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The spirit of River City Ransom lives on in Treachery in Beatdown City

Treachery in Beatdown City, a game newly launched on Kickstarter, reminds me immediately of that classic Nintendo game, River City Ransom. Cut from the mold of proto-brawlers like Double Dragon and inspired by the gangland zaniness of 1980s cult film classic The Warriors, Technos Japan’s 1989 release fused 2D brawling with RPG elements and a completely-ahead-of-its-time open world. You roamed the streets of River City, beating the snot out of gangs and collecting their precious coins that you could then spend in town on wearable buffs, stat upgrades, and healing items. You eventually headed to River City High to rescue your girlfriend, but not before you took on armies of colorful gangbangers.

Treachery in Beatdown City resurrects the spirit of River City Ransom by embracing the gameplay mechanics (and a few other concepts) of turn-based RPG combat. You explore the open city from a top-down perspective, seeking out hidden goodies and bosses as you contend with random encounters. Fights switch to a more familiar 2D perspective, as 8-bit characters square off against one another in arenas that you can navigate freely. You’re able to break crates and whatnot for pickups, and deliver some light attacks, but the heart of the combat system is a meter-dictated COMBO menu that lets you string unlocked moves together.

I’m excited to see how creators Shawn Allen, Manny Marcano, and Diana Santiago bring this together, as it’s a cool idea that taps into the DNA of a treasured NES classic. They’re currently working on bringing an “Episode 1” release to PlayStation Mobile, and they’re also targeting PC/Mac for the full campaign, which the Kickstarter page says should be ready by early 2015. Take a peek and throw down some dollars for a pre-order if you like what you see.

Ed. note: Full disclosure: The author of this article is friends with one of the creators of this Kickstarter campaign. We try not to use Digital Trends as a platform to help our friends pimp their stuff, but this is a happy case where a buddy’s project also happens to be a really cool thing that we think you’d be into.

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