H ot on the heels of Microdeal’s jolly jungle shoot-‘em-up Leatherneck comes the official conversion of the game that inspired it, Ikari Warriors, courtesy of Elite. If, when it comes to the coin-op scene, you are a pretty wised-up dude, you may as well skip the next couple of lines, while I explain to the rest of you what it is all about.
Ugly and mean supercommandos Paul and Vince’s commanding officer, General Bonn, has been kidnapped by violent terrorists who are currently holding him captive in their secluded jungle hidenout. Paul and Vince get some guns and grenades and fly out to the jungle, where the action begins. As you must have guess by now, it is a vertically scrolling Commando variant with some extra features, the most noticeable of these being a simultaneous two-player option.
The enemy are pretty nasty guys, much more musclebound than the pathetic striplings that accost you in Leatherneck. Dressed in snazzy blue uniforms and baseball caps (?) they run down the screen either singularly or in groups firing their tennis ball-like bullets at you, which thankfully are not too fast and can be dodged easily. To dispose of these troublesome goons, 99 bullets are supplied for your machine gun as well as 50 grenades that you can lob by holding down the fire button.
The jungle you traverse is graphically a lot more basic than the territory in Leatherneck, being a sort of desert cum jungle bordered by palm trees with buildings and bridges cropping up in later sections. Inanimate peril comes in many forms, including pillbox gun emplacements that blurt out bullets at all angles and Inca masks set into the floor that spit out bullets all over the shop. A well-timed grenade shot will despatch these, along with any soldiers in the vicinity. As well as these, around half-way through each level, you will come across large expanses of water that can only be crossed by jumping in and wading through at waist height, which slows you down considerably.
What with all these guns and goons out to get you, you may be getting the impression that the odds are stacked pretty steeply against you. To help you out a bit, it is possible to capture an enemy tank; just keep walking up the screen and a stationary tank flashing ‘IN’ will appear. By standing over it and holding down the fire button, you gain control of the tank and can then proceed to trundle about blowing everything in sight away with virtually no fear of getting shot. However, tank mode does have its bijoux disadvantagettes: Tanks are not very aquatic machines, and so it is necessary to cross a bridge (if there is one) or leave the tank behind if you want to pass. In addition, should a goon hit the tank with a grenade, it will ignite and you have only a few seconds to get out and get out of range before it explodes, sending twisted metal flying everywhere (nasty).
Ikari warriors is a damn good conversion – almost perfect in fact. If anything it is more enjoyable to play, as you do not have to put up with those crappy ‘stump’ joysticks that the coin-op (and its sci-fi sequel Victory Road) were inflicted with. The graphics are well-defined and brightly coloured, and combine well with the cutesy sound effects just like its arcade daddy.
And for those who absolutely must have a comparison, Ikari is a much better game than Leatherneck and a thoroughly impressive version to boot. Brilliant.
CU Amiga, August 1988, p.47
Elite, £24.99 disk
dynamic duo of crack commandos have received a desperate mayday plea from a commander of the US forces, who has been captured by a vicious 'n' nasty group of revolutionaries. Unfortunately, their plane crashes before reaching its intended destination (perhaps our hasty heroes should have remembered to take a pilot with them), leaving miles of hostile, soldier-infested jungle between them and General Bonn. The only available course of action is to hack a path through the undergrowth.
You and a friend take up the story in simultaneous two-player shoot 'em up action (wild-eyed loners are catered for by a one-man frenzied fire 'n' fight option). The vertically scrolling jungle scenes reveal enemy bunkers, bridges, forts and gun emplacements amongst the natural features of rivers, sandbanks and various types of foliage – jampacked with guerilla soldiers, tanks and helicopters.
Foot soldiers can be killed with a single bullet but hostile vehicles and outposts need to be tackled by grenade. Both types of ammunition are limited. Luckily, destroying gun emplacements or red soldiers leaves a flashing icon, which can provide extra supplies and firepower and bonus lives or fuel.
Fuel prolongs the life of empty tanks boarded by the warrior. They are easily identifiable by the word 'IN' on their turret (apparently big flashing neon signs are the height of fashion for the tank-about-jungle this summer). Once aboard, you are impervious to bullets but a grenade or enemy shell will irreparably damage your tank (a plume of smoke emerges from the turret). You only have a few seconds to bail out before you're blown into small, gristly pieces.
Zzap, Issue 44, November 1988, p.70