#114 Ikari Warriors

Posted: 3rd August 2012 by Mulholland in Games
Tags: , , ,

167th played so far

Genre: Shoot ’em Up
Platform: Arcade
Year of Release: 1986
Developer: SNK
Publisher: Tradewest

Do you know what this game signifies? We have now covered 1 in 6 games on the list! Woo!

This is a bit of a mini landmark so it’s fair that this game is also a mini gaming landmark right?

Our Thoughts

What landmark am I talking about? The fact that the name from this is actually derived from part of the Japanese name for the second Rambo movie? No, that’s just unfortunate. I can see why though – one man, limited resources, going up against an army, Stallone style.

The technological innovation that this game brought in (well it was the first popular game to do so) was something called a ‘rotary joystick’ whereby you could use an actual joystick to turn in all eight directions in order to fire on your opponents. Why is this cool when games like Asteroids had been doing that 7 years previously? Well it’s cool and you have to trust us on that.

Anyway, back to Rambo (four words I never thought I would say). Ikari Warriors sees you playing as a commando trying to make his way to the village of Ikari. What is blocking your path are soldiers, tanks and the occasional vengeful statue. What’s interesting about this game (apart from the whole rotary joystick) is that unlike a lot of these shooters there is a limit on the ammo. True, you can get ammo by blowing up tanks and killing other soldiers but there is the threat of running out of ammo and that isn’t something that was done regularly at the time. Actually interesting how that came up here and Resident Evil, which we covered a few days ago… A large part of the frantic shooters is just jumping in and going for it. Not doing so is actually quite a shift.

Another cool thing about this game is that you can actually get into tanks! Yes, just like most modern shooters there are times when you can get into a tank and blow your enemies into oblivion… true it is VERY easily destroyed with you still inside it but for 1986 this is pretty damned cool.

The enemies themselves are also quite interesting – aside from the generic soldiers that come at you, there are also plenty of structures to destroy, most of which fire at you as well. They create a nice explosion taking out multiple enemies, but require a grenade to target. Their designs, however, are often the most exciting and best-looking as well.

Just like Space Harrier this runs as one long game where the brutality of the thing is that unless you deposit a whole butt-load of quarters there is little to no chance that you will make it to the end in one go. Then again, economics makes fools of us all.

Final Thoughts

In the end, this is a more tactical shooter, simply because of its limitations. You have to avoid plenty of enemies, rather than fighting, and it’s an exciting foresight. You never get a chance to idle or rest, but keep running. Add the changes controls to that, and it makes for a brilliant Rambo rip-off. Worth jumping into for a bit… if you don’t mind not getting too far for not much.