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River City Ransom evolves further on Nintendo Wii U

Painting by Sing-Ming Lee at
Painting by Sing-Ming Lee on Flickr

I tried to take on the Adventures of Bayou Billy. The game by Konami, and released in 1989, is a cornerstone of my gaming experiences. Those driving sequences, the light gun battles, and some of those boss fights deter me. The music is great, but I do not want to review it. Instead, River City Ransom, by Technos of Japan, is a game I never put my hands on. You want this title on your Nintendo Wii U’s Virtual Console, but understand its flaws.

Wikipedia highlights high school students, Alex and Ryan’s, trek across River City to save Ryan’s girlfriend and River City High from a villain, Slick, and gangs like the Generic Dudes, the Jocks, and the Squids.

The Nintendo Entertainment System had two buttons and an analog, D-pad for basic movement. This along with your health, knowledge, fight skill, and strategy get you to the final battle. It reminds me of before Yu Suzuki, and Sega’s Shenmue. You fight villains of various skills. It is important to read, important to eat smart, and dress with intention. In the end, you create a person capable of taking on most enemies well enough. However, everyone’s path is different.

Some individuals may eat more fudge, and egg rolls, while others look to collect meat and music. You create a unique fighter with ability, or sometimes without an ability, to finish this game. Every movement has a purpose. If you run away from an enemy and you hit a wall in the game, you can take damage. You can take all your enemies head on, but will lose at times. You have barriers, and cover you can use in the game. In a two-player game, friendly, or not, damage comes. Text in the game gives your enemies personality and it tells you how strong your brawler has become. Cash, received after beating your enemy, drives you to your goal. However, every enemy makes you work.

Two players can use Alex and Ryan to beat River City into shape, if you understand the Nintendo Wii U format. A two-player game on Nintendo Wii U must include two different controllers, other than the Wii U Gamepad. This adds an element of classic play as it reminds us of the days the dual Nintendo Entertainment System controllers. However, using a controller with the Wii U Gamepad introduces a particular issue.

The Wii U Gamepad, from what I have experienced, takes control, and only permits a one-player game, even in a two-player mode. You just have to remember the Wii U Pro Controller and Wii U mote will operate just fine for this game.

On the Nintendo Wii U, it is a natural evolution. If you look at this game, it is a game way ahead of its time. You have a fighter that can be uniquely powerful. The Kickstarter for River City Ransom: Underground explains why there is respect for this game. The hope is more games energize today’s market with similar, and past-inspired, expectations.



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