People who get through River City Girls might find themselves facing quite a surprise. When Kyoko and Misako finally finish their quest and defeat Saboku, the daughter of the Sanwakai yakuza boss Sabu, things might not go as people would expect. While this could be a bit of a shock, it’s actually playing with expectations, the series’ odd continuity, and acting as a callback. Should people take the time to find and destroy every Sabu statue, things get even more enlightening.
Editor’s Note: River City Girls Spoilers will appear below.
Hasebe and Mami’s appearance as Misako and Kyoko break out of detention at the outset of River City Girls might be seen as a smart reference. “Hey! The women who were Kunio and Riki’s girlfriends in some other games are here, taunting their current girlfriends and claiming they’re involved with Kunio and Riki.” People who played River City Ransom might even recognize them as Roxy and Mami. However, in the final cutscene, both Kunio and Riki are shown as having been at the spa all day, say they don’t recognize Misako and Kyoko, and wonder about what Hasebe and Mami are up to.
If people break every Sabu statue to get the Mami earring and have beaten the game once and fought Sabuko for the Hasabe earring, then equip both, it isn’t Sabuko who is waiting to fight River City Girls’ heroines at the end. Instead, a boss fight against both Hasebe and Mami ensues. Misako and Kyoko express their shock and say it doesn’t make sense for the other two girls to appear. Hasebe and Mami taunt them, and a fight begins. It’s a rather difficult one, with the duo teaming up for some attacks. Also, once you get them down to the final third of their health bar, one will be knocked out ahead of the other. The soul of the defeated girl will careen around the screen and the survivor will be enraged and powered up, with an additional life bar segment added. The soul will send projectiles at the players, and the survivor will be invincible unless you first attack the soul to send it careening before pulling off a combo. (It can be very difficult to accurately judge the right position of the soul when attacking it.)
Once you “win” against Hasebe and Mami, you receive an official explanation. The two note that Kunio and Riki barely remember Misako and Kyoko, and it’s because the duo only dated those girls in one game: Shin Nekketsu Kouha: Kunio-tachi no Banka for the Super Famicom. In that installment, the two are playable characters and considered their girlfriends who help clear their names. Kyoko only appeared in four games total, with two being the competitive, sports-related ones. Misako, meanwhile, showed up in plenty of other games, but they tended to be titles like Super Dodge Ball and River City Super Sports Challenge: All Stars Special. While Hasebe doesn’t have as much of a history as an official girlfriend, multiple games note that she is Kunio’s childhood friend. Mami, on the other hand, repeatedly comes up as Riki’s love interest.
Given the playful and tongue-in-cheek nature of River City Girls, it only makes sense for its ending and secret boss fight to highlight the series’ history and play with expectations. Its lore gets a little convoluted, with people perhaps not really sure which stories to take as the absolute truth. Playing around with that is a neat tribute and leads to a great and challenging boss fight.
River City Girls is available for the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC.