Ikari Warriors logo

I FIRST saw this game in an arcade nearly two years ago and became thoroughly hooked by SNK's attempt to out-gun Capcom's Commando. Elite snapped up the rights 18 months ago to convert it to every major format. The Amiga version has taken its time, but the wait has most definitely been worthwhile.

Play starts with your plane crashing in jungle many miles away from your headquarters. Equipped with a machine gun and a limited supply of grenades, you must fight your way home from deep inside guerrilla territory. Grenades and fuel can be replenished by collecting tokens left by the retreating enemy.

To make matters a little more interesting than Leatherneck or Commando, you can climb into a tank. Provided you have enough fuel and armaments the tank can be used to blast through enemy defences and cause mass destruction.
A novel idea at the time, but now superseded by the Leatherneck's four player feature, was the ability for two players to participate in the action, helping each other in much the same way as Gauntlet. The two player feature in Ikari is more fun than Leatherneck because there's more room to manoeuvre and you can't shoot each other in the back.

The gameplay is, as far as I can remember, practically identical to the arcade version. Even the superb animation of enemy deaths has been included. Graphically the game is not quite as good as the coin-op but the scrolling is smooth and the presentation clear. Ikari on the Amiga excels in the sound. Paul provides a carbon copy of the arcade soundtrack.

Although the game is over two years old, it's still a classic. If you haven't seen the coin-op you could be in for a very special treat. If you have played on the machine you'll feel safe buying one of the most polished and authentic arcade conversions to appear on the Amiga.

Ikari Warriors logo CU Amiga Screen Star

Price: £24.99

Hot 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.

Ikari Warriors logo

Elite, £24.99 Disk

A 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.
Isn't war hell?

Gordon Houghton You might think that a version of Ikari Warriors released six months after the 64 version (itself already a year late) would be not worth much attention. However, if you liked the arcade version, and can consider shelling out £25 for an almost identical copy, this is for you. The audio effects aren't all that good, but the graphics are spot on, and action fast and furious. Without putting too fine a point on it, this is almost like having the arcade game on your own computer. The difficulty level is set perfectly, so that you just progress enough to want to have another go. It's not the best game on the Amiga, nor does it fully justify its high price tag, but if you're looking for some simple Commando-style maiming, buy it.
Maff Evans Ever since I saw Ikari Warriors in the arcades, I hoped someone would release a home version. My hopes were raised when Elite announced that they were due to release a 64 version back in November 1986, a little while before the game actually appeared (snigger!) to an enthusiastic reception. Now we have the Amiga conversion, with its improved graphics and sound - and thankfully the enjoyable gameplay has been retained. The graphics are very good, perfectly capturing the feel of the coin-op original. The difficulty is set just about right, allowing you to progress a little further with each game, so that your interest is maintained over a long period of time. Ikari Warriors is an excellent arcade conversion and a cracking game in its own right.
Paul Glancey Death! Murder! Maim! Kill! Disfigure! (Excuse me while I psyche myself up for this critique). UUUWWYYAAGHH!! (That's better). As you can tell, it takes a lot to rouse the homicidal maniac in me, and Ikari Warriors comes reasonably close to achieving that. The machine-gunning action has a definite bloody appeal and, as usual, two-player action boosts the playability no end. It's fortunate that gameplay is so strong, in fact, as the graphics are rather too jolly to create the necessary air of menace, and the military soundtrack isn't really very rousing. Still, fans of the arcade game should be well pleased to hear that the joystick control benefits greatly from the absence of the coin-op's unwieldy twist joystick. At this price, I would hardly call Ikari Warriors an essential purchase, but it has much to offer hardened arcadesters.