#295 – Ikari Warriors

Handle your own ports next time, SNK.
2 can – and will – play together!
Something in the water does not compute.

PLAYERS: 1-2 simultaneous


DEVELOPER: Micronics

GENRE: Action


SNK, those noble purveyors of fighting games, Metal Slug and the occasional oddball sports affair, brought Ikari Warriors to the arcade in 1986. It was a huge success, thus paving the way for ports for every system known to man (Ikari Warriors on DOS?). Out of all the systems in the late Eighties, the NES should have been the system that got a close-to-perfect arcade translation. True, 1987 was still early in the NES’ lifespan and the developers (in this case, Micronics – SNK only published the port) were still getting used to what the system could do. Nevertheless, this port of Ikari Warriors is big, dumb, and the opposite of fun.

Why does Ikari Warriors work in the arcade but not on the NES? Some would argue that it’s the lack of rotary controls. In the arcade, the rotary control system provided solid twelve-way (!) directional shooting. On the NES, you had to contend with the stiff four-way directional D-pad. While I agree that the controls are an issue, for my money, it’s the slowdown that makes Ikari Warriors nigh unplayable. Every bit of the game chugs along, as if the NES were being powered by a crank or something. Sometimes this can be used to your advantage if the enemy fire gets too heavy. Mostly, it’s just annoying and really takes one out of the supposedly “furious” experience (“ikari” means “fury” in Japanese). Lastly, the bullets resemble white pellets and with all the shenanigans and goings on, it’s easy to get killed and not see the bullet that hit you. If you really want to wrassle with this game, look for those white pellets coming from every direction. If nothing else, your eye sight will be much improved after you beat the game.

SNK would later refine this style of gameplay with Guerrilla War and, of course,the Metal Slug series. Both are excellent and come highly recommended. Ikari Warriors, however, fails to achieve even the modest task of performing as a competent Rambo-style shoot-em-up. Perhaps the sequels will make me feel better about donning a pink headband.


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9 replies on “#295 – Ikari Warriors”

My first time playing this series was part II on the NES, which I presume is your next one? I liked II okay I guess – and then I went back and played this game and really just did not like much of anything about it.

I remember playing this a bit as a kid. It flickered a lot and I never liked the limited bullets. I was used to most games giving unlimited ammo for the basic weapon.

Limited is realistic perhaps but not fun for me in a game of this type.

I have to disagree. Me and my best friend and his brother would stay up late into the night playing this game. We loved it!

The three of us actually got together again a few weeks ago and were downloading old games on the Wii and were sorely disappointed this wasn’t available on the virtual console.

I played this game right up to part where you reach the dead guy sitting behind the big desk, I blew him up and couldn’t move on, and the ABBA continue cheat stopped working at that point. I don’t know if that was just the end of the game or what, but found it to be very weird. Tried playing it again recently and holy crap, I don’t remember it being that long and boring!! We were all much more easily amused back then I guess!

The NES wasn’t a new system. The Famicom was released in 1983 in Japan. This game should have been better, there is no excuse.

I personally put the low quality firmly in the hands of Micronics here. As much as I liked their console port of Elevator Action, look at their track record of arcade games that got bad-to-terrible console ports: 1942, Ghosts N Goblins, Athena (okay, that game was ass anyway), not to mention they developed the abomination known as Super Pitfall. So yeah, I feel like Ikari Warriors may have fared better if SNK ported it themselves instead of outsourcing it.

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