Bad Dudes
Release year - USA:1989
Company: Data East
System: NES
Genre: Beat 'em up
Players: 1-2 (non simultaneous)

Review by: PrimeOp


Data East's mix of single-plane brawling action and late eighties American action flick vibe led to their hit, Bad Dudes. The game was big enough to find its way to the Famicom and the Nintendo Entertainment System, or else this review wouldn't be here, would it?

The deadly Dragon Ninja clan has kidnapped the president of the United States. Blade and Striker are sent on the mission to rescue the President while destroying the Dragon Ninja. That won't be a very easy task, because you'll be swarmed by a bloodthirsty rainbow of ninja who are color coded by power for your convenience. While the blue ninja are fist and foot fodder, the grey ninja will either throw a shuriken or drop floor spikes (which you can kick out of the way), and the red ninja will leave an item or weapon if you kill them. More dangerous are foes like the clawed ninja and the ninja who leap into the air and try to land sword first in your head. Ouch. There are also kunoichi (female ninja) who wear fishnets and rarely seem to hit anyone. The great bosses in this game include a Legion of Doom/Road Warrior rip-off (slyly named Animal), a ninja who has mastered the art of sending his duplicates to do his dirty work and the infamous Karnov, who makes yet another cameo as a bad guy in a Data East game. Luckily, killing those red ninja that I spoke of earlier might earn you a weapon like some nunchuku or a knife, and you'll need every advantage you can get.
'...and I'm notorious, I'll crush you like a jellybean! I'm BAD!


Just like Be Be's Kids, this boss doesn't just die... it multiplies.
The programmers did a fine job preserving the arcade look on the NES. While some arcade-to-NES ports featured slightly-cartoonish graphics to fit the NES limitations (like the Double Dragon games), the sprites here look very much like the arcade's set. This game also boasts some of the most detailed backgrounds I've seen in an NES game. The sounds are just decent and include a scratchy sample of the classic "I'm Bad!" from the arcade game. A very welcomed bonus indeed. My only complaint about the game is that it feels a bit stilted as you walk; you can't just take a pixel's width step like you do in most games, forcing you to move a few pixels forward with a tap of the control pad. The rest of the controls are responsive though. Holding down the attack button will charge your bad dude with chi and releasing the button let's him deliver a very damaging punch. You've got to pick the times that you're going to do this, because your attacks seem to have a much shorter range here than in the arcade. Unfortunately, they weren't able to have 2-player co-op here, but it feels less empty due to the single-plane playfield.

The graphics are great, but the control feels a bit stiff. It's still one of the better NES-to-arcade conversions out there and worth picking up, especially for fans of the arcade game.

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