Commodore User1st April 1988
Published in Commodore User #55
I was half heartedly expecting a busty, semi-naked blonde to burst out of Elite's shiny presentation box, wrap her arms around me and plant a multitude of sensuous smackers about my person before exclaiming 'April Fool!' But no such luck. Inside there really was a disk bearing the words Ikari Warriors, and - surprisingly - it wasn't blank.
Yes, after eighteen or so months of delays, hype, excuses and the like, Elite have released the long and eagerly awaited C64 conversion of SNK's cult coin-op. So was it worth the wait? Weeeeell...
Ikari Warriors is basically a glorified version of Capcom's Commando, albeit with an important difference: you can have two players fighting together on-screen at the same time. It has spawned many clones, amongst them two graphically different but otherwise virtually identical sequels from SNK - Victory Road and Guerilla Wars. (Incidentally, Imagine's conversion of the former has been delayed somewhat. Funnily enough, Imagine's conversion of SNK's Tank was continually delayed and has yet to appear... It looks like Elite has a first on their hands, the first ever SNK conversion to be released on the C64.
As the scenario would have it, crack commandos Paul and Vince [They sound pretty evil! - Ed] are on a mission - to rescue General Alexander Bonn, currently in the hands of a band of raucous revolutionaries. This task involves negotiating roughly 75 screens' worth of horizontally scrolling landscape, infested with enemy soldiers, helicopters, tanks, gun emplacements and even more enemy soldiers.
Bullets and grenades are in short supply, although extra supplies can be acquired along the way, along with special features, such as long range firing, faster firing, high explosive grenades, and a smart bomb which destroys all enemy soldiers on screen. But that's not all... dotted about the landscape are unmanned tanks, just waiting for you to get inside them and dish out a hefty dose of death to anyone foolish enough to get in the way. But all good things have to come to an end - and you can't drive the tank forever. An accurate hit with a grenade sets the tank alight, and if you don't bale out quick then you're dead meat.
It must be said, the coin-op was nothing special. Its popularity was more down to, what was at the time, the fairly unique simultaneous two-player action, as opposed to any dazzling gameplay elements. I found this conversion just as playable for the same reason. It's considerably more difficult, especially as you can shoot your partner, but even so it's all good, old fashioned shoot-'em-up fun and frolics throughout.
The graphics and sound are unimpressive - more so the former, as the title screen credits four people as being responsible. Apparently it took Elite a year to do them, which is a waste. Had they been better then it might have pushed this into the Screen Star category.