Patreon button  Steam curated reviews  Facebook button  Twitter button 
3DS | AND | IOS | PC | PS4 | SWITCH | VITA | XB1 | All

Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road (NES) artwork

Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road (NES) review

"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. "

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

I had thought that with so much ground to expand upon that SNK couldn't possibly make Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road any worse than its predecessor. And there I go with the overly trusting and naïve understanding of the gaming industry... Rather than improving upon the first Ikari's glaring flaws, they exacerbated them. Controls turned stiffer, difficulty got hairier, and expectations went straight to alien hell.

It started out promising enough. Graphics looked, at least back then, more up to date, and there was a life bar in the upper left. A life bar! God, why didn't SNK think of that in the first one? That life bar becomes no more than a cruel joke once you move forward and see how stiff the controls are. As horrendous as Ikari Warriors? No, worse. While your commando wades through invisible waist-deep peanut butter, the aliens and flying vampires surround him and pelt him projectiles. You still can't instantly turn in the opposite direction, and to do so your character has to make a slow semi-circle that all but screams DEPOSIT BULLETS HERE. This especially gets annoying in the second level when you fight swift-moving knights that can one-shot you easily. It doesn't take long before that life bar diminishes to nothing. On your first time playing, this can happen within a minute or so.

Oh well, one life down, no big-


Oh, what the hell is this? Pit-Fighter?

One life is all you get in Ikari II. There are no legit continues, though SNK still wants you to be a dancing queen. Hit that grand ol' combo, A-B-B-A, before the game over screen and you can boogie back to life and suffer through an entire game of stiff controls and projectiles you couldn't possibly dodge. I have to question: did SNK develop this game with the continue cheat in mind, and therefore make the difficulty tough as nails without any planning or consideration for fairness? Perhaps if the gameplay were better the cheat would be worth the while, but that's not the case.

The only point of interest is in purchasing new power-ups using gory, pulsating hearts that you extract from your enemies as currency. Enjoy them while you can, because they fade the instant you die. Remember how long that takes?

Each level culminates in a dull boss battle that requires you to lob grenades and run away in awkward angles and directions, hoping your grenade actually hits. Half the time you can't tell because the boss's only indication that it's been hit is a nanosecond-long red flash. You practically have to sense that you're doing damage rather than actually notice it. Later bosses move or shoot so quickly that you have to lose a life just to land a single hit. It's here that you realize the harsh reality that this game cannot be beaten without cheating. If this is what SNK intended all along, then why bother trying? The game has now shifted from 'impossible' to 'too easy'.

Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road is how a sequel should never turn out. SNK expanded on a few ideas, but deemed it unnecessary to address its predecessor's flaws. Where the stiff controls and ridiculous difficulty/lack of difficulty were a problem before, they're rampant now. Even if you could stand using a cheat to walk the road to victory, it's questionable whether or not you can stomach playing that long. SNK should have left this one in the arcade.


JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (June 13, 2011)

Rumor has it that Joe is not actually a man, but a machine that likes video games, horror movies, and long walks on the beach. His/Its first contribution to HonestGamers was a review of Breath of Fire III.

More Reviews by JoeTheDestroyer [+]
The Amazing Spider-Man (PlayStation 3) artwork
The Amazing Spider-Man (PlayStation 3)

Mr. Stark, I don't feel so good.
Mechanic Escape (PC) artwork
Mechanic Escape (PC)

System error
Gothic 3 (PC) artwork
Gothic 3 (PC)

Open terrain and laughable dialogue, paid in spades.


If you enjoyed this Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road review, you're encouraged to discuss it with the author and with other members of the site's community. If you don't already have an HonestGamers account, you can sign up for one in a snap. Thank you for reading!

board icon
Masters posted June 13, 2011:

Nice review, Joe. I love the mid-review 'gimmick.' Wonderfully easy to read stuff.

In other news, you're missing an "s" after "projectile" in the first para after the GAME OVER break. Also, I think you're missing a "with" or "in" after "culminates" two paragraphs down from there.
board icon
honestgamer posted June 13, 2011:

If I told you that Ikari III is actually rather fun (with a code for lots of lives, if you actually need it), would you believe me? I quite enjoyed Ikari III back in the day. I rented it twice, even, and eventually I even purchased it. Much better than the first two. Perhaps still not a fantastic game, but it deserves a shot since you suffered through the first two. I'm not entirely sure that it didn't represent the basis for the Metal Slug series.
board icon
JoeTheDestroyer posted June 13, 2011:

Thanks, Marc. Fixed!

Ikari III was actually the first one I played and something like the third or fourth game I ever finished. I enjoyed it much more when I was younger, though. I reviewed it at GF at a 5/10, but I think a 6/10 (which will probably be the future score) is more accurate. And as I recall, you don't need a code for that one. You get infinite continues and you respawn where you die. Basically, you get infinite lives. Kinda reminds me of Guerilla War.
board icon
honestgamer posted June 13, 2011:

You had to enter a code for that effect, which is how I chose to play it. The fun then wasn't in making it to the end, but in knowing I would making it to the end and seeing how low I could keep the number of lives required to do so.
board icon
Masters posted June 13, 2011:

Old war games fucking rocked. I remember loving Cabal, Bloody Wolf, Guerilla War, Thunder Fox, etc. Good times.
board icon
JoeTheDestroyer posted June 13, 2011:

Hmm... I replayed Ikari III not long ago and didn't need a code to continue. I went through it from start to finish, too.

Old war games fucking rocked. I remember loving Cabal, Bloody Wolf, Guerilla War, Thunder Fox, etc. Good times.

Indeed! Especially in the arcade, like Operation Wolf. It was the first time I had ever seen a machine gun mounted on an arcade game, and I shit myself with glee and begged for quarters when I saw it.
board icon
Masters posted June 13, 2011:

Haha, did you really shit yourself?! LOL. I never tried Operation Wolf--I KNOW--I'm ashamed, really. Did you play Cabal?
board icon
SamildanachEmrys posted June 13, 2011:

The ABBA joke made this review for me. I smirked, and may even have tittered in a rather undignified manner.
board icon
JoeTheDestroyer posted June 13, 2011:

Thanks, Sam!

Oh yeah, played Cabal in the arcade as well. Did that one have a track ball on it? I seem to remember one. I tried the NES version, but didn't like it as much. Then again, I only played that version once. Never did play Blood Wolf (which is supposedly on Virtual Console, so I'll have to keep an eye out for it) or Thunder Fox, though. Both would probably be right up my alley.
board icon
Masters posted June 13, 2011:

You'd love Bloody Wolf. In the arcade (on MAME or something) it's two player, but on the Turbografx (including the VC emulation), it's one player at a time... but still awesome.
board icon
JoeTheDestroyer posted June 14, 2011:

Well, I have purchased Bloody Wolf (along with Chrono Trigger) on VC, but still haven't played it. Soon, soon... Mwahahaha...

You must be signed into an HonestGamers user account to leave feedback on this review.

Policies/Ethics | Contact | Sponsor Site | Sponsor Guide | Links

eXTReMe Tracker
© 1998-2019 HonestGamers
None of the material contained within this site may be reproduced in any conceivable fashion without permission from the author(s) of said material. This site is not sponsored or endorsed by Nintendo, Sega, Sony, Microsoft, or any other such party. Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road is a registered trademark of its copyright holder. This site makes no claim to Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road, its characters, screenshots, artwork, music, or any intellectual property contained within. Opinions expressed on this site do not necessarily represent the opinion of site staff or sponsors. Staff and freelance reviews are typically written based on time spent with a retail review copy or review key for the game that is provided by its publisher.