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Charm Offensive: River City Ransom Kickstarter

I love Pho

QAOPSPACEBAR. That’s my youth. Five buttons. It all just came flooding back: hours spent hunched over my Spectrum playing Target: Renegade. The scrapey hit sounds, the malevolent drift of the motorbike riders, the axe-wielding bald guys. I’d forgotten about it until reading about the River City Ransom: Underground Kickstarter, an officially licensed follow-up to Technōs Japan’s NES era side-scrolling brawler River City Ransom. The pitch for the Kickstarter is below, as well as an explanation to why it made me nostalgic for a completely different game.

River City Ransom is one of the cuter beat ’em ups of that era. The squat, square little brawler you controlled would beat barfing enemies with chains and buy tougher feet from shops. I miss the days when things didn’t need to make sense. What will the update bring? Developer Conatus Creative says:

We’re making River City bigger, adding more stores, items, and bringing the cast and crew into the modern era. You’ll reunite with old friends (and punch them in the face), meet new ones, and play through an epic story in an urban, open world. Yes, the game will feature local co-op play, and online co-op depending on our distribution partners on launch day.

We’ve evolved combat based on the mechanics of the golden age of console fighting, and we’re pushing to get sophisticated, crafty opponent AI into the game. You’re not safe standing on your bench anymore!

So not only does it look like a love-letter to the age of sprites ‘n’ scrolling, but it made me realise that two of my favourite games had a deeper connection than I knew. Both games shared a daddy in Renegade. Target: Renegade was made by Ocean, who licensed the original Renegade for home machines and were given the license to carry on making Renegades. Technōs Japan, the original developers of Renegade, took the format in a different direction, and made Double Dragon and River City Ransom.

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Who am I?

Craig Pearson


I love square sausage, cats, and climbing pretend rocks.

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