Retro Game of the Day! Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road
Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road by SNK, released to the arcades in 1986 and ported to the NES in 1988.
Alright! Ikari Warriors! One of the OG Nintendo games, love it or hate it, many of us played it and had a decent time with it. In due time SNK rolled out a sequel, how did that turn out? Read on and see.
The first Ikari was a pretty straight-forward military themed action shooting game. Advance up the screen, blast troops, dodge enemy fire. Basic, but fulfilling. Compared to rival game Commando, Ikari was a little nicer with it's multitudes of enemy variations, 2-Player simultaneous combat, and extremely long levels (not to mention the arcade's rotary dial sticks). And tanks! It was definitely noteworthy when a sequel was announced; unfortunately, the sequel chucked a lot of what worked so well in the first game and there was a pretty haphazard presentation in its place.
The new game takes place in a futuristic fantasy setting, instead of fighting enemy soldiers you are tasked with blasting vampires, mutants, and monsters. That's fine; unfortunately, most of the designs just look strange and everything animates very sloppily. Worse yet, the gameplay generally feels sluggish and loose. You keep playing "just to keep playing," but the motivation to keep going and see further levels never really gets terribly compelling.
Still, it's not a horrible game. History has not been kind to the Ikari franchise, but honestly there were not that many games where you could mindlessly just walk and blast for hours, and the Ikari series did fill a niche. Sadly they could have crafted a much more compelling argument if there was a little more TLC here, instead what we have is rather forgettable, if quite strange. Amazingly, as a kid I sat through the opening cinemas which are texted out in real-time morse code. What was wrong with me?