A question I’ve been asked a couple times lately is one I’ve wanted to know about for a long time too: “Why does everyone say, ‘Barf!’ in River City Ransom when you beat them up? What does the original Japanese version say?”
Well, I finally sat down to look into it last night and here are the results:
|Downtown Nekketsu Monogatari (Famicom)||River City Ransom (NES)|
It actually took me a long time to get someone to say “Barf” in the English version, I guess I was just unlucky 🙁
Basically, in the Japanese version they go something like, “Geh!” which is more of a sound effect word than an actual word. It can actually signify a few different things in different contexts; in this particular situation it’s onomatopoeia that indicates vomiting or choking/gagging. My personal take is that it’s signifying coughing up blood rather than actual food or whatever, but it’s pretty much up to interpretation.
So “Barf!” actually makes some sense, although it’s not really onomatopoeia in English, so I’d probably have gone with something like, “Argh!” or “Blergh!” or something like that myself. But “Barf!” is one of those localization gems that will always have a special place in fans’ hearts, so maybe it’s better to leave it as-is. Speaking of which, it looks like “Barf!” was kept as-is for the GBA remake.
So there you go – now you know the truth behind the barf!