The Snake Becomes The Key

Retro Gaming Humour

Ikari Warriors Vs Gauntlet, the ultimate top-down show down.

Words:StuartHunt

So Chris recently opened up, bared his soul, and let you all in on his favourite top-down multiplayer scroller of all time, Gauntlet. I felt it only fair that I write a post about mine – the amazingly addictive, remarkably ridiculous Ikari Warriors.

We decided we would make this and our last post (Gauntlet) a bit of a playoff and ask you guys to decide which game you think was the better top-down shooter; in our first (and possibly last, if we get no interest) SBTK CPC PLAYOFF CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS 2007, OF CATEGORY:TOP DOWN SHOOTER. Exciting? Yes. Pointless? Probably.

So decide who puts up the best case for their chosen game, send us your votes via comments, and we shall declare the winner in a few weeks.

Imagine what might have happened if Mario and Luigi had been drafted into the army during the ‘80s and the plug was pulled from their aspirations of world plumber domination. What if, instead of getting warped into Mushroom Kingdom, they were mistakenly transported to an SAS training camp, pumped with muscle budding steroids, forced to train as mercenaries, and sent on a kamikaze mission to defeat an army of idiots. Well, thanks to the guys at SNK, for a jaw-dropping price, affluent NeoGeo owners could find out. For a far more modest £2.99, CPC owners were able to get quite a nice peek at the action too…

Ikari Warriors was a top down shooter that played out very similar to Capcom/Elites classic god-perspective war game, Commando. There were a plethora of inferior imitations doing the rounds after Commando’s release but Ikari Warriors improved on the formula. It had a fantastic two-player mode and a nifty variable control system which allowed your character to either fire in the direction he was walking or statically shoot in one direction while strafing in another. It was also the first game (I can remember) that allowed you to drive vehicles, and the earliest to give us THE ultimate gift from the god of power-ups: the tank; it might have looked like a bowling ball firing grey square but when it first encroached onto the screen, the firing and strafing soon became neglected for a mad dash to reach it, jump inside, and mow down militia. When inside, the play changed into a frantic plight to hold onto it for as long as possible by avoiding stray enemy grenades and filling up its moped sized fuel gauge, while trying to find the power-up to change its ammunition from bowling balls to explosive cigars.

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The fireworks display went down well with the pygmy policemen.

The Ikari twins weren’t the sharpest soldiers to ever grace a battlefield and ‘strategy’ is a word I wouldn’t advise using in their presence. I can visualize one of them would keep you talking, while the other started a war, commandeered a tank, won the campaign and then hastily raced back to repeatedly drive over your head for containing such a sissy brain. It seems all the pages containing the words tactics, fear, and bullet-proof vest, were ripped from the Ikari Art of War and burned from the heat generated from the brothers anger. When facing a 1000 mile barricade of missile launching, ninja-attired soldiers, land mines, grenades and tanks, their plan of attack is simple: stroll right through the middle of them, armed with a shaved chest and ONE gun.

To be fair, their blue enemies were never going to win the Nobel Anti-Peace Prize and should know better than to leave the keys inside a squadron of infinite missile loaded tanks, whose turrets are irresponsibly pointing in their direction. Your brain deficient foes seem to display the same bizarre attraction for tank treads as flies do for halogen light bulbs, appearing quite content to run under your tank like passive suicide bombers. They are also quite the performers; whether it be taking a bullet to the crotch or heading a lobbed grenade, their immediate reaction isn’t to scream in agony, flash, or annoyingly regenerate, but rather keep morale levels elevated with an entertaining pirouette for their band of brothers.

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The world’s largest staple brought a lot of tourism to the jungle.

The game had two main power ups: one increased the reach of your gun and the other the number of grenades in your inventory. These could be found by taking out an enemy building using a well-aimed grenade or callously shooting the poor green soldiers thrown into the battle without any weapons. These green berets were always surrounded by an entourage of blue soldier jerks, presenting them to the player like a sacrificial lamb to the slaughter, circling him like a highlighter pen or a neat human dart board and making it easy to sap the poor sapper.

Many will argue that Ikari Warriors was simply a game of mindless violence that invoked tank kidnapping and bandana wearing. The bandana wearing I can’t excuse, there really is no defence for donning such stupid head attire – even if you can single handily win a war – but mindless violence! I don‘t agree. As I close this article however, my split personality is putting the finishing touches to a Nintendo Wii tank, which through arm jolts, hand waves, and somersaults, I hope to run over Gauntlets big wizardly head and win this war.

So the question we are debating here is whether Ikari Warriors is a better game than Gauntlet? Ikari had guns, tanks and ammunition-dumps loaded with playability. Gauntlet was a great game and the CPC conversion was awesome but you can’t deny it was like playing out the dream of a Dungeon and Dragons geek – without the hassle of changing soiled sheets… that sentence will sound harsh, especially to many Gauntlet lovers (Chris), but I’m taking no prisoners and backing Ikari all the way in this, our first, SBTK CPC PLAYOFF CHAMPION OF CHAMPIONS 2007, OF CATEGORY: TOP DOWN SHOOTER.

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March 27, 2007 Posted by | shoot-em up, Stuart Hunt | 3 Comments