limits: The original's passwords and the EX save only keep track of your stats. You start from the beginning every time. (Granted, enough passwords/saves and you'll be able to blitz to Slick, at which point you need the stats.)
    • A side effect of this is in EX that you can save and load anytime, anywhere, yet the action remains unchanged. You can load a weaker character to feed him a boss money drop, or load yourself back to full health in the middle of a fight.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: BARF!
  • Say It with Hearts: Quite a bit in the remake, and parodied when you fight both Tex and Ivan together (your karma meter must be at its lowest for this boss fight).
  • Shout-Out: The music from Double Dragon plays during the fight against the twins, and one gang's members are named after classic television characters. The GBA remake takes this further; members of many gangs are named after things such as webcomic artists, rappers, and even the cast of Disgaea.
    • A recursive shout out: Two members of the Japanese gang in the GBA remake are named Kunio and Riki.
    • A lot of people who dislike Megatokyo cackled with giddy delight after beating two gang members named Piro and Largo with trash cans.
      • Or smacking around Cloud and Duo. From a gang called "The Plague", no less.
    • There's also an odd sort of shout-out to "Crash n' the Boyz", where an optional teammate will basically tell Alex that "Crash and the Boyz are rooting for you"... despite the fact that Crash is just that game's version of Kunio.
  • Sidequest: You remember how Cyndi, Ryan's girlfriend, got kidnapped? She's being held on the top floor of River City High, and she can be freed before (or after) the Dragon Twins have been beaten by going into the right classroom. It's completely optional, though.
  • Signature Move: Ivan has a stunning headbutt that leaves the victim open to combo attacks, while Randy and Andy (befitting their Captain Ersatz nature) have the Cyclone Spin Kick from Double Dragon.
    • Within the Kunio-Kun series, most other named characters have certain special moves associated with them, though it wasn't until later games that this was established. Of course, nothing is stopping you from equipping Alex with Dragon Feet and giving Ryan the Stone Hands move in the NES original.
  • Sorting Algorithm of Evil: To the point that the next boss won't even appear at his turf until the previous boss or bosses are defeated.
  • Spiritual Sequel: Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: The Game paid so much homage to the original game that it could be considered a spiritual sequel.
  • Super Drowning Skills: Falling into water during the Benny and Clyde fight instantly kills you, regardless of how much stamina you had. It also kills them instantly if you can knock them into the river, although you will miss out on the money they drop if you beat them this way.
    • Averted in the GBA version, due to the fact that the river pitfall was removed in the first area where Benny and Clyde are fought.
    • Also averted in Downtown Special. There are many areas with lakes and rivers and your character and enemies can swim just fine. There's even an option to adjust the speed of water currents.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Averted. You can start beating on the gang leaders while they're introducing themselves. It hurts your reputation in the GBA remake, though.
    • Played straight in the 3DS remake, as most pre-fight dialogue now occurs in cutscenes.
  • Theme Naming: Each gang has its own theme, a couple having been changed in the GBA version. They are:
    • The Generic Dudes: The Generic Guy.
    • The Frat Guys: Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
    • The Jocks: Jerk Jocks.
    • The Home Boys: Black and white television show shout-outs (NES); Rappers (GBA).
    • The Mob: The Mafia.
    • The Squids: Geeks and Nerds. (NES only)
    • The Internationals: Stereotypical foreign names.
    • The Cowboys: The Deep South.
    • The Plague: The Quincy Punk in name, not look (NES); Video game/webcomic/Internet shout-outs (GBA)
    • The Dragons: Japanese names. (GBA only)
    • The Rockers: Musicians. (GBA only)
    • The Rejects: Geeks and Nerds. (GBA only)
    • The Eagles: American names. (GBA only)
    • The Locals: Possibly the developers of the English version. (GBA only)
    • The Gamers: Shout-outs to Atlus games. (GBA only)
    • The Entrees: Food. (GBA only)
  • The Stinger: After Yamada is defeated for good in Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari SP, an extra scene plays in which Hasebe runs up to Toudou inquiring about a certain invitation letter, leading to the events of River City Super Sports Challenge: All Star Special.
  • Time Skip: River City Ransom Underground is set 25 years after the original, mirroring the real release date difference between the two games. As a result, the characters are designed to look notably older.
  • Token Super: Slick / Yamada has telekinesis in the remake, which is never explained.
  • True Companions: A feature added to the Game Boy Advance version, defeated bosses could follow you around and fight on your side. Most of the time it required a high reputation (an invisible stat the game keeps track) but sometimes it required talking to certain characters or choosing not to play with both Alex and Ryan. The best examples are the Zombies and the Generic Dudes, because none of them really wanted to work for Slick or Thor.
    • Tex is an especially good example. If you have his friend Ivan (he also has a thing for Ivan's sister) with you, he will refuse to fight you even if your reputation has fallen. If you completed the Ivan side quest, he will ask if Ivan left the gang and you confirm it, he leaves too. If you have a good reputation and Ivan, he will join you.
    • The mooks even get this; Otis will team up with the Dragon Twins under certain circumstances and Slick will call in the three of them if you have a full party on your side.
    • Gary and Rick, the two close friends of Alex and Ryan respectively. Neither have any personal stake in the conflict and still come to aid their friends in need.
    • Jesse. He isn't a zombie. He isn't even a bad guy. But he still comes to help his best friend Turk (who Jesse believes is just on the wrong path) if you beat on him enough times.
  • Unwinnable: While it isn't likely to happen accidentally, in multiplayer, if a Javelin Man-equipped player throws the other to the right in the first Benny and Clyde fight, they fly off into infinity and the game can't proceed.
  • Violence Really Is the Answer: Seanbaby put it best in the quote above.
  • Villain Forgot to Level Grind: If you fight Benny and Clyde the first time near the river, they'll come back later in the game next to the sauna for a rematch. However, they have the exact same stats as they did when they first appeared. If Alex or Ryan have a maxed out attack stat and the skill books that give that attack Rapid-Fire Fisticuffs (which is pretty easy at this point), the two will go down in one or two blows. Also possible if an early- or mid-game gang spawns near River City High — when you're regularly dealing with The Internationals or The Cowboys and suddenly The Mob or The Home Boys show up, it's a bit of a breather as you're suddenly facing off against a pack of nine enemies that's just as strong as when they were hanging out in their usual early-game locations.
  • Wake-Up Call Boss: If you haven't been taking the time to build your stats up, Rocko/Nishimura will be more than happy to remind you to do so. He hits very hard, especially compared to the last few bosses you've fought up to that point.
  • Walking the Earth: Walking the Streets of River City: Ted, who is a martial artist looking to hone his skills by fighting the gang members. This is his sole reason for offering to join if you find him.
  • Zerg Rush: Getting Conan to join your party in the remake will also bring the entire Generic Dudes gang on your side, who fight 3 on screen at a time.