STORY / GAMEPLAY
The game is also known as Bad Dudes Vs. Dragon Ninja. Your quest 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, set off to find and kill Dragon Ninja. You fight your way through city streets, highways, sewers, train stations, forests, and even caves in order to spot the secret ninja base and rescue the president. But the Ninjas attack you in hordes (!). Other enemies vary from Road Warrior hooligans, dogs or even Karnov himself from the synonymous Data East game! The game offers seven stages through which you can pick up a Nunchaku, a knife or a sword to use against the foes. You can run and jump on several platforms, punch and kick the baddies while there are extra energy points left around, along with a few precious extra-time capsules (each stage must be completed before time runs out) and several other power-ups like soda cans that can partially restore your health. Note that, the game is heavily inspired by Shinobi and Double Dragon. The most disappointing aspect of this home conversion is that the 8-bit ports miss the two-players co-operative mode found on the arcade; they instead have an alternating two-player mode. More on that, jumping up or down to another tier isn't as responsive as it could and the combat can be a bit cumbersome. Also, strangely enough, the CPC port depicts a different introductory screen than any other home conversion, largely inspired by a famous Bruce Lee picture, yet this has nothing to do with the game...! Dragon Ninja is a difficult beat em up title, yet not that impossible to finish.
GRAPHICS / SOUND
The Spectrum (ZX) conversion has some limitations in its visuals and the gameplay area runs in black & white. There are only a few colors around the gameplay frame and the status panel at the bottom of the screen and the sprites look a bit "blocky". Note that the Spectrum conversion plays better than the CPC, offering smoother gameplay and a bit faster action! Soundwise, the 128k version is decent, with a nice intro tune and a great in-game music along with a few simplistic sound effects when hitting the enemies.