Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari (ダウンタウン熱血物語, "Tale of Downtown Nekketsu") is the third entry in the Kunio-kun series. The game was released on April 25, 1989 in Japan for the Family Computer and was the first game that Technōs Japan made exclusively for the console market, preceding Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun and Nekketsu Kōkō Dodgeball Bu (both were also released on the Famicom, but were released for arcades first). The game was published in North America by American Technōs, Inc., their U.S. subsidiary and released on January 1990, where it was re-titled River City Ransom. This version made changes to the plot and graphics in a similar way to Renegade (the localization of Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun) in order to make the game palatable for the western market. This version of the game was also released as Street Gangs in PAL regions.
The game was designed by Mitsuhiro Yoshida and Hiroyuki Sekimoto as a Double Dragon game that parents and their children could play together, so it plays similarly to the NES version of that game. The game has role-playing elements and a non-linear progression, characters have stats that are increased by purchasing items using money from fallen foes and they are free to explore the game's open world. Players can also purchase books in shops in order to grant fighting techniques to their characters, such as Riki's trademark Mach Punch. Speaking of Riki, this is the first game in the series in which Kunio and Riki join forces, as the two have been enemies in the previous two games. After this game, Riki would often appear in other Kunio-kun games as the second player character.
The game was highly successful in Japan. The graphical look of the game was used in subsequent Kunio-kun games by the company on the system (such as the sequels of Nekketsu Kōkō Dodgeball Bu). The game was not as successful in North America or the PAL regions, but its unique gameplay and sense of humor turned the game into a cult classic, which inspired parallel works such as Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World: The Game.
The game was ported by Sharp to the Sharp X68000 on April 1990 and was developed by SPS. This version of the game has a number of additions, such as new areas, enemies, more colorful graphics and also displays three enemies at once instead of two, among other additions. It was also ported to the PC-Engine Super CD-ROM² by Naxat Soft on December 24, 1993 and developed by KID. It has arranged redbook audio, enhanced graphics and fully voiced dialogue. A remake of the game was released for the Game Boy Advance on March 5, 2004 developed by Million Co, Ltd. and published by Atlus in Japan as Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari EX. It was released in North America on May 26, 2004 as River City Ransom EX.
Several months after Kunio defeated Sabu and rescued Hiroshi, brothers Ryūichi and Ryūji Hattori transfer to Reihou Academy. Within a few months, the brothers take control of the neighboring high schools using powerful fighting techniques, striking fear as the "Double Dragon Brothers". Riki, the banchō of Hanazono High School has no interest in the brothers or what they have been doing. But one day his girlfriend Mami goes missing and he receives a challenge from the academy. Enraged, Riki decides to make his way to the academy alone, but finds Kunio waiting for him outside his school. Kunio wants to help Riki rescue his girlfriend and he begrudgingly agrees.
Up to two players can play through the game together in two separate modes, one with friendly-fire (2P Play A) and one without it (2P Play B). Either player can play as Kunio or Riki, who play in exactly the same way. In a single player game the player can choose to play as either character, which changes the in-game dialogue (dialogue in a two-player game will prioritize the first player). The game has three difficulty levels: Easy, Normal and Difficult. Easy will decrease the stats of each enemy and boss by 16 and Difficult will increase their stats by 16. The speed of the in-game text can also be modified. Pressing the Select button at the mode select screen allows players to rename their character.
The game's style of progression is that of a role-playing game. The game has no actual stages, instead the player is able to travel in an open world in a sandbox manner around nine different areas. In most of these areas, Kunio and Riki will be attacked by rival school gangs. They are identified by their colors, different AI fighting patterns and the money they drop. The farther the player moves from the starting area (Hanazono High School and the neighboring Hanazono Town and Shopping District) the tougher enemies become. Each gang has nine enemies which are distinguished by their faces and stats (each enemy represents a different stat).
The objective of the game is to reach Reihou Academy (River City High in the western versions of the game), rescue Mami and defeat her kidnappers. Players are free to do as they wish during the game, but until they defeat the Shitennō (四天王 "Four Heavenly Kings") of Reihou (The Zombies in the western versions of the game) they will be unable to gain access to the academy. Since the player can go wherever he wants, it is possible to skip combat by running away from enemies into another screen. In some areas, only four enemies will appear and when they are defeated a boss will appear. When enemies and bosses are defeated they will drop money that the player can use at shops. Bosses can also be fought multiple times.
Pressing the Start button at any time during the game will bring up a menu with different items. Additionally, at any time during gameplay pressing the Select button will toggle between the character's current stamina and their money at the top of the screen:
- Possessions (もちもの, Belongings in the Western versions): Shows the inventory of both characters. Books, shoes and consumable items can be stored here for the player to use. A maximum of eight items can be carried for each character. The options below are for the player To use or equip items (つかう "To use"), to exit the inventory screen (やめる "quit") and to discard items (すてる "throw away").
- Password (ぱすれーど): When the player enters this screen a password is shown for both characters (even when playing the game in single player). Passwords save the player's current stats (maximum health being the exception) and their money. In the Western versions of the game, the passwords are longer and now save which bosses have been defeated as well.
- Change Settings (せっていへんこう Level in the Western versions of the game): This option returns the player to the settings screen, allowing them to change the text speed and the game's difficulty at any time.
- Status (すてーたす): This option displays the stats for both characters, even when playing a single player game.
- Turbo File (たーぼふぁいる): Using either, the ASCII TurboFile or TurboFile II, the player can save and load player data, including their stats, money and the items in their inventory. The options below allow the player to save data (せーぶする "To save"), load data (ろーどする "To load") or return to the game (なにもしない "Do nothing"). This option is not available in the Western versions of the game.
- Help: Exclusive to River City Ransom and Street Gangs, this option takes players to a screen that explains what each of the above options (sans Turbo File) do in the game. The first screen explains Belongings, Levels and Status while the second screen explains Passwords.
The money the player collects can be used in various shops to purchase consumable items to increase their health and stats. Some of the consumable items can be carried on the player's inventory for latter use. Other shops allow players to purchase shoes which they can equip to increase their stats. Finally, players can purchase books at some shops that will teach their characters a variety of fighting techniques. Should Kunio and Riki be defeated and they don't have enough stamina or willpower, they will be sent to the nearest shopping district with half of their money (if two players are playing together and one dies, the other player will re-appear with half of their money once the player who is still alive enters another screen).
Kunio and Riki's fighting power can be increased by using consumable items to raise their stats. There are stats for punches and kicks, weapons, their speed and strength and their stamina. These stats can be permanently raised until they cap and this is required to even the odds against stronger gangs. All stats start at 15 by default and max out at 63 with the exception of Stamina and Max Power, which start at 63 and max out at 127.
- Punch: Determines how much damage is made with punch attacks.
- Kick: Determines the power of kick attacks.
- Weapon: How much damage the characters make when they swing their weapons.
- Throwing: Damage made with thrown weapons and enemies (along with damage to enemies that are thrown).
- Agility: Determines the character's movement speed and jump height. The higher this stat, the faster the character moves, runs and jumps.
- Defense: The character's ability to guard attacks. Blocking is performed by pressing any button when being attacked.
- Strength: This stat determines how long you can hold an enemy when you grab them from the ground and how easily you can break their guard.
- Will Power: Will Power is used to determine the likelihood of enemies knocking you down as well as how best the character gets up upon being knocked down. It is also used as an extra life of sort, if the character's stamina is fully decreased, Will Power is used up to get them up from the ground (regaining 20 Stamina). This requires that the Will Power be 35 or higher.
- Stamina: The character's current health. If the character is knocked out when this is empty, they will regain consciousness in the nearest shopping district (Hanazono High School if they have yet to reach one) with half of their money.
- Max Power: The maximum amount of a character's health. While other stats are normally increased by consuming items, this stat uses a formula to determine gains. The more stamina the character has along with how much stamina the food item increases determines Max Power gain (the item's stamina gain is divided by four and rounded down, subtracted by both the current Max Power and Stamina. This determines the Max Power increase, which is subtracted by one).
Controls & Moves
Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari plays exactly like Double Dragon. The A button is used to punch and the B button to kick. Characters jump when both buttons are pressed at the same time. Players can run by tapping either left or right on the directional pad twice line in Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun and players can jump and attack while running. The A button is used to pick up weapons and enemies from the ground and the B button is used to throw whatever the character is currently carrying. Enemies are stunned and become groggy when attacked multiple times. Characters can then hit them with an uppercut or high kick to knock them down.
The player is able to learn additional moves by purchasing books in some of the shops. Upon purchase, the books appear in the player's inventory and have to be equipped:
- Mach Punch (Stone Hands in the western versions): Riki's trademark move, three quick punches in rapid succession. Enemies are knocked down after being hit by the third punch and the character cannot perform an uppercut on a stunned enemy.
- Mack Kick (Dragon Feet in the western versions): Three kicks thrown rapidly. Has a longer reach than the Mach Punch and has the same properties as it.
- Mach Pounding (Grand Slam in the western versions): The same as the previous two attacks, but with an equipped weapon.
- Screw (Acro Circus in the western versions): This technique replaces running jumps with a somersault attack. The damage of this attack is depends on how high the Strength stat is. The attack can also bounce from walls. The only disadvantage of this attack is that the characters jumping height is lower than a normal jump.
- Stomp (Fatal Steps in the western versions) Pressing both attack buttons near a fallen opponent will have the character stomp them, making additional damage and delaying their recovery after being knocked down.
- Human Torpedo (Javelin Man in the western versions): This technique turns a thrown enemy into a spinning projectile, capable of hitting other enemies as it flies across the screen.
During the game, the player will find various weapons and objects in some areas. They can be used by the player and enemies:
- Rock: When used as a weapon it is stronger than a normal punch but has a short reach. When thrown, it flies in a straight line.
- Brass Knuckles: A similar weapon to the rock.
- Bokken: Has more range and makes more damage than the previously listed weapons. It also flies in a straight line.
- Lead Pipe: A stronger version of the bokken.
- Chain: A similar weapon to the bokken and lead pipe, but makes more damage and has a longer reach. Flies in a straight line.
- Tire: A strong weapon used with both hands, so the attack speed is slower. When thrown, the tire continues to roll across the screen and can damage enemies and other players. It is possible to kick a tire on the ground, which will make it roll across the screen.
- Crate: A similar weapon to the tire, it will bounce when thrown and slide across the screen if kicked.
- Trash Can: The trash can is identical to the crate and tire, but it doesn't bounce when thrown. It will slide if kicked.
Additionally, fallen enemies can be used as weapons. Characters can attack weapons thrown at them to stop them from hitting them.
During the game the player is able to traverse the game's open world as they wish. Some of the areas they can access are shopping districts where they can purchase items. Reihou Academy can only be accessed once the player defeats the Shitennō of Reihou and Gōda:
- Hanazono High School: The area the game starts in, Riki's High School. In the western version of the game, this area is known as Cross Town High.
- Hanazono Town: The area right next to the school and all areas ahead of it are known as Hanazono town. In the western version of the game this areas are known as Sticksville.
- Hanazono Shopping District: The area right next to the first section of Hanazono Town is its shopping district. No enemies attack the player here, instead female students from random schools appear. This female students are from either, Senridai High School, Sakajuku Commercial High School, Houryou High School, Tsukinohara Girls High School, Shihara Academy and Maizuka Girls High School. In the western versions of the game this area is named the Grotto Mall.
- Hanazono Town / Hanazono Park 3: The area past the shopping district, in the middle of the area is the entrance to the park, where Kinoshita awaits after Nishimura is defeated. The park is named Sherman Park in the western versions of the game.
- Hanazono Town: The final area of Hanazono Town. Sawaguchi can be found here. The area is under construction as can be seen by the huge gap, which works as a stage hazard.
- Sakuramachi Shopping District: The second shopping district of the game. In the western version of the game this is the Waterfront Mall.
- Shinba River / Hanazono Bridge: This is the area in which Kunio and Riki meet Hasebe and learn about Mami's kidnappers. It is possible to go below the bridge by going up from the starting area, where the player will find Kamijō and Yamamoto. In the western versions of the game this area is known as the Capitol Ave. Bridge.
- Midori Town: The area past the bridge leading to the Maruka Shipping Warehouse. This area is named Downtown in the western version of the game.
- Maruka Shipping Warehouse: The area ahead of the Midori Town. There is a stage hazard outside of the warehouse, a giant gap. Nishimura is inside the warehouse and when defeated, players have to backtrack and return to Hanazono Park 3. Past Nishimura is a small area of the warehouse. It is named W. S. L. Co. Warehouse in the western versions of the game.
- Maruka Shipping Building: The area past the warehouse. A secret shop can be found inside the building. Mochizuki awaits Kunio and Riki in the right area of the building. In the western versions of the game, the area is named the Armstrong Thru-Way.
- Midori Town: The area next to the shipping building, Taira can be found here. This area is also named Downtown in the western versions of the game.
- Midori Town Shopping District: This shopping district is split into two areas. The second area has a store that sells shoes, another one that sells toys and one that sells music CDs. It is renamed to Flatirons Mall in the western versions of the game.
- Midori Town: The final Midori Town area, right past its shopping district. From this point the strongest enemies begin to appear.
- Kobayashi Industrial Factory Site: An abandoned factory from a failed business. The factory has two rooms and Kobayashi, the son of the man who opened the factory, can be found in the final room if the other members of the Shitennō (Kinoshita, Mochizuki and Taira) have been defeated. The area past the factory leads the town close to the academy, Yumemi Town (it is also part of Midori Town). In the western versions of the game the area is known as the Vacant 3rd Wheel Factory, no references are made about Thor being connected to it.
- Hoshigaoka Shopping District: The final shopping district in the game, it also has two areas. It is named Oak Hill Mall in the western versions of the game.
- Yumemi Town: The area past the shopping district and before reaching the academy is split into two areas. The first area has the sauna and if Kamijō and Yamamoto were previously defeated at the Hanazono Bridge they will appear here. The second area leads to the academy and looks identical to the first Hanazono Town area. Both areas are named Burb Village in the western versions of the game.
- Reihou Academy: The game's final area. In order to gain access the player has to defeat Gōda, who will only appear after Kobayashi is defeated. Once inside, the player will be in the academy's gym, where they will face Onizuka. They can then go to up to three floors on the academy. Godai is found in the second floor and the Dragon Twins are found on the third floor. Once they are defeated, Kunio and Riki can find Mami in the classroom to the left of the door from which the Dragon Twins emerged. After she is rescued, Kunio and Riki can go to the school's roof by going through the door that the Dragon Twins came from, where they will find the mastermind behind the kidnapping. In the western versions of the game, the academy is renamed to River City High.
The game has a huge cast of characters. Each gang member is identified in the game, along with the playable characters, the bosses and the supporting characters. All characters are addressed by their surnames with the exception of Kunio, Riki, Mami, Ryūichi and Ryūji.
- Kunio: A third year student in Nekketsu High School. In this game and sub-series, Kunio is the only character who wears a white uniform while other students wear purple uniforms (there are some exceptions in later games and after the release of Nekketsu Kōha Kunio Kun Special this is not longer the case). Though often at odds with Riki, Kunio decides to assist him to rescue his girlfriend this time. In the western versions of the game, Kunio is renamed Alex.
- Riki: A third year student of Hanazono High School. At first he was not interested in the Dragon Twins, but they kidnapped his girlfriend. He accepts Kunio's offer to help after having been defeated by him previously. In the western versions of the game, Riki is renamed Ryan.
- Hasebe: A third year student of the Reihou Academy, where she acts as the Vice President of the Student Council. She used to be a fearsome sukeban. She was a classmate of Kunio during her middle school years and decides to assist him by telling him and Riki where Mami is being held and who her kidnappers are. She appears on the Hanazono Bridge near the Shinba River. In the western versions, she is named Roxy.
- Mami: A second year sstudent of Hanazono High School and Riki's girlfriend. She is kidnapped by the Dragon Twins and is held in one of the classrooms on Reihou Academy. Mami is renamed Cyndi in the western versions of the game.
Opposing High Schools
During the game, the player will be attacked by different high schools. In the Famicom and PC Engine version of the game they will be attacked by two enemies at a time, while in the X68000 version three enemies will attack at the same time. There are nine enemies in each gang. The gangs that appear in each area appear at random, though the farther the player gets from the game's starting area the stronger the gang will be. It is possible to arrive at an area and find no gang patrolling it.
- Senridai High School: A peaceful school that has never gotten involved in fights, until they learned that a student from Hanazono High School attacked their school. A couple of second year students created the "Senridai Bombers" to avenge the attacked students. As a result, they have a grudge with Riki. The leader is Sonokawa Kaoru. Their uniforms are light blue. They are short-tempered, but are also the weakest gang in the game. They drop 50 yen when defeated for a total of 450 yen for the whole gang. In the western versions, this gang is known as The Generic Dudes and they drop $.50 for a total of $4.50.
- Sakajuku Commercial High School: The school has no leader and is instead under Nishimura's control. If they get hold of a weapon they become aggressive but tend to be cowardly and run away if they don't have one. Their uniforms are pink. They drop 60 yen for a total of 540 yen in total. In the western versions, this gang is known as The Frat Guys and they drop $.55 for a total of $4.95 when each member is defeated.
- Numaoka Industrial High School: This school is led by Yusuke Fujiwara (who doesn't appear in any version of the game) a close friend of Mochizuki, one of the Shitennō of Reihou Academy. The school obeys Mochizuki out of sheer admiration rather than fear. They have high defense and are persistent and their uniforms are yellow green. When defeated, they drop 70 yen for a total of 630 for each member. In the western versions, this gang is known as The Jocks and they drop $.60 for a total of $5.40.
- Hoshikusa Agricultural High School: The only agricultural high school in the game, it is led by Tomoharu Enokida (who like Yusuke, doesn't appear in any version of the game). This school prefers fighting with their bare hands and have powerful punches. They prefer close quarters fighting and do not run towards opponents, preferring to walk towards them. The school was once saved by Godai of Tanibana High School and as a result the school is indebted to him, and Enokida lost his position as boss. Their uniform is yellow and they drop 90 yen when defeated for a total of 810. In the western versions, this gang is known as The Home Boys and the drop $.75 for a total of $6.75.
- Hakutaka Industrial High School: This school is led by Naritaka Nishimura. The school is under the control of Kinoshita, one the Shitennō of Reihou Academy. He took control of the school by intimidating Nishimura. The school uses tires as weapons most of the time. Their uniform is dark grey. They drop 100 yen for a total of 900 each. In the western versions, this gang is known as The Mob and they drop $.90 for a total of $8.10.
- Matagawa Industrial High School: This gang is led by Shinozuka Junjiro (who doesn't appear in any version of the game) and they are followers of the Reihou Academy. They attack with running kicks and throwing items and are one of the most aggressive gangs. The pretend that they are not involved with Reihou and do not accept the bad reputation that they are known for. Their uniforms are brown and they drop 110 yen when defeated for a total of 990 yen each. In the western versions, this gang is known as The Squids and they drop $1.00 for a total of $9.00 each.
- Horyou High School: This school is led by Goda Tsuyoshi, though the school only follows him out of the sheer admiration they have for him. They are completely unaware that the only reason he is involved is because his sister, Saori, was also kidnapped by the Dragon Twins. the school is under the control of Kobayashi, who leads the Shitennō of Reihou. They don't like using weapons, but they have high punch power and defense. Their color is dark green and they drop 120 yen for a total of 1080 yen for each member. In the western versions, this gang is known as The Internationals and they drop $1.50 for a total of $10.50 for each member.
- Tanibana High School: Godai Susumi is the leader of this school, who are aggressive when they are armed with a weapon. Like him, they prefer using a bokken. They don't have a lot of Will Power or kicking power. Their uniform color is dark blue. They drop 130 yen for a total of 1170 for each member. In the western versions, this gang is known as the The Cowboys and they drop $1.20 for a total of $10.80.
- Reihou Academy: Originally an advanced school, it changed after the arrival of the Dragon Twins. They are the strongest enemy gang in the game. Their uniforms are red and they drop 140 yen when defeated, for a total of 1260 for each. In the western versions, this gang is known as the The Plague and they drop $1.25 for a total of $11.25.
In some areas of the game, the player has to defeat only four enemies on each gang. Once the final money is collected, a boss will appear in the area. Some areas will already have a boss ready to fight. Some bosses will only show up after other bosses are defeated.
- Sawaguchi: A follower of Nishimura and a second year student from Hakutaka High School. He is a tough opponent but not intimidating enough. In the Famicom version of the game fighting Sawaguchi is completely optional. He is found in the final part of Hanazono Town before entering the Sakuramachi Shopping District. He drops 220 yen when defeated. In the western version of the game he is named Moose and drops $2.25.
- Kamijō and Yamamoto: Two students of Kagemura Academy, who want to defeat Kunio and Riki to gain fame. Like Sawaguchi, it is optional to fight them. Kamijō is equipped with a brass knuckle while Yamamoto uses a bokken. They are first fought below the Hanazono Bridge near Shinba River and if they are defeated, they will attempt a rematch in front of the Yumemi Town sauna, but their stats are unchanged. In the Famicom version when they are defeated, their names are reversed. Their uniform is purple and they drop 240 yen each when defeated. Kamijō is renamed Benny in the western versions of the game while Yamamoto is renamed Clyde. Both drop $3.50.
- Nishimura: The banchō of Hakutaka High School. Due to his big frame he is slow, but has high stamina. He wears glasses as well. He is a third year student and is the game's first boss (i. e., not optional like the previous two), found in the Maruka Shipping Warehouse. Upon being defeated, he reveals the location of Kinoshita. He drops 300 yen when defeated. In the western versions of the game he is named Rocko and drops $2.00.
- Kinoshita: One of the Reihou Shitennō, he waits for Kunio and Riki in Hanazono Park 3 after Nishimura is defeated. He has both a ferocious face and personality and completely dominates Hakutaka High School. He is armed with a chain. When defeated he tells Kunio and Riki that in order to gain access to the academy, they must first defeat their leader, Kobayashi. He drops 340 yen when defeated. In the western version he is named Blade and drops $3.50.
- Mochizuki: The second member of the Reihou Shitennō, who is known for his speed. He is found in the final area of the Maruka Transport and Waste Building. He also drops 340 yen when defeated. In the western version of the game he is named Turk and drops $2.50.
- Taira: Another member of the Reihou Shitennō. He is a cunning and aggressive fighter who prefers using weapons. He is fought in the first area of Midori Town, the area that appears next to the one in which Mochizuki was defeated. He drops the same amount of money as the other members of his posse. In the western versions of the game he is named Mojo and drops the same amount of money as Turk.
- Kobayashi: The head of the Reihou Shitennō, a third year student from a high social standing, which was lost when his father's business failed. He speaks politely but his mind is twisted. He can be found in the final room of his father's failed business venture: Kobayashi Industries. He is armed with a brass knuckle. When defeated, he tells Kunio and Riki that Gouda awaits them at the academy gates. He drops 360 yen when defeated. He is renamed Thor in the western version of the game and drops $3.75.
- Gōda: A gentle third year student of Houryou High School who believes in justice. Due to the sheer admiration that other students at the school have for him, they follow him as a leader. He awaits Kunio and Riki at the academy gates, but only does so because the Dragon Twins are holding his sister hostage. He is a tough opponent with high defense, stamina and will power and also has a powerful headbutt. He drops 880 yen when defeated but if Kunio and Riki have too much money, he will drop 720 yen instead. He is renamed Ivan in the western versions of the game and drops $8.75.
- Onizuka: Onizuka was the previous Student Council President of Reihou Academy, but now leads the Shitennō. Though he has the face of an ogre, he has serious and kind personality that is admired by other students. He is found in the academy's gym and drops 400 yen when defeated. He is named Otis in the western versions of the game and drops $4.00.
- Godai: The leader of Tanibana High School, a bright and cheerful third year student but dangerous when angry. Although a lone wolf, he admires Gōda and considers him a friend. He is found in the second floor of the academy but like Sawaguchi, Kamijō and Yamamoto he is an optional boss and fighting him is not required. He is a master of bōjutsu and is equipped with a bokken, which he uses to perform a deadly technique: the Bōjutsu Special. He drops 920 yen when defeated but if the player has too much money, he will drop 680 yen. He is named Tex in the western versions of the game and drops $9.50.
- Ryūichi and Ryūji: The Dragon Twins, who transferred from Hattori High School. Upon joining the academy, the begin ruling it and other schools with an iron fist using never before seen fighting techniques. Together they are the toughest enemies and bosses in the game, especially in single player. They can perform the Dragon Tail Kick, the whirlwind kick first introduced in the arcade version of Double Dragon II: The Revenge. They are evil pastiches of the Double Dragon brothers and have the face the Lee brothers had in the NES version of Double Dragon (the title screen theme from the game plays when they are fought). They drop 1920 yen each when defeated, but 320 yen each if the player has too much money. In the western versions of the game Ryūichi is renamed Randy and Ryūji is renamed Andy, they drop $18.00 each.
- Yamada: The Student Council President of the academy. During middle school, he was a close friend of both Kunio and Hasebe, the latter who is his girlfriend. However, Hasebe had and still has feelings for Kunio. In order to become better than Kunio, Yamada orchestrated the takeover of the academy and the other schools. His sole reason for antagonizing Riki and kidnapping Mami is that he has a cute girlfriend, something he doesn't like and he wished he had. Though his stats are higher than the Dragon Twins, he is not stronger than them (at least in the Famicom version of the game). He is named Slick in the western versions of the game, though that is merely a nickname. His real name turns out to be Simon, Roxy is still his girlfriend and Alex was his childhood friend.
The game was released in North America as River City Ransom on 1990 in January by American Technōs, Inc. (one of the two Kunio-kun games they published, the other one being Crash 'n the Boys: Street Challenge). This version of the game made graphical alterations to the game, such as having each character wear a t-shirt and jeans instead of the gakuran (the Japanese school uniform). Because of this change, Riki (now Ryan) has white jeans to go with his blue shirt, while the rest of the characters have blue jeans.
The plot is changed slightly, the antagonist (Slick) sends a ransom letter to both Alex and Ryan, mentioning how he has control of the city with his gang of students and evil bosses and kidnapped Ryan's girlfriend. The letter also asks for some demands to be met, yet none are listed. Characters, areas and shops also had their names changed. The game's music was not altered in any way.
This version of the game was released in PAL regions on 1991 by Infogrames Entertainment, named Street Gangs.
The Technōs Japan screen in Street Gangs is different from the original and River City Ransom. In the Japanese version, the game has two different two player modes: A, which enables friendly-fire, and B which doesn't have it. The Western versions have a single 2 player mode which is the one that enables friendly-fire by default. The Japanese version has three difficulty levels: Easy, Normal and Difficult. The Western version only have two difficulty settings: Novice and Advanced. Novice is the Normal difficulty from the Japanese version and Advanced is the Difficult setting.
The plot of the Japanese version shows a conversation between Kunio and Riki and some narration. In the Western versions this conversation is replaced with a ransom letter written by Slick (which is found by Ryan) which mentions his gang of evil bosses and Cindy's kidnapping. The letter makes no demands, but warns Alex not to get involved. The title screen is also changed.
In Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari, the game takes place in Japan and the playable characters, enemies and bosses are high school students, so they wear gakuran (Japanese school uniforms). These school uniforms only had one color palette (Kunio's gakuranis white and Riki's blue). In the Western versions the sprites were altered, replacing the school uniforms with t-shirts and jeans. All characters retained the color of their uniforms from the Japanese version in their shirts, while their jeans are colored blue. Because Ryan's shirt is blue, he was given white jeans. The sprites of the female characters were unaltered. The Western versions also added a new sprite in the shopping district, a kid that walks around the shopping area along with the girls. Additionally, areas of the game were altered to remove all Japanese characters.
|Mach Punch||Stone Hands|
|Mach Kick||Dragon Feet|
|Mach Strike||Grand Slam|
|Human Torpedo||Javelin Man|
In the Japanese version, the many shops in the game have generic names such as coffee shop, bakery, book store, drug store, etc. The Western versions gave each of the stores their own unique names. Additionally, all items and techniques were renamed. For techniques, the names from Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari are on the left, while the ones used in River City Ransom and Street Gangs are found on the right.
All characters were renamed in the Western versions of the game. The enemy gangs each represented a high school in the Japanese version, but the Western versions names each gang after a different theme, such as the Frat Guys and the Home Boys. Hanazono High School was changed to Cross Town High, while Reihou Academy is changed River City High.
|Reihou Shitennō / The Zombies|
|Moose||Benny||Clyde||Rocko||Ivan||Otis||Tex||Randy||Andy||Slick / Simon|
|Senridai High School / The Generic Dudes|
|Sakajuku Commercial High School / The Frat Guys|
|Numaoka Industrial High School / The Jocks|
|Hoshikusa Agricultural High School / The Home Boys|
|Hakutaka Industrial High School / The Mob|
|Matagawa Industrial High School / The Squids|
|Horyou High School / The Internationals|
|Tanibana High School / The Cowboys|
|Reihou Academy / The Plague|
The passwords in the Japanese version were written in the style of haiku (a very short form of Japanese poetry). The first line used five (5) characters, the second line used seven (7) and the final third line used five characters. The passwords in this version saved the player's money and their stats only (except for their maximum amount of stamina). Everything else except defeated bosses was saved with the Turbo File. In the Western versions, the passwords still use three lines but they are longer, with eleven (11) characters for each line. The passwords in these versions of the game save the player's stats, their money, what they have in their inventory and the bosses they have defeated.
Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari was ported to the Sharp X68000, a Japanese computer platform, and released in April 1990. This version of the game, which was developed by SPS and published by Sharp, features several enhancements to the Famicom original, such as displaying three enemy characters on-screen instead of just two, slightly more colorful graphics, an expanded game world, and new items and special techniques for the player (including some that were only used by certain enemy characters in the Famicom version, such as the headbutt and the whirlwind kick). The new locations includes several new shops (such as a dojo) and the schools of each enemy gang, each featuring two new bosses. In addition to the player's regular stats, the player also has individual stats for all the special techniques their character has acquired. The more frequently a special move is used to finish off enemies, the stronger that particular move becomes. Unlike the Famicom version, the X68000 does not feature adjustable difficulty settings. The player can save and load their progress in one of ten save files provided by the game itself.
PC Engine CD
The PC Engine Super CD-ROM² version of Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari, released on December 24, 1993, was published by Naxat Soft and developed by KID, the same team that did the PC Engine versions of Nekketsu Kōkō Dodgeball (Super Dodge Ball), Double Dragon II: The Revenge, and Downtown Nekketsu Kōshinkyoku. This version features enhanced graphics, an arranged redbook soundtrack and fully voiced characters, with the voices of Kunio and Riki performed by Ryō Horikawa and Nobutoshi Canna respectively. The player's progress is saved in this version on the PC Engine's backup memory. The rest of the game is almost identical to the Famicom version.
The Famicom version of the game was released for the Wii Virtual Console on October 23, 2007 by Arc System Works in Japan. Arc System Works also released Street Gangs in Australia and Europe for the Wii Virtual Console on February 21, 2008. Aksys Games released River City Ransom on the Wii Virtual Console on April 21, 2008. The Japanese version of the game was released in South Korea on May 26, 2008 by Windysoft.
These versions of the game were then released on the 3DS Virtual Console. The Japanese version was released on November 28, 2012, the PAL version was released in Australia and Europe on July 25, 2013 and the North American version was released on November 14, 2013.
Finally, the games were released on the WiiU Virtual Console as well. The PAL version was released first in Australia and Europe on April 23, 2015. The Japanese version was released next on August 5, 2015 and finally the North American version was released on October 1, 2015. The PAL and Japanese releases were handled by Arc System Works while the North American releases were done by Aksys Games.
The Famicom version is also featured in the Nintendo 3DS compilation Kunio-kun Nekketsu Complete: Famicom Hen, released on December 8, 2016 only in Japan. It will also be made available in another compilation: Kunio-kun: The World Classics Collection, which will be released on Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Microsoft Windows (via Steam). This compilation will also include River City Ransom and will be released in Japan in 2018.
Remakes and Sequels
Downtown Nekketsu Kōshinkyoku: Soreyuke Daiundōkai is the game's direct sequel canon wise. Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari was the beginning of the Downtown Nekketsu sub-series (Though Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun is part of this game's storyline, it is not considered a part of these sub-series). Bikkuri Nekketsu Shin Kiroku! Harukanaru Kin Medal and Downtown Nekketsu Baseball Monogatari: Yakyū de Shōbu da! Kunio-kun are also part of the canon of this sub-series (Kunio-kun no Dodgeball da yo Zen'in Shūgō is part of this sub-series as well, but doesn't have a plot). The game's systems and "play it your way" ideas where expanded further in a sequel: Downtown Special: Kunio-kun no Jidaigeki da yo Zen'in Shūgō!. This game is also part of the Downtown Nekketsu sub-series.
In 2002, Armen Casarjian (a QA tester for Atari at the time) applied for the expired trademark for River City Ransom, which was accepted in the following six months. Though this didn't give him the rights to the game's assets, he had the right to use the game's name, so he created a development company, Realize Games, to create a sequel to the original game. While the game was in development, Casarjian attended E3 in 2003 and learned that Atlus was going to release Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari EX in North America as River City Ransom EX. Out of respect for Million Co., Ltd., which was made of former staff from Technōs Japan, Casarjian and Realize Games cancelled their sequel.
- Main article: Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari EX
The Game Boy Advance version of the game, titled Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari EX in Japan and River City Ransom EX in America, was released in 2004. This remake was developed by Million Co., Ltd and published by Atlus. The most notable change from the original version (for example, cooperative mode was removed, etc.).
A sequel to the original game was announced in March 18, 2011, called Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari 2 (ダウンタウン熱血物語2). It was being developed by Miracle Kidz for a Japanese release on WiiWare in 2011. The game would also be released as an online PC game in 2012. Though planned for release in 2012, the game was put on hold indefinitely (and likely cancelled) that same year .
- Main article: River City: Rival Showdown
A second remake was released in 2016 for the Nintendo 3DS. Titled Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari SP (ダウンタウン熱血物語SP "Tale of Downtown Nekketsu Special"), it was localized in North America and Europe in 2017 as River City: Rival Showdown. It tells the same story from the original game from Kunio's point of view in a span of three days.
- Main article: River City Ransom: Underground
In April 2013, Conatus Creative Inc. acquired the license to make a sequel for River City Ransom from Million Co., Ltd. This official sequel, River City Ransom: Underground, was funded successfully through Kickstarter on September 2013, with 5,179 backers pledging CA$ 217,643. Development had then started and in 2015, Arc System Works purchased the rights to all of the Technōs Japan Corp. intellectual properties (including River City Ransom). Regardless, the first development preview of the game was released in December 2015 and the game went gold in August 2016. A beta was released to all backers on January 2017 and the game was finally released in the following month.
Codes & Secrets
Players can find an Easter egg in the localized versions of the game by accessing the Status screen. With the second controller, the player holds Left and presses Select and Right at the same time on player one's controller. The above screens will show up in the respective game while the Double Dragon theme (the same one used when fighting Randy and Andy) will play. Pressing either the A or B buttons will return the player to the game.
The graphics for the mugshots of Kunio and Riki and the Japanese characters with their names were overwritten with the title screen graphics of Street Gangs, which explains why the graphics are not shown properly.
- The first member of Sakajuku Commercial High School is named Sekimoto. Likewise, the final member of Houryou High School is named Yoshida. These are the game's directors, who formed the company Miracle Kidz together. In Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari EX they have their own faces. Additionally, the final enemy of Reihou High School is named Kishimoto (likely after the creator of the original Nekketsu Kōha Kunio-kun and the game's producer).
- Some of the names used by the normal enemies in the Japanese version are used in River City Super Sports Challenge ~All Stars Special~ and its sequel River City Melee: Battle Royal Special for some of the characters. Most of these characters retain the same faces as in this game, while others have completely new faces. Schools from this game that do not appear in these games have some of the names used in other schools (Matagawa Industrial High School names for example, are used for Kagemura Academy characters).
- Some of the names used by The Internationals in River City Ransom/Street Gangs are from the NES version of Super Dodge Ball.
- Instruction manual at Nintendo (Japanese)
- Wiki (Japanese)
- Kunio Dojo (Japanese)
- The Cutting Room Floor
- River City Ransom Password Generator
- ↑ Small comments by the designers of the Famicom Kunio-kun games
- ↑ Lost Levels Feature: Realize Games' River City Ransom 2
- ↑ New River City Ransom in Development (IGN)
- ↑ River City Ransom 2 On Hold Indefinitely (Nintendo Life)
- ↑ River City Ransom: Underground by Conatus Creative — Kickstarter