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Reviews (0-9 / A-M)

Bad Dudes vs. Dragonninja (US)

988 (1-2 Players, Simultaneous)


Overview and game play

Bad Dudes vs. Dragonninja is a horizontally scrolling fighting game for one or two players, (simultaneous). The game enjoyed moderate success in the arcades and was converted to several home formats such as the Atari ST. The objective of the game is hinted at on the title screen which depicts the two heroes trying to look tough in their black vests and leather gloves: “Rampant ninja related crimes these days…Whitehouse is not the exception…”. Upon depositing a coin, (or coins for a two player game) a suspicious looking character sporting a flattop hairstyle (fashionable in the late 80’s) says in text: “President Ronnie has been kidnapped by the Ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue Ronnie?”. Presumably this character is referring to former US President Ronald Regan and being a “Bad Dude” may indicate the game designers were Michael Jackson fans paying tribute to his hit song called “Bad” which was popular in the 1980’s. Further evidence of this appears at the end of each level when the player raises his arm in victory exclaiming, “I’m bad!” If anything is “Bad” in Bad Dudes vs. Dragonninja, it’s the plot. Why on earth are the 2 players rescuing the President of The United States?. Surely things are not so grim that President Ronnie must rely on 2 men alone? The plot is not meant to be taken seriously (hopefully!) and is actually quite funny at the end of the game when the players receive a measly hamburger for all their efforts from President Ronnie, who perhaps lost 2 votes from the players for such a frugal gesture!.



The stages in Bad Dudes vs. Dragonninja are thoughtfully designed and each contains an upper and lower level for the player to walk along. This 2-walkway system is particularly effective as a means of enhancing the game play and if too many ninjas appear on one level, a player can jump to the other level. Staying on one level is not usually wise and pitfalls await players regardless of which level they are on. This design is effective because it encourages players to swap levels during the progress of each stage as well as adding a tactical element to the fighting.  Pressing button 1 allows the player to execute kicks and punches and button 2 makes the player jump. By using the up and down controls in combination with the buttons, the player can jump up or down between the 2 levels or pick up collectable items. There are several collectable items to choose from: extra weapons such as nunchaku and knives, coke cans which restore energy and time icons which add more time for the player to complete the stage. Although it was the Ninjas who kidnapped President Ronnie, there are some other adversaries to confront such as fire breathing men and dogs that even bark at the player!. There are also different types of ninjas who appear: blue ninjas, (who attack with punches and kicks), red ninjas, (who sometimes leave behind a collectable item once dead) and gray ninjas (who sometimes throw metal stars or leave sharp objects on the floor that injure the player if he touches them). There are also blue and red ninjas armed with swords that wear slightly different costumes to their cohorts as well as female ninjas who attack in the same way as their male counterparts.



Bad Dudes vs. Dragonninja has sprite-based graphics that are about average to good for the late 1980’s. Good design of the game has resulted in the graphics adding a significant amount to the game play. The ninjas appear on screen in an appropriate way with smoke revealing them or by fading into view in a mysterious ninja-like manner.  Locations where the player battles the ninjas are varied and not too repetitive, which is sometimes a problem with other horizontally scrolling fighting games. One stage is set on top of a large lorry that is being driven along a street. Ninjas climb up the side of the lorry to attack the players or approach the scene sitting on top of passing cars and then jump on to the lorry. This design adds to the game-play as the player must avoid falling off the lorry as well as fighting the ninjas. In another stage, the players must traverse a sewer. In typical ninja style, stealthy ninjas swim in the sewage using only a bamboo pipe to breathe and when they are positioned near a player, they jump out and attack. These graphical details make a lot of difference to the game and make the game play more enjoyable than without them. Adverts for other Data East games and promotion of the Data East name also occurs at various points in the stages, which was a trend developing in the late 80’s among game designers and graphics artists.




The sound effects are, as one would expect for a fighting game: slaps, shouts and groans which are all present in Bad Dudes vs. Dragonninja and all are digitized. Dogs realistically whimper when hit and the “I’m bad” catchphrase the player says at the end of each stage is too good to miss. The synthesized music is very much in the background but does change to signify the presence of a boss character. Music is more effective at the end of the game where a grateful President Ronnie invites the players out for a hamburger and some “Hail to the Chief” music is played to add to the corny but amusing scene.



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