River City Ransom is a NES game that has picked up a lot of momentum many years after its release. This is likely due to little kids' brains not being able to comprehend the significance of BARF! Adults however can appreciate the offbeat humor, solid beat 'em up action, and RPG elements. Alex and Ryan are out to rescue Cyndi from Slick, all while battling gangs such as The Generic Dudes. Showcasing Technos at its finest, River City Ransom is the third game in the Kunio-kun series and undoubtedly the most famous.
Best novice (easiest) difficulty time: single-segment 0:08:00 by Jeff Feasel on 2010-06-02.
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The boss fighting technique involves using only dash-kicks (my previous technique alternated dash-kicks with throws, which is easier but slower). The object is to keep control of the fight by continuing to hit the boss the moment he gets up. It is important to keep control of the boss because withoutpowerups your character is very weak and most bosses (or even regular enemies) have the strength to kill you in one attack. If you can begin the kick at (or just a couple frames before) the moment the boss gets up from the ground, you can knock him down again before he has a chance to react. If the kick is too late or too early the boss will block, attack, or run. The difficult thing is that timing of the kick varies, both within and between fights. Each boss has a stat that controls how long he stays down. During a fight the boss's recovery time lengthens, and each successive boss begins with a slightly shorter recovery time than the previous. Spatial location of the kick is also important, but the main challenge is the timing.
In this run I fight the Twins simultaneously instead of splitting them up. For a long time I didn't think this was possible outside ofTAS , but it turns out it can be done. The principle is exactly the same as any other boss fight except that the spatial window is very narrow. The area in which the kick does damage is just barely wide enough to fit both Twins. If the position of the kick is slightly off, one of the Twins will get away. Unlike other boss fights, there is absolutely no way to recover from losing control of one of the Twins, so the location and timing must be perfect. I can only manage it 30-40% of the time.
Some big changes in strategy compared to my previous runs: (1) not getting the lamb leg ("safety food of champions"), (2) using luck manipulation at the warehouse to get good enemy positions, (3) fighting the Twins simultaneously. Because of these things the route that I use here is extremely risky, and the "reset factor" is higher than any game I've worked on before. As such, I couldn't hope to get everything clean and perfect. There are a few minor mishaps when fighting the gangs, but nothing that loses more than a couple seconds here and there. All in all I'd estimate that there's about 15 seconds of error in this run. As far as random factors go (gang choice, enemy placement, and enemy behavior), an incredibly lucky run could possibly shave off a further 20 seconds. Beyond this, it's hard to see a faster strategy that doesn't use 2-players orTAS-only tactics. (After accounting for timing differences, this run is only about a minute slower than the current 2-player TAS .) An obvious possibility is to skip Dragon Feet, but I'm skeptical of this: all fights (bosses and gangs) will be slower, and the fighting-Twins-together approach may not be possible at all. Nonetheless, I'm interested to see what future runners will try.
Assorted Specific Notes:
I play as Ryan instead of Alex, which saves several seconds in dialog when meeting Roxy.
Much of the game is running past enemies and trying not to get sucker-punched. Enemy initial-positions and behaviors are random, but there are certain patterns of up-and-down movement that you can use while running that will allow you to dodge past most enemy configurations unscathed. The biggest challenge is that there are many screens where your character may begin right next to an enemy (who will almost always attack the instant the screen comes into view). To avoid this you have to be holding up or down on the control pad when the screen fades in. But you also want to start running as early as possible when the screen fades in, so you've got to do two things at once. I have a hard time double-tapping to the side while holding up or down, so I use two thumbs on the d-pad for these parts: right thumb double-taps while the left thumb holds up or down.
I use luck manipulation at the warehouse -- which is a fancy way of saying that I reset the game if the enemies spawn in such a way that I can't collect all four of their coins without backtracking. Missing a coin is bad because it means more time spent earning money to buy Dragon Feet. Note that there are several enemy spawn points on the upper and lower floors of both halves of the warehouse, and enemies will only spawn in locations that are currently off-screen. So if you want to control where the next enemy will appear, you need to control the screen's position. The best configuration involves entering the warehouse to find two enemies on the right half of the warehouse (you kill these, and the other two enemies will always spawn on the left side of the warehouse which is exactly what you want). I didn't get this configuration, but what I got was good enough: the first two enemies started out on the lower left side, very close to the wall. In this case I was able to make it over the wall and kill the two of them without scrolling the screen far enough left to expose those leftmost spawn points (which would cause the next two enemies to appear on the right side). If I'd been a pixel or two further to the left, the enemies would not have spawned on the left side.
Lost a couple seconds earning money, due to a missed kick on the second pair of enemies I killed.
The throws during the fight with Blade don't really make it any slower than exclusively using dash-kicks. I use the throws for fun, not because I'm trying to position the coin-drop.
Took a chain to the back of the head at Capitol Ave Bridge. Usually it's possible to dodge thrown objects by moving to the very bottom of the screen (see my marathon run). In this case, though, it didn't seem to work. This is a rare occurrence.
The fight with Turk and the preceding enemies went very well.
In Mojo's area, I don't know why the fourth enemy didn't appear right away. My guess is that he spawned but then immediately switched into weapon-seeking mode which cased him to run off to the right. Running right to find him wasn't much of a loss, though, because I needed to cover that ground anyway. Fight withMojo went well. It's tough to avoid hitting the right side of the screen when doing the dash-kick on him.
Factory: Jumping over the gap may look cool, but it is not any faster than taking the low road. It seems like it should be, but it's really not. Thor went down like (insert random joke).
Outside RC High: Missed a coin. Oops. I had to decide whether it was worth going back for it, but I think I made the right choice by moving on and waiting for it to disappear on its own. Ivan fight was smoother than yacht rock.
Had a close call with the enemies in the gym, but the fight with Otis was spot-on. Note: the extra little hop before jumping up to the basketball hoop is not a mistake -- it's required due to some strange glitch with the map.
RC High, top floor: Another close call -- I almost got bludgeoned. Picking up the stick was an accident (I thought the guy had survived the throw since I was playing with the sound off).
The Twins fight went about as well as I could have hoped. I discovered a trick that allows you to skip the Twins' death monologue. If you kill the two of them within a couple seconds of each other (but not exactly the same time) it will allow you to enter the rooftop door without waiting for the monologue. That is why I dash-kick them 8 times but then finish them separately with standing kicks.
Though the Twins are the hardest part, Simon is technically the last boss. Simon has a fast recovery time, lots of stamina, and a long enough death-monologue to let me hit myself in the nuts and hop the fence.
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