Ikari Warriors is a vertical-scrolling shoot 'em up game developed by SNK for the arcades in 1986. A year later, the game was converted to several gaming consoles and home computers such as the Apple II, Amiga, Atari ST, Acorn Electron, Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro, C64, MSX2, ZX Spectrum, Nintendo NES, Atari 2600 and Atari 7800. The NES version was developed by Micronics.
STORY / GAMEPLAY
During a special-ops mission, your plane crashes in a jungle many miles away from your headquarters and this hostile jungle is your starting point of action! You can play the game alone by choosing one of the two available commandos (Ralf or Clark) and there is also the option to play the game with a friend in a 2-players mode. Your main mission is to shoot your way to the Ikari Village and destroy the enemy forces (which vary among soldiers, tanks, cannons and more). Your main weapon is a machine gun and you also carry a limited supply of hand grenades that, thankfully, can be restored by destroying enemy buildings and barracks. Additionally, the game offers the opportunity to ride a battle tank and bomb everything on sight. Your tank is immune to bullets but vulnerable to mines and cannons. This means that you must immediately abandon it once it's badly damaged. In that case, the tank will start to warn you by flashing and you have 3 seconds -or so- to get out and go away from it, otherwise you'll be killed by the explosion. The fuel is limited but you can replenish it with extra gallons found along your way. Ikari Warriors is a unique arcade shooter for its time and many similar games that followed were actually based on its formula. It was SNK's attempt to "out-gun" Capcom's great Commando arcade game, a title that plays the same way but lacks some features like the use of a Tank.
GRAPHICS / SOUND The Atari ST conversion is quite good and includes the arcade introduction with your plane crashing into the jungle plus most of the original stages details. The sprites' animation is fine but the screen scrolling could have been better since it sometimes suffers from slowdowns. But this is a 1987 game so the programmers probably did not use the full potential of the 16bit Atari computer so technically the game's graphics look like a (nice) conversion from the 8bit. The sound on the ST might not have sampled data (found only on the Amiga version) but remains pleasant, including the original tune and several sound effects like gunfire, explosions and mine alert sounds.
CPU: Motorola 68000 16/32bit at 8mhz. 16 bit data bus/32 bit internal/24-bit address bus. MEMORY: RAM 512KB (1MB for the 1040ST models) / ROM 192KB GRAPHICS: Digital-to-Analog Converter of 3-bits, eight levels per RGB channel, featuring a 9-bit RGB palette (512 colors), 320x200 (16 color), 640x200 (4 color), 640x400 (monochrome). With special programming techniques could display 512 colors on screen in static images. SOUND: Yamaha YM2149F PSG "Programmable Sound Generator" chip provided 3-voice sound synthesis, plus 1-voice white noise mono PSG. It also has two MIDI ports, and support mixed YM2149 sfx and MIDI music in gaming (there are several games supported this).