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Ikari Warriors

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Ikari Warriors is a 1986 arcade game by SNK, published in the United States and Europe by Tradewest. Known simply as Ikari (怒 ?, literally "anger") in Japan, this was SNK's first major breakthrough US release and became something of a classic. The game was released at the time when there were many Commando clones on the market. What distinguished Ikari Warriors were rotary joysticks and the two-player mode.

Ikari Warriors involves Colonel Ralf and Second Lieutenant Clark of the later the King of Fighters series (known outside Japan as Paul and Vince in the Ikari series) battling through hordes of enemies. According to designer Keiko Iju, the game was inspired by the then-popular Rambo films and takes its name from the Japanese title of Rambo: First Blood Part II (Rambo: Ikari no Dasshutsu or "The Furious Escape"). Ralf and Clark also make an appearance as playable characters in Metal Slug 6 and Metal Slug 7

Overview

The player takes the role of commando-like warriors named Ralf and Clark, who must try to reach the village of Ikari. Enemy units attempting to kill the player include tanks, enemy soldiers and helicopters. A number of power-ups along the way help the player to achieve victory. Ikari Warriors was the first popular video game to use rotary joysticks: those which could be rotated in addition to being pushed in eight directions (TNK III, released in 1985, also from SNK, was the first to use such joysticks). The game also featured two buttons, one for the standard gun and another for lobbing grenades. It allowed two players to play cooperatively, side-by-side — one of the few games to do so at the time — and to use vehicles. The game cabinet was a standard upright.

Description

The player begins as one of two commando-type warriors, garbed in red (Ralf) or blue (Clark). They must proceed from the bottom of the screen upwards, towards the village of Ikari. Trying to prevent them from reaching the village are enemy soldiers and other units. Along the way, players may commandeer enemy tanks to help fight their way through the enemy personnel. The tanks are immune to enemy bullets, but have a limited supply of fuel and will sustain damage when it runs out or the tank is caught in an explosion, taking the player with it unless he can exit the tank and get clear before it blows up. Ikari Warriors was the first 'Commando' style game to give the player a limited amount of ammunition. Turning the joystick changed the direction the character faced independent of the direction the character was moving, as controlled by pushing the joystick. This gave the player freedom to attack or walk in eight different directions. No shot is fired from directly in front of the player; the warrior uses the machine gun in his right hand, and throws grenades with his left. If a player takes too long moving up screen, the computer starts using "call for fire". A red spot appears below him. This is tracking fire to speed up the game.

Hardware

Ikari Warriors printed circuit boards (PCBs) were manufactured in two different versions: SNK pinout and JAMMA pinout. Most SNK-pinout units were put into Ikari Warriors cabinets, while most JAMMA-pinout units were supplied as conversion kits. The SNK-pinout boards have a 22/44-pin edge connectors. The JAMMA-pinout PCBs have a 28/56-pin edge connectors. Both types consist of a stack of three boards, with interconnects. Ikari used SNK's model LS-30 joysticks, which contain a 12-way rotary switch box. The joysticks are connected to the PCB via auxiliary wiring harnesses.

Regional differences

The game is known simply as Ikari in Japan and Ikari Warriors in the United States and Europe. In addition to changing the names of the main characters from Ralf and Clark to Paul and Vince, the military commander the player rescues at the end of the game is named General Kawasaki in the Japanese version (named after SNK's former president Eikichi Kawasaki) and Colonel Cook in the US/Euro version (named after Tradewest's founder Leland Cook). General Kawasaki's name was unchanged in the NES version. The enemies in the game were actually Neo-Nazis, as evident by the presence of a Swastika at the middle of the final room.

Reception

The MS-DOS version of the game was reviewed in 1989 in Dragon #142 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 4 out of 5 stars.

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