This is one of those games that not many people have ever heard of, but those who have always jump with boyish glee when the name is mentioned. "River City Ransom" was one of my favorite NES games and to this day is something my friends and I will get together and play because its just that fun.
Essentualy its not much different on the surface than "Double Dragon" except that the characters have a much more chibi-anime look to them. You have a punch button and a kick button and you jump by pushing both at the same time. The story is goofy. Its about how the gang at one of the highschools is holding the city ransom.
At any rate, the games real draw comes from the unique implementation of rpg elements into this traditional side scrolling beat'em'up. Every time you beat an enemy, they drop money. At certain spots in the city there are malls with all kinds of shops in them that sell different items. Almost every item you use modifies your characters abilities. For instance, certain foods will increase your characters strength making his attacks do more damage. A more noticeable example is speed. If your playing with two players and one player chooses a food, vitamin or shoes that boost his speed, you will notice that character will walk and run slightly faster than the other.
Perhaps the coolest power ups you can buy in the game are the books. There are several book stores in the different malls in River city. A very select few books found in a few of the stores will grant your character new powers. The goofiest of these is probably "Javelin Man" which lets you pick up fallen enemies or even your partner and launch them through the air as a spiraling projectile of DOOM!
Yes, along with the typical pipes and chains, you can use almost anything as a weapon. Trash cans, boxes, rocks, tires, bats, brass knuckles and yes, even people. All this contributes to the fun of the game as well as the fact that long before Nintendo decided that having multiplayer games make players cooperate at the same time as compete, this game had perfected it. I can't tell you how many times I've punched my best friend in the back of the head and thrown him off a cliff so I could finish off one of the mini-bosses and take the big bucks he dropped.(sorry Jack)
I'm warning you, if you play this game...you wont ever want to stop.