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River City Ransom: Underground Review

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To appreciate River City Ransom: Underground it’s probably best you know about its predecessor, River City Ransom, which is a beloved NES title with a cult following.  A Western-localized version of Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari from Japan, Technos created a long-running series known best as “Kunio-kun” titles given that the lead, Kunio, appears in every game.  River City Ransom was the only action brawler in the series to make its way to the States and fans have been pining for another game in the series since the original premiered in 1990.  Since then Technos Japan has closed, been reborn as Million, and while Japan has received consistent releases over the past two decades there’s been almost nothing to show for it in the West.  That’s when Canadian-based developer Conatus Creative decided to acquire the rights to make a River City Ransom follow-up.  The result has finally arrived with River City Ransom: Underground proving that it is possible to make a sequel to a 20-year-old game and do a great job at it.  Those who remember playing the original alone or with a friend on the couch will be in for a treat, but if you’re hoping to utilize modern online gaming, this title is still a work in progress.

river_city_ransom_underground_1From start to finish the mechanics of River City Ransom: Underground are spot on.  The game acts as a direct sequel to the original and has an appropriate prologue set on re-establishing the two leads, Alex and Ryan, as they confront and defeat Slick on the school rooftop.  It’s much akin to the Dracula fight at the beginning of Castlevania: Symphony of the Night that re-hashes the battle from the end of Rondo of Blood.  Upon jumping into the present you are greeted with four new protagonists, each one with a distinct fighting style, and off you go.  You’re either a fan of the brawler genre – namely RenegadeDouble Dragon, and of course River City Ransom – or you’re not, which only bears mentioning because Underground is cut from that cloth.  Any criticism weighed against the genre applies to Underground as well, but beyond those caveats I must admit the single player campaign really has none.  It’s an ideal follow-up.

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Written by Fred Rojas

March 6, 2017 at 11:00 am

Famicom Classic Edition’s 8 Exclusive Games and How They Compare to the NES Classic Edition

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The Famicom (Family Computer) Classic Edition is Nintendo’s Japanese version of the NES Classic Edition mini console. It contains 30 games as well, but eight games are exclusive to the console. Fred briefly delves into those region specific games and then briefly compares the list to the NES Classic Edition.

Dissecting Nintendo’s Famicom Classic Edition (Mini) Differences

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This week, Nintendo announced the Eastern component to the NES Classic Edition (or NES Mini) that most of us knew were coming.  Nintendo did allow some hands on time and offer new information on the NES Classic that will probably apply to the Famicom Classic as well, so check that link above if you haven’t already.  The delightful Famicom Mini is officially called the “Family Computer Classic Edition” and it appears to be quite similar to the Western version save for the obvious aesthetic difference, but also with some details and games.  Like the NES Classic Edition it will contain 30 games, it does not accept cartridges, and it will retail for ¥5980 (which at time of writing is literally $59.80).  Those of you already hoping to import should expect international shipping to be approximately $20-$30 depending on the speed of shipment and retailer.  I’ve already checked and no one currently has it on pre-order, although some bigger import sites do have pages for it, but I suspect it will not have a supply problem as the price point for these consoles suggests it needs to sell a large quantity.

Now there are some notable differences that you should be aware of.  Of course the games will all be the Japanese counterpart and contain the Japanese versions, but the universal HDMI out means that any HDTV worldwide should easily support either console.  On the other hand the USB power supply is not included in the Family Computer Classic Edition and can be purchased for ¥1000 ($10) if needed.  Those picking up both versions can most likely use the included NES Classic Edition cable and it’s probably the common micro-USB plug type.  Also the Famicom Mini, like the original Famicom, has two controllers wired directly into the console and are not removable.  As for games, 8 titles are unique to each region, so 22 of these titles are on both consoles.  Here’s a quick list of those and you can expect a video of these region specific titles coming soon.

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