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LONG BLOG

Ikari Warriors fails the Test of Time.

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I'll be honest, the Ikari Warriors guide isn't exactly finished. And the truth is, I don't really plan to finish it. The reason? I just refuse to do a walkthrough for that game. And I'm just talking about the single stage of the arcade version. Forget the NES version and it's four stages of pure torture.

Did everybody love this game in 1986? Hell yes. It was raw, it was gritty, it let you fire and walk in totally different directions. Letters appeared from dead soldiers bodies for no reason, and they powered you up. Everything exploded; your grenades, the tanks, the turrets, the gates, and probably a whole bunch of other things I can't remember. You could run out of bullets but unless you were retarded, you probably didn't. You could play at the same time as your buddy. Look, you could get inside the tank and run your enemies over. The tank even TOLD you to get inside. Commando never had that much power.



But what about today? Do you think you would see this thing on Xbox Live or the Wii's VC? Not if whoever is in charge of these decisions has a brain. Now, I know I will get shot for saying that, especially from all the SNK lovers, but let's face it. This is one extraordinary example of a game that was beyond hot in it's day, but simply hasn't stood the test of time. And to make matters worse, most of you will probably remember the NES version, not the original arcade version.



What went wrong here? Yes, the NES didn't have a rotary controller, so yes, the NES had to change the control scheme. But forcing the player to turn through every angle before facing the desired direction was like putting a "kick me" sign on the back of the player. Everything moved soooooo sloooooowly. The Atari 7800 version of the game was better, and that's not something you hear people say every day. (And the Atari 2600 version... what were they smoking when they green-lighted that project?)

So who was to blame for that monstrosity of unfortunatude? Not SNK actually. The game was done by a group called Micronics , the same group responsible for the NES conversion of Athena, and the abominable Super Pitfall. Now, not all of Micronics works were terrible. 1942 and Ghost n' Goblins stood the test of time alright, if you can overlook the cruel difficulty factor that makes beating the game without an emulator and save states virtually impossible. Thank goodness for that super quick and easy A, B, B, A continue code they added to Ikari Warriors. If not for that, I don't think most people would have made it out of the first stage before realizing that the game wasn't over and they had to do another level. I think most people turned it off at that point.

Thank goodness Ralf and Clark have moved on to bigger and better things, like competing in nearly every King of Fighters tournament for no apparent reason, and guest staring in the latest Metal Slug games. So if anyone is really still in love with this game, and would like to write a walkthrough for it (I'm looking at you Hitogoroshi), please be my guest. I just can't put myself through that kind of pain.

Next up, the first Dragon Ball game on the NES, Dragon Ball: Shenron no Nazo, aka Dragon Power in the US.
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About Procyonone of us since 10:16 AM on 12.08.2006



My name is Scott. I've been playing video games since my hands were big enough to hold a joystick. I started with the Atari 2600, and graduated to the Atari 800 computer where I taught myself how to program in BASIC. I eventually got a NES, and later a Game Boy. The first summer I ever worked, I was a CIT at the day camp I attended. I worked all summer long to save up enough money to buy the SNES the very day it came out.

I attended college at the University of Pennsylvania. I was introduced to the internet my freshman year in 1993, and I fast became a console pirate, purchasing a copier and downloading ROMs off of IRC channels. Good times. In my senior year, I purchased the N64 as soon as the street date was broken, and skipped classes for the next three days to play Mario 64. I also bought a used PSX the same year.

After I graduated with a degree in Computer Science and a degree in Psychology, I was accepted to Digipen. I was part of the very last class that attended the school in Vancouver, before they moved the campus to Nintendo of America's HQ in Redmond Washington (across the street from Microsoft). After completing the program, I got my very first job as a programmer at Ubisoft.

I lucked out with Ubisoft because they were actually opening a studio near my hometown in NYC, so I actually landed my dream job and got to live on the east coast near my family. I worked on Batman: Vengence. I met a number of cool people, but the only one I still keep in touch with happens to be a buddy of mine who was the lead designer on "Army of Two." He is without a doubt, the greatest game designer I have ever had the privilege of working with.

The studio in NYC didn't pan out for Ubisoft, and they decided to fold the team up to Montreal. After living in Vancouver for a year and a half, I decided I had enough of Canada, so I stayed in the NYC office, which transformed into GameLoft. I stayed there until me and the buddy I mentioned landed a job at 3DO. We both moved out to Redwood City and started working there.

3DO wasn't a great company, but it wasn't terrible, and I met a crew of people who became some of the greatest friends that I have ever had. I worked on Dragon Rage, which was being led by Kudo Tsunoda. He told the execs that it was going to be an Army Men game with an art asset swap, and it would take 6 months to complete. The truth was we were building a new engine from scratch, and it would really take a year to get it done right. When the six months were up, the execs asked for the game, and we weren't even close to finished, so we had to do 12 hours days, 6 days a week until the game was finished. 3 months later, nobody cared about it anymore, and it went straight to the budget bin.

3DO closed down very shortly after. While I was at 3DO, I got to know two people who amazed me: Howard Scott Warshaw and Tod Frye, two of the original Atari 2600 programmers. Getting to meet them and talk with them about "the good old days" at Atari was an amazing thing to me. (I totally recommend visiting Howard's site, Once Upon Atari and ordering his DVD about what those days were like.) I still run in to Howard infrequently at retrogaming conventions and it's always a delight.

After 3DO, I worked for a THQ studio that used to be called (oddly enough) Pacific Coast Power & Light. It's known as Locomotive games today. I was put on the WWE Crush Hour game, the game that was designed to mix the WWE up with Twisted Metal. I created the game's shell and character selection screen. It was actually a pretty cool game, but THQ's love for WWE had cooled down when the game was close to finishing (right after WWF became WWE, the ratings started to tank), so they rushed it and laid off the whole team.

Wishing to return to the east coast, I applied for jobs that I could find there, and actually lucked out with a job opening at Firaxis Games in Hunt Valley, Maryland, home to Sid Meier. When I got there, they were toying with the idea of remaking Pirates, and were prototyping a lot. The results were mixed, and Sid decided to get involved with the development personally. They knew they wanted to make a console version, and they put me on the small team responsible for porting the game to the Xbox. I had doubts about the game, and I wasn't enjoying the tasks I was being given (such as working on the in-game glossary), and things didn't work out. I made a lot of good friends there who I miss working with.

By this time, I had been with four companies in six years, and my girlfriend at the time was in the middle of going to school to get her degree, so I did something drastic: I grew up. I ended up looking for any available programming job, and accepted a position with a UPS owned software company as an algorithm designer. I've been there since 2005, I get paid more money, and work fewer hours than I ever did as a game programmer. But I really miss the creative environment and working with people that I have a lot in common with, i.e. a love and passion for video games.

I am currently own and operate StrategyWiki, which strives to become the best online source of video game guides and walkthroughs anywhere in the world. I am now living in northern Maryland. Welcome to my blog.
Xbox LIVE:ProcyonSJJ


 

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