I’m Revisiting a Nintendo Classic, River City Ransom | Geeks With Forks


I’ve decided to revisit a Nintendo classic, River City Ransom, and finish something I started over 20 years ago. So if you are as old as me (I’m 37) and played Nintendo heavily growing up in the 80’s and early 90’s, then you may remember a game called River City Ransom. For those, who do remember, it was probably one of your favorite game growing up, right?

I have fond memories of playing with my brother trying to beat the game. I don’t recall ever beating the game. In fact, we would make it all the way to the end and were never able to get inside River City High School. This is even after buying all the special moves and spending countless hours running around. We even found the hidden room in the tunnel, where you purchase the ‘ultimate moves. 30+ years later and I still have not beaten River City Ransom. So at 37, I’m reclaiming my childhood and going back to beat the NES games that I never beat growing up starting with River City Ransom.

Having not played in so many years, the learning curve should be short. So jumping right in should not be a problem. What I do know now, that I didn’t know back then, is that River City Ransom is an Action-RPG. WHAT!?! After all these years, without even realizing it, I was supposed to be leveling my character and increasing his stats along the way. I never really paid much attention it then. Yes, folks. If some of you didn’t know, besides grinding money to buy the special movies, all those restaurants, toy stores and music shops had items that boosted your stats like Strength, Punch, Defense etc. See, back in the day, we didn’t have the luxury of the internet or in-game tutorials (if the game had a tutorial it just showed you the basics), so if you borrowed a game from a friend, chances you didn’t get the instruction booklet. Which meant, you pretty much had to figure out things as you went along. Luckily, my brother had an in-game passcode that gave us a ton of money to start, so grinding wasn’t much of a problem.

“I’ve been witness to a lot of gaming frustration.”

As a result, my generation spent many many hours trying to beat a game. So many of us agonizing in front of our televisions, throwing our controllers down in frustration and I have been witness to a lot of gaming frustration. A few game comes to mind Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (that infamous underwater level with the bombs), Silver Surfer (a game I did beat when I was younger), Zelda 2: The Adventure of Link (never got past the second dungeon), just to name a few. Only to attempt to complete a game with very little knowledge of what we were supposed to be doing in the first place. That limited knowledge led to some very hardcore gaming, even before we knew what hardcore gaming was. I can think of a couple games that I played completely the wrong way or later found out years later that there was a much easier or simpler way of getting through the game. River City Ransom is one of those games. Games that should have taken only a couple hours to beat, took ten times that back then.

We also didn’t have the luxury of save points, in the majority of games, like modern games do. Remember having to finish a game with limited continues or no continues at all. If you lost all your lives, you had start over from the beginning? Kids today wouldn’t know what to do! Some games did give you passcodes to continue your progress. I remember having pieces of paper and notebook full of passcodes. The worst part was writing down a code and then when you went back to enter it in the next time you played, the code would be incorrect because you missed a letter or symbol. The pain was crushing. It hurt deep when you realize that all the work you put in was for nothing. That kind of adversity separated the weak from the strong. 

So my plan is to finish this game once and for all. I’m not going to use any cheat codes. I’m not going to look up walk-throughs online. I’m doing this the old fashion way. I’ll be documenting my progress as I move along the game and find out how to finish the game on my own. You want to track my progress, you can either subscribe to email updates on our homepage or subscribe the Geeks With Forks YouTube Page. Check back here for updates on my progress. If you have any games you would like me to try the “old school” way, just let me know.




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