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Game info

Dragon Ninja

Dragon Ninja
GenreBeat em Up
Developer / PublisherImagine Software
Media1 x tape
Reviewed byndial
Dragon Ninja (also known as Bad Dudes VS Dragon Ninja) is a beat 'em up arcade game released on 1988 by Data East for coin-ops, and ported to the 16/8 bit home computers and video-game consoles by Imagine Software.
Dragon NinjaThe game is primarily known as Bad Dudes Vs. Dragon Ninja. The game starts in New York City, where President Ronnie (based on former U.S. President Ronald Reagan) has been kidnapped by the Dragon Ninja and his thugs (well most of them are Ninjas too). You, as a member of the 'Bad Dudes' team, are going after Dragon Ninja and chasing him through the city streets, highway, sewers, transport train, forest, and caves in order to reach the secret ninja base and help the president. Incoming Ninjas come in hordes (!) and, wearing traditional green, blue, and red outfits that history usually depicts them in black. Other enemies vary from Road Warrior hooligans, dogs, and even Karnov from the eponymous Data East game! The game offers seven stages through which you may pick up the Nunchaku, knife or sword to use against the foes.
Gameplay takes place by running and jumping on several platforms, punching and kicking foes, whilst there are extra energy points casually left lying around, along with a few precious extra-time capsules (each stage must be completed before time runs out) and several other power-ups as soda cans that restore some health.
Note that, the game was heavily inspired by the game Shinobi and Double Dragon (both by Sega) in terms of gameplay. The most disappointing aspect of this home conversion is that, the 8-bit ports lacked the two-player co-operative mode of the arcades, instead having an alternating two-player mode. Note that the Commodore port runs fluidly, and the action is much faster than the CPC and Spectrum ZX conversions. Jumping up or down to another tier is quite responsive here (as it should be), and the combat is fast.
Dragon Ninja is quite a difficult beat em up title, yet not that impossible to finish.

The C64 version has nice and colorful graphics, and offers pretty detailed backdrops and nicely drawn sprites in contrast to the CPC port. Sprites move fast and smooth on screen, whilst screen scrolling is quite smooth. Backdrops here are more detailed than any other 8bit conversion.
The sound is fine too, having an excellent tune during gameplay, and a few simplistic sound effects when hitting a foe. The introductory tune is well composed here too.
  • Dragon Ninja
  • Dragon Ninja
  • Dragon Ninja
  • Dragon Ninja
Sound samples
Intro music:  In-game sound:
Gameplay sample
Some videos belong to (indicated); others not
Comparable platforms
Amstrad CPC
Commodore C64
Sinclair ZX Spectrum
Hardware information

Commodore 64/128/Plus4

Commodore 64/128/Plus4CPU: C64 MOS Technology 6510 1.02MHz (NTSC version), 0.985MHz (PAL version) / C128-D MOS 8502 2MHz, Zilog Z80A 4MHz
MEMORY: 64 KB or 128 KB RAM Expandable to 320-640 KB / 20KB ROM
GRAPHICS: VIC II 16 colors, 320x200 (2 unique colors in each 8x8 pixel block), 160x200 (3 unique colors + 1 common color in each 4x8 block), 8 hardware sprites, Smooth scrolling
SOUND: MOS Technology 6581/8580 SID, 3-channel synthesizer with programmable ADSR envelope, 8 octaves
The Commodore 64/128/Plus4 (default) color palette
VIC20: 16-colors YPbPr palette (16 on screen)
C64/128: 16-colors YPbPr palette (16 on screen)
C-16,Plus/4: 121-colors YPbPr palette (16 on screen)
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