River City Ransom

River City Ransom Gameplay

River City Ransom was released in 1989 by Technos of Japan for the NES. It’s a beat em up style game that combines RPG elements. These two genres make a good mix and River City Ransom has some excellent gameplay as well.

You play as Alex and Ryan. The story goes that Ryan’s girlfriend has been kidnapped by an evil dude named Slick. As you are on your way trying to rescue Ryan’s girlfriend, you are confronted by 9 different gangs depending where you are in the city. They all want to kill you for being on their turf. It’s up to you to show them who’s boss.

The fighting gameplay is like Double Dragon where you can pickup weapons that are dropped from defeated enemies. You can perform kicks, punches, and jump kicks. River City Ransom has two player simultaneous co-op which really makes the game a lot more fun. Teaming up to take on the gangs with a friend is a great time.

Enemies will drop coins after you defeat them which you can use in the vast amount of shops in the city. You can buy all different kinds of items and food to make Alex and Ryan stronger. The graphics and music are well done and the gameplay is challenging but not too hard. One memorable thing about River City Ransom is that after you defeat an enemy they have a phrase that they say. Barf seems to be a very popular one! =)

The NES cartridge is not terribly rare but it does fetch a bit more than most carts of it’s era. It’s usually around $20.00.

River City Ransom Title Screen
River City Ransom Title Screen
River City Ransom Gameplay
River City Ransom Gameplay
River City Ransom Gameplay 2
River City Ransom Gameplay 2
River City Ransom Stores
River City Ransom Stores
River City Ransom Shop
River City Ransom Shop

Final Fantasy

Final Fantasy Town

Final Fantasy was released in 1990 by Square for the NES. It was the first of many epic games that Square would produce in the Final Fantasy series.

This game was responsible for teaching many gamers what a role playing game or RPG was. The story was huge and had you exploring dungeons, sailing ships, flying airships and more.

It’s about a team of four light warriors who set out on a quest to destroy evil and bring peace to the land.
You must defeat the bosses of the different elements earth, fire, water, and wind. There are a vast amount of items to collect. You can customize your characters weapons, armor and purchase different spells for certain characters.

The cool thing is you can choose your own characters to make your team. You can choose from a Fighter, Thief, Black Belt, Red Mage, Black Mage, and a White Mage. Later on in the game your characters will grow up and you will realize the full potential of their skills.

The graphics and music are classic 8 bit at it’s best. The music has been remixed multiple times and is regarded as instantly recognizable and timeless.

Final Fantasy Title Screen
Final Fantasy Title Screen
Final Fantasy Character Select Screen
Final Fantasy Character Select Screen

Final Fantasy Gameplay
Final Fantasy Gameplay

Final Fantasy Battle
Final Fantasy Battle

Final Fantasy Town
Final Fantasy Town
Final Fantasy Weapon Shop
Final Fantasy Weapon Shop
Final Fantasy Magic
Final Fantasy Magic

Final Fantasy 2

Final Fantasy 2 SNES Box Front

Final Fantasy 2 was released in 1991 by Square for the Super Nintendo. It was one of the best RPG’s on a system (the Super Nintendo) that would later be known and remembered for quality RPG’s.

Developer Square turned a lot of gamers into RPG fans after playing this game. FF2 introduced numerous playable characters and an enormous story filled with twists and turns.

The story has twelve playable characters in all. The main hero of the story is Cecil, the Dark Knight of Baron. The story revolves around Cecil, his good friend Kain and his girlfriend Rosa. In all there is thirty to forty hours of story. The main antagonist is Golbez and it’s your quest to destroy him.

This game is actually the fourth in the series but it was only the second game that gamers got in the United States. The general consensus with game publishers at the time was that role playing games weren’t very popular with western audiences. Couple that with the fact that translating Japanese RPGs to English was a long and expensive process which was enough to scare many publishers away for such a task. It was just too much risk with what was perceived as little reward.

Even if you’re not an RPG fan this game is worth a try. The graphics aren’t anything to write home about but that’s not to say that they aren’t bad. Graphics aren’t usually that important with most RPG’s as the emphasis is normally a deep rich story and an character progression. The music is top notch. The theme song to this game is truly epic. Each character has their own theme music that helps immerse the player in the game and connect with each personality.

This game will always be one of my top 3 RPG’s of all time. It’s collectable but not priced out of the budget of the average retro gamer.

Phantasy Star 2

Phantasy Star 2 Sega Genesis Box

2. Phantasy Star 2


Phantasy Star 2 Gameplay Video

Phantasy Star 2 was the Genesis’ Final Fantasy. If you liked RPGs back in the day and had a Genesis chances are you played Phantasy Star 2. It was the sequel to the classic released for the Sega Master System in 1987. Phantasy Star was known for having great graphics and it was one of the first story driven games released in the US. The second game is twice as long as the first one. It takes place 1,000 years after the first one.