Ikari Warriors - Nintendo NES
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Ikari Warriors

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Release year: 1986 | Players: 1-2 players | Developed by SNK / Micronics

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Ikari Warriors (AKA 怒 or “fury” in Japan) is a top-down 2D vertical scrolling arcade run and gun video game developed by SNK for the arcades in 1986 and ported by Micronics to the NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) in the same year. Numerous arcade games have been ported to home gaming consoles, but porting these titles is not a success all the time. This game is one example of a failed outcome.

Ikari Warriors is set on land wherein the player is one of the two bandana-wearing, shirtless commandos sent on a rescue mission to save General Kawasaki / Colonel Cook from the enemies’ territory. The gameplay is quite simple: You fight for survival against onslaughts of the opposing force by mindlessly shooting them and everything that hinders your path.

Ikari Warriors Cover Box

Ikari Warriors Cover (NES)

Your bullets and grenades are scarce, but this is not a problem because power-ups are all over the battlefield. Also, there is an interesting twist: You can maneuver tanks and helicopters to aid you in destroying your enemies.

However, the flaw of the game was not the simplicity of the gameplay; it was the agonizingly slow movement of the character when walking. On top of that, the levels are unfairly difficult and almost take forever to complete. Death for your character easily happens due to many reasons: Missiles appear out of nowhere, enemy soldiers will occupy your screen, and you also die if you are within the blast radius of a vehicle’s explosion.

The opposing force also has an unfair advantage: Their bullets travel across the screen, but your bullets do not. Think of all the frustration-fueled pressing of your brick-like NES controller.

Visually, the graphics of Ikari Warriors are awful and dull. The characters look basic and animations are poorly executed. Backgrounds of the game are extremely bland with little to no variation at all, even as the game progresses. The game also becomes choppy when the action on screen gets heavy. Add to that the bugs and glitches from which you may suffer along the way, and you have the perfect recipe for a subpar action game — even according to the standards of NES.

Despite its issues, the title is considered an important milestone on the NES. It kicked off many land-based shooter games, and inspired sequels and spin-offs. However, to consider this a classic is a bitter pill to swallow. So, if you are searching for quality games, look somewhere else. But if you are a collector, Ikari Warriors deserves a spot in your library (just to tell people you have it, anyway).

Ikari Warriors game has been ported to Arcade (original), Apple II, Amiga, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Atari ST, Acorn Electron, Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro, C64, NES (this version), MSX2, PC booter, and ZX Spectrum.