Review by Ari Rockefeller

"Snobby preppies and the have-nots who kick the tar out of them!"

Technos-Japan made a name for itself with an oh-so-memorable game titled River City Ransom. After the aforementioned title’s success, they struck again with very interesting gem. Die-hard RCR fans will immediately recognize the sprites used here, with tweaked designs and new animations that bring the characters to life in a new way.

Graphics (9/10)
As I said, the new and improved characters from RCR have a lot more emotion and expression than before (as opposed to the typical “BARF!”)…though the two characters with the overly huge eyes still bother me. The events are very nicely designed as well; the vibrant colors and detailed backgrounds really add to the feel of the game.

Heh, the more I played it, the more I realized where Tokumei got some of his sprites for his River City High web-comic.

Game Play (9/10)
Crash Cooney (Alex from RCR) and his boys from Southside have swept the All-City Track Meet competition for the umpteenth time in a row, once again humiliating the rich, preppy, snobbish “Hillers”. Humbled and desperate, Todd Thornley III has vowed revenge on Crash by assembling a team of über-athletes from his daddy’s company’s payroll, sweet-talks the other Hiller schools of Jefferson and Lincoln to aide him, and takes the challenge to Crash’s home turf—the streets of Southside. It’s not about medals or championships this time; it’s a matter of PRIDE.

There are five teams involved in the Street Challenge, and you have your pick of four of them—Southside, Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln. The fifth is the “dream team” put together by Thornley and is led by Rocky and Crush (who is better known in his role as Ryan from River City Ransom). Five events are involved, and simply put, whoever walks away with the most medals wins.

The five events are the predecessors to extreme sports. The events are fiercely competitive, so don’t be surprised if your opponent does something pretty nasty. There’s the 400M Hurdles, a nice race in which you can use oil slicks, beds of thumbtacks and even broken hurdles to waylay your opponent into submission. The classic hammer throw has been mutated into Hammer Golf, which simply replaces the golf ball and clubs with the hammer (FYI: a 12 lb. iron ball on the end of a long chain). Swimming gets personal, as the goal is not how fast you make it to the finish line, but how fast you can beat your opponent and leave him floating in the canal like a New Jersey mafia hit. Rooftop Jumping makes you cross a long span of buildings using a combination of the pole vault and riding a unicycle on telephone wires. The last event is the Fighting Scene, which is very personal: just you and an opponent, anything goes, last man standing wins.

You earn medals not only by good standings in the events, but in the events themselves. Every event has opportunities for you to snag an additional medal, be it through breaking a hurdle, an air speed record with a hammer, or your opponent’s face upon the pavement. Before each round, you have the opportunity to spend your medals on a variety of items, which do everything from replenish HP to amplifying your stats. Each event has its own special little toys that are lifesavers in some situations. You have to budget your medals, though; they are your standings and your currency. It’ll look really bad if you spend all your medals on cheat devices and still lose.

Sound (7/10)
The background music fit the individual scenarios pretty decently, but if you’re looking for something really memorable, you won’t find it here (save for the shopping music). The sound effects mostly consist of thwacks, cracks and smacks of a variety of objects being slung around by the players. It’s pretty average stuff.

Control (7/10)
Button-mashers, this is the oldskool game for you. There’s a lot of mashing to be done in this game, a little too much for my tastes, really. I mean, in the 400M Hurdles and Rooftop Jumping, for one, you have to keep tapping forward on the control pad to stay up. I’m not down with that. Speaking of Rooftop Jumping, unless you buy the special ability in the store, you CAN’T go back…say, to pick up a pole or a unicycle to cross a really large gap, for example. You may not like it either, but it doesn’t take that long to get used to.

Replay Value (9/10)
Needless to say, Crash-n-the-Boys is a hell of a good game. It’s a lot of fun, too, but to really take advantage of its potential, you have to have a friend playing this as well. Hey, if you can snag a copy of this AND an NES Four Score, it’s gonna be BRUTAL. Have fun.

Ari gives Crash-n-the-Boys Street Challenge a 9 out of 10.

“Me and my boys will take you on…anytime…any place…”

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 04/20/03, Updated 04/20/03

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