Ikari Warriors is a vertically scrolling action game. One or two players fight their way through a variety of terrain, such as jungles, rivers, and ruins. Along the way different weapons can be found, including machine guns, grenades, and rocket launchers. Written by
I've done many reviews on IMDb and I very rarely would comment on a title if I hadn't watched it very recently mostly it is the next day when I sit to write my thoughts down. This is my preference because doing stuff from memory is never a good idea particularly when that memory is from childhood; I've had too many experiences where a film I remember as brilliant turns out to be rubbish and i read too many gushing reviews of such films where the writer clearly hasn't seen the title in about 25 years! So, why do I make an exception for Ikari Warriors?
Well, because this game is embedded in my brain having played it for so long with my brother, ploughing through the seemingly endless enemies with a one-hit kill and very few lives to work with. Scrolling from top to bottom you either play solo or with a friend, landing in the jungle at the start and working your way through it against increasingly hard enemies. What the plot was I have no idea but I'm pretty sure there was some reason for me to beat the boss right at the end of it all. With a very basic directional pad you can only fire your weapon at 45 degree intervals which meant someone had to be in a straight line from you at that angle to be able to hit them. It doesn't sound like a pain but try to go and play COD now and imagine only having 8 directions you can shoot in, and then try to hit a moving target I'm pretty sure some players must be amazing at snooker given the experience with angles from this game.
It is punishing even when you get used to this; writing from memory I have no idea how long a complete play-through takes, in my head it felt like hours but maybe it was less. And did I mention there was no way to save your progress? Or no way to start again from a middle point if you lost all your lives? No, right back to the start there is a reason my brother and I had to use cheat codes to get 99 lives in order to finish this. Guard towers, tanks, grenades and all manner of stuff comes at you and I remember it being a real grind simply because just a little bit of bad luck and it would all be over in seconds! The two player thing was good though on the NES at that time (late 80's?) there were few genuine 2-player games so this simultaneous one was welcomed by me and my sibling as it meant no more sharing. The one big downside of both being on the same screen though, was that the forward scrolling speed was controlled by the movement of the player no problem if you are on your own, but with two players it becomes important to work together well. If one player pushed ahead too far, he would find himself right at the top of the screen so that whatever enemy was coming would suddenly appear and instantly kill him. Conversely if this happens the player at the bottom of the screen could find himself blocked from moving forward by a barrier, but unable to go back because the other player had pushed the screen forward on them (giving up a precious life was the only way out of it).
The animation is laughably basic to look at now, but it was solid for the time and it was fun to have little blocky men dressed as Rambo I imagine because the animation was easier to show trousers, bear top and a bandanna with only a few pixels for each! The music is what sticks with me and I do look back and wonder how my mother was able to cope with that soundtrack for hours on end. I now have the music as the alarm clock on my phone because it wakes me instantly and there is nothing gentle about it you know you've been woken up when you hear it.
I still own Ikari Warriors and a working NES and maybe someday I will try and play it again, but from much first-hand experience it is a game of more frustration than fun very basic across the board and very difficult, it is my standard answer to the question over what the toughest game I've played was. It has been 25 years since I last played this but yet watching gameplay on Youtube I am still able to remember what bits are coming up and the frustration and anger at it seems fresh as ever! All those people shouting "oh come on for F's sake" at their copy of Call of Duty should go back and try this to experience real frustration!
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