Year Of Release: 1986
Ikari Warriors would be the first big hit for developers SNK when it was released in the West in 1986. In Japan the game was just known as Ikari. But in the West, Warriors was added to the title. The game is one of many games that played similar to the hit game Commando. But SNK have gone on record saying that the main inspiration for this game was actually the movie Rambo. While the game was developed by SNK it would be Tradewest who would publish the game in the West.
Story wise Ikari Warriors is like I has been ripped out of an 80’s action movie. In Japan the two playable characters are Colonel Ralf and Second Lieutenant Clark, but in the West they were changed to Paul and Vince. They are required to save the people of the village Ikari from a bunch of rebels who are hell bent on taking it over and killing everyone. Ikari Warriors was a great looking game at the time and it has some pretty good sound effects also.
Game play wise the levels start with you at the bottom of the screen and you then need to make your way up the screen as it scrolls showing more of the level. There are a ton of bad guys that you need to shoot as well as various vehicles such as helicopters as well. The game gives you numerous power ups to help you. One of the most fun power ups you can get is the enemy tanks which you can take over and use to your own advantage. Ikari Warriors was one of the first action games that would give you a limited amount of ammunition which really did add to the tension of the game.
Ikari Warriors at the time was one of the first arcade games to use rotary joysticks. As well as being able to move the joystick to make your character move around the screen. You could also rotate it so that you could shoot in every single direction and you can walk on way while shooting in another. This was actually very ground breaking for the time, but these joysticks were known to frequently break down due to wear and tear.
Current High Score: 1,799,000 by Stan Szczepanski
Ikari Warriors would be ported to multiple home computers and systems. The most famous port has to be the version that was released on the NES. This port is well known for its soul destroying difficulty. As well as the NES both the Atari 2600 and 7800 would get ports of the game. Home computers such as the Commodore 64, Atari ST, Amiga and PC would also get versions of the game released for them.
Victory Road would be released in 1986 follows on right after the events of the first game. Now though you are in a sci-fi setting as you are taken into the future where an alien race has taken over the land. Despite the radically different story the game play is very familiar with the rotary joystick again returning.
Ikari III: The Rescue, was first released into arcades in 1989 and gone is the sci-fi tone of the last game gone in favour for you needing to rescue the presidents kid. This game is more about beating enemies with your fists as there are no vehicles you can take and the weapons are in pretty short supply. While the game does have a rotary joystick there are versions of the game out there that do not make use of it. Despite the differences to the game play, Ikari III: The Rescue does still feel like a worth addition to the series.