Ikari Warriors


Simple, pleasant title screen.

Read the review here.

“A vague plot establishes that two muscular, shirtless men have crash-landed in a foreign jungle that is utterly infested with gun-toting goons and enemy vehicles, which all must be conquered by obliteration via small arms warfare and the occasional tank rental.”
– from the full review, which you can read here.


Tank: Your only hope for survival.

It is no secret that many, many NES games are arcade ports; that is, video games that first existed as an arcade cabinet. Whether they make this blatantly obvious in the title, such as with Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Arcade Game; or if people forget, like sometimes with Double Dragon; or can be discerned by the simplistic, high-score gameplay format, as with Q*Bert; the point is, a dang lot of NES games were first arcade games.

In fact, one of the motivating factors behind the very creation of the 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System was to provide more of an “at-home” arcade experience. Donkey Kong was among the very first NES games because Shigeru Miyamoto himself wanted to ensure that a similar experience could be had in people’s living rooms with that title as was offered at the arcade.

However, one side effect of the arcade-to-NES phenomenon was that, as arcade games grew in their complexity and hardware aspirations, the hardware limitations of the NES machine stood firm. Thus, we got some ports that were rather watered-down to varying extents, and simply did not offer quite the same arcade experience. Sometimes this was perfectly acceptable and okay; in fact, many developers did a fine job of ensuring that the cartridge version was still a decent experience. One can hardly fault Tengen for their efforts, for example; for instance, is Rolling Thunder really markedly better in the arcades?

But as I think through specific examples, and compare my memory of their arcade iteration against that of their 8-bit cart, one of the bitterest comparisons is that of Ikari Warriors. The arcade version is far superior; not only in its obviously superior 16-bit Genesis-sounding sound, not only in its far-better graphics boasting crisper details over better outlining with high-fidelity animations at work, but even in the sheer smoothness of gameplay and utter presentation value. It is not the worst example of an arcade game being neutered to fit the NES, and I am not even sure how much better the overall quality is, but suffice to say: When you hear about people who, when they were younger, took home an 8-bit cartridge hoping to experience what they had at the arcade, well, Ikari Warriors was a real-life disappointment for me.

Seriously, watch the arcade experience and, for one, check out the tank-fire explosions that begin around 0:40. So cool.

If you like watching me fail at things, I even made a Let’s Play video for this one:

Read The Full Review For: A sudden realization that I should be writing a review and not an instruction booklet, a brief explanation as to why the tank-steering mechanism seems cool at first but actually sucks, the piece of classical music I compare the background soundtrack to, and finally determining exactly what sort of game this is.

NES Gameplay Tips For Ikari Warriors: Cheat. If you thought Contra was tough with three lives, I guarantee you that Ikari Warriors is tougher.

Like an old friend.

The inevitable.

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