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Ikari Warriors

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Released: 1987

Genre: Shoot-’em-up

Format reviewed: Commodore 16/Plus4

Publisher: Elite

Developer: Chris Bannock

Submitted by: Barry Lendrum

Ikari Warriors is a 1986 arcade game by SNK. The player takes the role of commando-like warriors named Ralf and Clark, who must try to reach the village of Ikari and rescue Colonel Cook. Armed with a machine gun and grenades, enemy units who will attempt to kill the warriors include tanks and enemy soldiers. You will occasionally find tanks to use at your disposal and also tank refuel dumps to help the player to achieve victory. If you run out of fuel before your player exits the tank, kaBOOM!

The original arcade machine was unique in a sense that the joystick controls were not standard. Apart from the usual movements, you could also turn the stick to change the direction your character faces and fires, independent of the direction he’s moving. Unfortunately it means that this feature is lost on all home conversions. Short history lesson over.

Whenever an arcade machine was converted across to our system, we were often let down. Will this break the cycle? Read on and find out.

The first thing you will notice is that as well as a single player game, they have managed to include the co-operative 2 player mode. In fact this is one of the only co-operative game I can think of discounting sport games, Storm beiing another. This is fantastic news.

Controls are via joysticks, and holding down fire will release one of an infinite supply of grenades. The arcade machine I believe has a limited supply and so you often had to find more, this makes things a bit easier.

One thing I have noticed is that you have no directional-fire whereas the enemies do, you can only fire upwards. This is more than a little unfair and makes the game a lot tougher than necessary. But all the enemies have set movement patterns to them so with a bit of planning you can try pick them all off one-by-one. Did I forget to mention that there is such a thing as friendly fire in co-operative mode? Be careful who you shoot.

There are also large building gun emplacements but for some reason they do not fire at you, if this is an oversight then it’s a fortunate one as this game gets very tough later on. You can use your grenades to quickly see them off, just don’t bump into them.

Shooting through the army of soldiers who also carry machine guns and grenades is pretty tough going. There are no other special power-ups in our version but you will occasionally find tanks you can climb into. This is one of the most important features of the game and I’m glad that they kept it in this conversion as it’s your most powerful weapon at your disposal.

Machine-gun bullets can’t harm you whilst you’re in the tank, however enemy tanks and hand grenades can still blow you apart, and you can still kill your comrade. Your tank holds little fuel capacity so you have to find more if you want to keep going. When you’re running low on fuel, there will be a few seconds beeping indicating you to either refuel quickly or to promptly shift your arse out of there before it explodes. They’re not exactly made to U.S military specs.

There are rocks scattered around too, they can be helpful in tactical battles. For instance, enemy tanks can not fire through them so sometimes a well placed grenade from behind a rock will see them off. There are no bridges or lakes to wade through in our version, but given so little memory to play with this isn’t a major necessity and quite forgivable.

Later on  you will occasionally come up to large impassable defence walls spanning the entire width of the play area, just throw a grenade at it’s door or blast it apart with your tank and you’re quickly on your way again. Again don’t bump into the doors or you’ll lose one of your 3 lives.

That’s the basic gameplay. But does it come up to scratch?

Fortunately Elite has learned from their mistake with Commando and actually gave us a game that is not only worth playing, but captures the feeling of the original really quite well.

The scrolling is nice and pacey and the game characters move around quick and smooth. No jerkiness and getting around is easy.  Nice rapid firing too.

The warriors and enemies are as finely detailed to what you would expect on our system, although as our warriors are only able to face forward, it gives them a silly looking side-step. The defence walls look pretty good but the background and rocks seem a little wishy-washy, but nothing is too hard on the eyes.

There is no music and the spot FX are nice enough, and there’s plenty of them.

The difficulty level is consistant. It starts off fairly easy and gradually becomes more difficult. But the lack of directional-fire whilst the enemies are able to does make the later stages extremely hard to beat.

All in all, apart from that and a few minor game ommisions, this is still one damn fine playable game. This has got to be one of the best arcade conversions on the C16/+4, if not the best. Single mode is great fun but it’s something special in co-operative mode. Give it a blast now. Just be careful not to shoot your friend in the back.

You can watch the full longplay video HERE!