Out of all the old SNK pre-Neo-Geo arcade classics that are now available to download on PS3 and PSP as PS Minis, I bet Ikari Warriors will be the most downloaded. It was a 2-D vertically scrolling shooter starring two Rambo-esque army dudes as they shot guns and threw grenades at enemies in fortified jungle fortresses.
Similar to other arcade games like Commando, you must travel upwards through the wilderness, blasting enemy soldiers and blockades along the way. You can aim your gun in eight directions to fire at soldiers from all sides. Throw a limited supply of grenades to blow up buildings and groups of enemies. Collect power-ups to increase your firepower. Sometimes you can climb in a tank for better shots and defense. Just make sure to hop out of it before it runs out of energy and explodes!
This port of Ikari Warriors has a couple of problems, though. There are two control options for aiming your gun, and both have their advantages and disadvantages. You can either use the L and R buttons to rotate your gun, or automatically aim whatever direction you’re moving. It would’ve been nice if you could have done the latter, but had the option to strafe when you wanted to shoot in one direction.
The other problem is the two-player mode, or lack thereof. Ikari Warriors was most fun with two players, but they failed to address that in the emulation of this arcade port. It’s understandable that they didn’t do this for the PSP, but why not when you play it on the PS3? If you can do two players, I haven’t figured it out yet. Picking up the second controller just lets you control the first player, no matter how many quarters you put in. But if you don’t mind just playing solo, Ikari Warriors is still a fun arcade game after all these years.
Here are some interesting facts about Ikari Warriors. Even though the NES version calls them Paul and Vince, the actual names of the heroes are Ralf and Clark. And they’ve appeared in more recent SNK games like the Metal Slug and King of Fighters series!
Ikari Warriors is rated E-10 with an ESRB descriptor of Fantasy Violence. Even though you shoot and blow up enemies with grenades, the bad guys just wiggle, fall over, and disappear when defeated, as do the heroes. The simple visuals keep the violence from looking too graphic anyway. It’s a shame there’s no two player support, but luckily there are limitless continues so it won’t get too frustrating for kids. The controls are a little more complex, and the only time reading skill is helpful is when you lose all your lives, there is text to tell you that you need to hold the fire button to continue.