Ikari Warriors is similar to Rambo II: First Blood for the Sega Master System or Commando by Capcom. Basically, up to two players can team up to blast there way vertically through an enemy army. The goal? Rescue the colonel, who is being held deep within the enemy base. Players will face a constant onslaught of soldiers, helicopters, tanks, and bunkers as they shoot their rifle, toss grenades, and hop into enemy tanks to help even the odds.
As an arcade, this game was designed to give you some entertainment, but also munch away your quarters. Playing through Ikari Warriors by myself must have taken me at least forty continues, and I set the number of lives per continue to five, from the default of three. Granted, I’m not a very good SHMUP player, but suffice it to say that this game is tough. With the number of bullets flying your way and explosions all around on the small playing area, expect to see the death animation a whole lot. Fortunately, SNK decided to let you have as many virtual quarters as you need, so it’s easy enough to sit down and zip right through this game within about thirty minutes. I prefer the option to do that as opposed to, for example, Capcom’s decision to limit continues on Wolf of Battlefield, a PSN game released several years ago. Both are hard as hell, but I never finished Wolf because it was too much of a pain in the ass and not rewarding enough to keep playing.
Anyway, Ikari Warriors, from a design standpoint is simple — controls involve moving, rotating left and right for those tougher angled shots, and pressing the heck out of the ‘fire’ button, which you can set in the options. Speaking of options, besides enabling 5 lives and unlimited continues, you can also enable or disable auto aim and also stretch the screen or have it display in its original ratio. I recommend leaving Auto Aim off and not stretching the screen; when you leave the screen unstretched, the marquee art from the arcade is displayed on the sides (i.e., Ralf on the left, Clark on the right), and it looks cool.
It’s worth a run through if you can handle the difficulty of it, but don’t expect much more out of Ikari Warriors, especially since it lacks the original two player functionality.