Ikari Warriors (NES) Retro Review

Ikari Warrior is a 1987 vertically scrolling Run ‘N Gun shooter for the NES developed by SNK and published by Tradewest. The goal of the game is to reach the Ikari village while fighting things like enemy soldiers, tanks and helicopters. It might be interesting to note that the 2 player characters Colonel Ralf and Second Lieutenant Clark (or just paul and vince in the Ikari series outside Japan) would later appear in the King of Fighters series.

The title screen was interesting with the 2 characters walking in and shooting around before the menu appears but I really didn’t like the colors used in the logo (especially since Ikari is supposedly Japanese for Fury). There was also no sound in the menu at all which also caused the demo play to be a bit annoying too. Sadly while this game looks like it’d be more fun with 2 players I can only play by myself at the moment.

Getting into the game i felt the graphics looked ok and the music seemed pretty decent but i immediately didn’t like the controls. The buttons were easy to use like you’d expect but you can immediately tell the movement wasn’t made for a d-pad (the original arcade version used an 8-way joystick) and while it does work it just doesn’t feel right. Some people might also get annoyed that you die in one hit which coupled with your limited ammo makes every enemy almost seem as powerful as you are at first. However while this provides a huge barrier of entry i have to admit getting powerups and even getting to use a tank yourself (which the game gives you almost instantly on the first level) is extremely satisfying. Although the tank controls are a bit weird as you need to hold down A to stop moving and change the direction of the turret. Unlike other games like Contra you feel as if you are the underdog (and not some super crazy killer lol).

That sadly didn’t stop me from being terrible so i decided to see what would happen with a few cheats and to my surprise i ended up getting tricked twice, firstly thinking that the game was one extremely long journey because of how long it took and then suddenly finding out the game is split into stages. The variety of locations was really good but you did wonder how many people actually made it far enough to see most of it and if the game was possibly too hard. Its not that i hate the game, i just don’t think its for players like me.

Overall theres nothing bad about this game but the insane difficulty means i can only recommend it to people that enjoy challenges.


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