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Reviews (N-Z)

Ikari Warriors

986 (1-2 Players; Simultaneous)



Overview and game play

Ikari Warriors is a vertically scrolling shooter viewed from an aerial perspective for 1-2 players in which the players, (in 2 players mode), take control of two elite military personnel who must fight their way through a variety of terrains and an army of soldiers to defeat an evil military dictator. Two coins are required for 2 players mode and if only one coin is inserted then the one player game will be available where just one of the soldiers can be controlled. The game was popular in the arcades and was converted to several home formats such as the Atari ST and C64. The game translated well to home computers and the graphics of the ST version were nearly of the same quality as the arcade original, while the C64 version had superb music and retained the game play that made Ikari Warriors a success.

The game begins with a short introductory animation showing an aeroplane that has been shot plummeting towards the ground with smoke billowing from its tail end. The plane crash-lands in a dense jungle and the view then switches to an aerial perspective to show the crashed plane and the players’ characters armed and ready to fight against the enemy forces. Each of the players’ characters carries a machine gun and grenades that can be fired with buttons 1 and 2 respectively and the characters can be moved with the joystick. The amount of bullets and grenades the player has left is shown at the top of the screen with numbers next to some icons indicating the quantity held. The enemy soldiers are clothed in different coloured uniforms, with officers dressed in red. If an officer is shot, he will leave behind an icon either for extra ammunition or gas. As well as shooting enemy soldiers, the player can find and use a tank. To drive a tank, a players’ character must be positioned over an empty tank and button 2 must be pressed (which normally fires a grenade). The players’ character will then disappear from the screen and the tank will become active. The tank can be controlled in the same way as the player and a gas meter appears at the side of the screen. The tank becomes unusable when it runs out of gas, so the player must collect gas icons to keep it active. The tank can withstand a considerable amount of damage but when it reaches a critical damage level it will explode and kill the player if he is still inside so it is important for the player to finish using a tank at the right time. Each player starts with three lives and when all these lives have been used, the game is over for that player.



As well as enemy soldiers, there are also enemy tanks and ground based, armed installations to overcome. The choice of weapon the player uses depends upon what s/he is confronted with, as well as the amount of ammunition the player has remaining. In 2-player mode, players can cooperate by providing cover fire for each other while advancing on enemies or compete to collect extra ammunition. Landmines are also scattered around the terrain and the players must be careful not to touch them. With careful manoeuvring, a player can make an enemy tank or soldiers follow the player into the path of a landmine, blowing them up in the process. Using the tank is fun and if driven skilfully, it can be used to run over enemy soldiers, which conserves ammunition for other targets. Ikari Warriors was developed by SNK and it was released a year after another SNK game, called “Tank”, where the player controls a tank throughout the whole game in a scenario similar to that of Ikari Warriors.


The game has been skilfully designed to provide a challenging and enjoyable experience from the start. The background terrain includes bridges, buildings and rivers through which the players’ characters must wade. The rivers actually add to the game play by slowing the characters down and because tanks cannot be driven there, it forces players to walk until they reach dry land. The graphics are good for 1986, when the game was released, and so are the animations. One particularly good animation is when enemy soldiers have been shot, as they spin around in a theatrical manner before slumping to the ground. Another nice animation is when the players throw grenades, which arc up towards the player to give the impression that they are travelling up and then down through the air. The enemy forces range from ordinary foot soldiers to snipers that are posted on bridges and soldiers equipped with bazookas. The player will also encounter enemy tanks and even helicopters that fire bullets in all directions. The variety of enemies in Ikari Warriors makes the game more enjoyable and adds to its appeal.




The chip based music and sound effects in Ikari Warriors are both good for a mid eighties game and add a lot to the game play. A main theme tune plays throughout the game that was one of the most popular game tunes of the 1980’s. Sound effects in Ikari Warriors are used effectively to enhance the game play experience such as to warn the player that the tank is about to explode or that a mine is nearby.



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