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Ikari Warriors (NES) artwork

Ikari Warriors (NES) review

"Bungle in the jungle"

In the sky, a violent bang and a crash landing. A plane falls, its muscular gun-toting cargo shuffling out disheveled and disoriented as a flood of villainous soldiers surges toward them. Did SNK intend for the crashing plane to be an allegory for what you are about to play--a disaster? Was SNK sitting in the pilot seat, laughing as you sign up for an impossible voyage into the raw heart of depravity, where you will spin a drunken dance around a hailstorm of bullets?

Ikari Warriors on the NES is a laughable rendition of SNK's arcade hit. Even the Atari 2600 version turned out better, and that's a sad statement.

The camouflaged scourge descend upon you, and it's up to you to summon the skills you've gained from the many quarters coughed into Heavy Barrel to survive. You mash the attack button and run forward with the fury of a geriatric woman with arthritic knees. Your bullets fly, but you tiptoe. The commandos come at you in flocks, their bullets sailing in swarms. You tiptoe to the left, far enough to dodge the first bullet, but not the sixteen other ones. Your character becomes swiss cheese and you're down a life. All it takes is one blow to spill commando blood. All it takes is three hits to end the game.

It never relents. A giant tank later joins the marauding commandos, as well as fast-moving helicopters and other horrifying hazards of war. Life now seems far beyond unfair. A commando running at sloth-speed could never dodge enough bullets, destroy enough tanks or blow up enough helicopters to survive.

Commandos with bad hips shouldn't enlist. They can't simply turn around and fire like a young, fresh warrior can. Rather, when turning around they must run in a slow semi-circle. One might as well wear a screen tee that says, “Insert bullets here.”

Three hits and it's the end of a commando's life. Game over, good night, goodbye. Continues? Ha. SNK doesn't believe you need them to beat this game. You aren't allowed to experience the whole thing without becoming good enough to defy physics and faulty controls. One does not simply walk to the last level.

Oh, but for a price. Exchange your soul and become a cheater and you will be granted the benefit of a continue. All one needs to do is call out the dark lord's favorite group using the NES controls. A-B-B-A, use it as many times as you like. Now you've gone from commando to dancing queen. The mission is far too easy. Who needs to actually try when you can just enter a code and start where you died anytime, anywhere?

With all the action, violence and killing, one might wonder how such an outing came to be so yawn-inducing. Even commandos can't stand up to the sluggish movements and eventually give up. There's a good reason why continues are optional, and that's because no one wants to continue a dull game plagued by clunky controls, especially not when better commando games exist. The only greater torture one could inflict on his/herself is playing Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road. It's even more fiendish than the first, and it has aliens.

JoeTheDestroyer's avatar
Community review by JoeTheDestroyer (February 23, 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.

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dementedhut posted February 24, 2011:

Ha, love the code part at the end. Wasn't expecting that. Good review! Not very long, but it gets its points across clearly and quickly.
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JoeTheDestroyer posted February 24, 2011:

Thanks pickhut! It was fun to write, even for as short as it is.
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Masters posted February 24, 2011:

Good work as always.

And... it's not that short.

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