Monday 5 October 2015

Ikari Warriors (NES review)

Developer: Micronics
Publisher: SNK
Released: 1986

Ikari Warriors is a vertically scrolling run 'n' gun game that takes inspiration from the Arcade classic Commando (1985).

It supports 1-2 players simultaneously and the objective is to infiltrate and destroy an enemy nation. Your basic weapons are a machine gun and grenades although you can occasionally take control of tanks and helicopters. As soon as the action begins it's startling how jerky the scrolling is and how slow your character moves. Enemies can shoot further and faster than you can retreat so cheap deaths are a common occurrence. Unless you collect an L power-up your range of fire is incredibly small so you have to put yourself in harms way if you want to kill anything. Your character always shoots to the right-hand-side of his sprite and it takes a long time to adjust to moving further than you normally would to hit an enemy. The controls are laggy and I didn't like that your character doesn't automatically turn in your chosen direction; instead he first has to spin around which, while realistic, allows enemies to advance on you with too much ease. Also, if you want to quickly run backwards to avoid a projectile your soldier will advance forward a few paces first which puts you in harms way. Whenever you die the game doesn't place you back in the same spot and frequently you'll end up wading through the water or getting stuck in a rock! There's only four levels but they last forever and outstay their welcome by around 10 minutes each! There's tons of flicker and the animation is poor, especially when you kill an enemy, as they jump backwards and flap their arms as if they're performing ballerinas! The music is appalling with repetitive tracks and annoying beeping sounds.

Ikari Warriors on the NES isn't enjoyable in the slightest and playing it through to the end is a test of endurance that rivals the Desert Bus mini-game in Penn & Teller's Smoke and Mirrors! (Mega CD). Do yourself a favour and stick to Super C instead as it's a much better example of the genre on the NES.

Random trivia: The game was also released on numerous other platforms including the Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Amiga and ZX Spectrum.

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