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River City Ransom takes place in a largely free-roam environment. You can revisit old areas or explore harder areas in virtually any order. While you can run past enemies you meet along the way the path to success is to beat these bullies up and grab the cash they drop, then using it to buy food and other items to increase your power until you can finally stand a chance against the final boss. To this end, repetition brings rewards, but you need to keep a good balance between your health and your cash—it's better to have a full health bar and an empty wallet rather than $40.00 and only a few slivers of health. Once you start earning some money and boost your stats a little it will become gradually easier to earn cash more quickly and with less danger.

Basic controls[edit]

See Moves for further information.

Button(s) Function
A button Punch, block, swing weapon
B button Kick, block, throw weapon
A button+B button Jump
Neutral dpad Move, navigate menus
Start button Pause, access menus
Select button Change settings (before beginning, switch between Money and Stamina displays (during play)


Like an RPG, both players and enemies have a variety of attributes that determine their abilities.

To view the statistics screen, hit Start button, point to Status and hit B button.

stat start max description
Punch 15 63 Base punch damage.
Kick 15 63 Base kick damage. Once you have the cash, some shoes can help boost this stat.
Weapon 15 63 Base weapon damage. The weapons themselves add damage onto this number.
Throwing 15 63 The damage done by thrown weapons, and damage done to thrown enemies.
Agility 15 63 Your movement speed and jumping height. Once you have the cash, some shoes can help boost this stat.
Defense 15 63 Your ability to block.
Strength 15 63 Your ability to grab an enemy or to break their blocks. Once you have the cash, some shoes can help boost this stat.
Will Power 15 63 Your likelihood of being knocked down, and the likelihood of getting up after being knocked down while having no Stamina left. If your Will Power is too low losing all your Stamina will result in you waking up in the nearest mall with half your money gone. If your Will Power is 35 or above you will regain consciousness after a few seconds with 20 Stamina regained and no money lost.
Stamina 63 127 Your current health.
Max Power 63 127 Your maximum amount of health. Boosting this stat works a little differently in that the healthier you are and the more stamina boosting the food item, the more Max Power you gain. The formula is (Item's Stamina/4 rounded down) - (Current Max Power - Current Stamina) = Maximum Power Increase (Minimum 1).