Ah, high school -- host to wedgies, bad food, acne and social politics. Unfortunately, these are the least of the worries on Alex and Ryan's minds, as the meanest gang lord in River City is holding their entire high school hostage - including Ryan's girlfriend! "With my gangs of students and vicious bosses roaming the streets, no one can stop me now. Meet my demands -- or else!" wrote Slick. It was this "or else!" that especially struck fear into the hearts of the River City citizens, in addition to confusion as to what his demands were.
Confused and helpless to do anything about the situation, the River City population is relying upon Alex and Ryan to put an end to Slick's reign of terror. But to take down Slick and rescue Cyndy, Alex and Ryan will have to fight their way through the rough, gang-filled streets of River City between them and River City High School using their fists, feet and whatever blunt instruments they happen to find along the way.
Selecting from Alex or Ryan in one-player mode, or both in two-player mode, you're armed with a plethora of attacks and moves to flatten your foes, ranging from the basic punches, kicks, jumps, and sprinting, to jump kicks, sprinting jumps, tag-team maneuvers, and wielding or throwing weapons and enemies. In addition, environments you'll journey through are filled with ways to pound your foes; you can rebound off walls and let loose with a flying kick, climb atop walls, benches and other structures to put the drop on your enemies, or even knock them into a pit.
A multitude of weapons and objects can be found along the streets or acquired by smacking them out of the hands of foes, including lead pipes, wooden two-by-fours and metal chains you can swing or throw, brass knuckles and rocks adding a little more power to a punch, and trash cans, wooden crates and tires, which can be tossed or stood upon. Weapons may even be used against other weapons; swinging a lead pipe at a rock will whack it back towards the sender.
It's a good thing you have all of this at your disposal, because over nine gangs are standing in your way, including lower level thugs such as Harry, Larry, Terry, Perry, Jerry, Cary, Gary and Ralph of the Generic Dudes, to the big boys from The Plague, The Zombies and The Cowboys. Each gang has a mean boss such as Thor or Rocko and each guard their home turf, ranging from Sticksville and Armstrong Thru-Way to the WSL Co. Warehouse and finally, River City High School, doing everything they can to prevent you from passing through.
Defeating your enemies is where role-playing elements come into play; gang members drop money in the form of coins, which you may collect and use to purchase food and items from malls and shopping plazas located throughout River City. Each mall or shopping area contains a variety of sushi bars, bookstores, coffee shops and fast food joints. You can choose to eat-in at restaurants or snag some grub for replacing your energy on the road, while bookstores or shoe stores allow you to purchase items raising your attributes and teaching you new techniques.
Techniques such as Stone Hands or Dragon Feet speed up your attacks to pummel your foes at an accelerated rate, while Acro Circus allows you to perform a spinning jump, allowing you to leap over and trounce foes more easily. Attributes include your agility, defense, will power, strength, throwing ability, punching and kicking strengths, proficiency at wielding weapons, and stamina, in addition to your remaining hit points.
Alex and Ryan each possess a bar of health and when this reaches zero from one hundred percent, they'll be knocked unconscious by their foe, then awaken at the last mall or shopping center they visited, money stolen by the miscreant. River City Ransom utilizes a password based save system. A password may be retrieved at any time through the submenu, allowing you to return to the fray later with your attributes, items and location intact.
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