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Volume 70, Issue 113, Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Life & Arts

Take shot at gang violence in 'Ransom'

My 8 Bits

Jason Poland

How bad were gangs at your high school? Ever get into a tussle at the water fountain with that kid who picked his teeth with a switchblade? As I recall, a gang of thugs once captured my girlfriend, and I had to spend the rest of the afternoon punching and kicking my way through rival turf until I met up with the gang's leader for a showdown on the roof of my high school. I grabbed a nearby lead pipe and repeatedly beat him over the head until he collapsed and his body disappeared. No, wait, I think that happened in River City Ransom. 

Even if your only brush with gangs in high school was the time you rubber-knifed a Shark in your senior class production of West Side Story, you can still help end gang violence in our schools by clobbering some ruffians in River City Ransom. If dress codes and after-school programs can't keep gangs out of schools, maybe your enormous fists can.

Class is now in session at River City High, are all gangs present for roll call? Jocks, Cowboys, Frat Guys, Generic Dudes, Home Boys, Squids, Internationals and even the Mob are all vying for total turf control, but they've agreed to put their differences aside to collectively kick your face in. My advice to you: Don't let ‘em. 

You play the role of Ryan, whose giant fists are like two hams of fury. With these meaty mitts he must save his girlfriend from Slick and his gang of honor roll students. A second player can step in as Alex, but his girlfriend apparently wasn't cute enough to be kidnapped. If your gallon-sized fists fail you, at your disposal are the brass knuckles, baseball bats, lead pipes and chain whips you'll just happen to find lying around on the sidewalk. Maybe littering and gang violence do have a correlation. 

Arm yourself, and keep an eye peeled for Doug and Ernie from the Home Boys. Despite their Poindexter names, they'd slit your mother's throat for a Pepsi if they had the chance. Give them a thorough pummeling, and they'll expel a defeated "Barf!" leaving behind their lunch money that you and Alex can use to purchase tasty treats at the food court in the local mall. After a hard day of vigilante face-bashing, nothing hits the spot like a tasty Merv Burger. Smiles are free of charge at Merv's Burger Joint, so stock up -- there's not many to be found on the rough streets of River City. 

If only McGruff the Crime Dog and Officer Dan had visited River City High and taught the Jocks and Generic Dudes that gangs are always a dead end resulting in a loss of self identity. Maybe then Ryan and Alex wouldn't have to give them all permanent detention. Remember kids: School is cool, gangs are bad, and say no to drugs. And follow any other advice you might hear from crime prevention hand puppets or read on plastic urinal guards.

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