Skip to main content

Ikari Warriors: Will you draw the first blood?

Ikari Warriors on the NES is a port of the 1986 arcade game by SNK. It's a run-and-gun vertical shooter based on the movie Rambo II. However, SNK never acquired the licensing rights, so they renamed it Fury—not a bad title, but then it was changed to Ikari Warriors in English translation.

What made Ikari Warriors popular was its use of two rotary joysticks, which allowed the player to control both the direction in which the hero walks and, separately, the direction in which he shoots his machine gun. However, NES controllers have only a d-pad, so the game's best feature could not be transferred. Even worse, in a case of excessive fidelity, the characters still rotate as they move, even though you can no longer control this rotation independently from movement direction. As a result, turning around to face enemies coming from different directions is slow. The original game had agile characters who could strafe, but the NES versions can't even turn around effectively! They walk as if they were vehicles banking in small arcs, which is not what you want when enemies are swarming you!

This defect is somewhat compensated for with more content. The arcade game is a single stage that loops endlessly, but the NES version has four levels! Don't get too excited, though, as it's mostly more of the same, only with different color palettes. The original has five power-ups (Speed-up, Long range, Fire Power, Blast, and Kill), plus ammunition and grenade refills. The NES port adds six additional, hidden power-ups, which are found by destroying certain objects with grenades.

A pink tank

The gameplay itself is repetitive and uninteresting: you move your character up the screen, shooting enemies, dodging "bullets" (slow-moving circles), and avoiding stationary obstacles like walls and rocks. The best part is when you get into a tank or helicopter. Unfortunately, the game, like so many NES games, uses one-hit kills, so unless you're very good, your run in a vehicle won't last long. There is a secret code (A, B, B, A) that lets you continue right where you died. Without this code, the game would be next-to-impossible. There is a long pause before the game restarts, so a lot of kids probably discovered this code by mashing buttons while waiting.

Left: arcade; right: NES

The arcade game doesn't look or sound especially great, and the NES port is a step down from that. Combine this with the boring game play, sluggish controls, and high difficulty, and you have a mediocre game. The hidden power-ups and additional levels on the NES aren't worth sacrificing the dual-joystick controls, so if you want to try this game, go with the arcade original. Personally, I'd rather play Gradius or Contra.

Grade: D-

Linked Reviews
"Ikari Warriors was the definitive videogaming outlet for bottled-up aggression. This game was macho, manly destructive fun with its simultaneous two-player action."
IGN, #72 of Top 100

"The monotony of the stage design, unfair scenarios, and extremely long and unfun levels will prevent most players from wanting to complete this one."
— Pat Contri, Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library, 2/4

"There's simply no way to translate the rotary-stick mechanic to a d-pad in a satisfactory way, meaning Ikari Warriors on NES was a losing proposition from the outset."
— Jeremy Parish, NES Works

Comments

  1. This game is pretty terrible. I did my own review on it last week.

    https://youtu.be/8ODa93rxEZ4

    https://americanluchalibre.com/ikari-warriors-nes/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Despite my D- grade, it seems I had more fun playing it than you did!

      Delete
  2. This game was amazing when it came out on NES. It was one of first games that allowed multi-player and allowed players to get in vehicles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can see that for the time, before Contra.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

The Legend of the Mystical Ninja: A whimsical adventure in Japan

Growing up, I played The Legend of the Mystical Ninja at my best friend's house (though I was bad at it), and I had been looking forward to trying it again. It's an unusual, fun adventure game. I recently learned that in Japan Legend of the Mystical Ninja was preceded by three Famicom games and followed by three more Super Famicom games, none of which were localized for the West! The Japanese name of the series is Go for It, Goemon! It's based on a 1980 Japanese arcade game called Mr. Goemon. The emulation community put out fan translations of the Famicom games between 2009 and 2017. Surprisingly, no translations of the Super Famicom games existed until 2020, all three created by the same people . The series takes places in early-modern Japan. It has a light-hearted anime aesthetic. The titular character is a spiky-haired kid named Goemon. If a second player joins the simultaneous action (highly recommended), Goemon is assisted by an older, overweight ninja named Ebisumaru.

Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts: 30th anniversary

Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts is an SNES-exclusive sequel to Ghouls 'n Ghosts, itself a sequel to Ghosts 'n Goblins . Like its predecessors, its claim to fame (or infamy) is being ridiculously hard. Super Ghouls 'n Ghosts follows the formula of Ghosts 'n Goblins to a tee. You control a knight named Arthur who must rescue Princess Guinevere by battling endless hordes of monsters and demons: Zombies, Ghosts, Weredogs, Bats, Red Arremers, and even Mimics (the D&D monster that disguises itself as a treasure chest). He picks up various weapons along the way but can only hold one at a time. Some of them (especially the torch) are worse than the throwing spears he begins with. Three new weapons are the crossbow, scythe, and tri-blade. The crossbow is good because it shoots two arrows at once, at about 45 and 30 degree angles upward. I avoid the scythe because Arthur can throw only one at a time and the ability to arc it downward by holding ↓ does not compensate for this. The

Mario Kart 64: 25th anniversary

Mario Kart 64 brought the fun of go-kart simulator Super Mario Kart into the 3D age. A few chunky polygons notwithstanding, Mario Kart 64 still holds up, even alongside sequels like  Mario Kart 8 Deluxe . MK 64 doesn't alter the fundamental formula laid down by Super Mario Kart. You still choose one of four circuits (Mushroom, Flower, Star, or Special) and an engine speed (50, 100, or 150 CC), then race against seven other racers, trying to place at least in the top four. Whereas the SNES allowed only two players, the N64 was built with four controller inputs, and MK 64 happily can use them all (though the music shuts off with more than two). Battle Mode returns as well, in which players attack one another with items, trying to pop all three of their opponents' balloons. This is always a blast when playing with friends. Lastly, there is the Time Trial mode, in which you race alone trying to set the fastest time. Is this the origin of the "Trollface" meme? MK 64's