Bad Dudes (1989) by Data East
Game Type: Beat-em-up
Players: 1-2 (non simultaneous)

Review by PrimeOp

Double Dragon kick-started the 'beat-em-up' game genre and many companies began to produce games in this same vein. One of the best games from that first wave came from Data East in the form of Bad Dudes. The two player brawler took arcades by storm and Data East wisely ported the game to the NES.

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. You'll need all the help that you can get, too.
'...and I'm notorious, I'll crush you like a jellybean! I'm BAD!
Data East programmers did an incredible job in 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 really take a pixel's width step like you do in most games, but you step forward a few pixels just on one forward 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, NES programming hadn't yet reached the point of being able to have 2-player co-op in this style of game, but that's really the only difference from the arcade game.
Just like Be Be's Kids, this boss doesn't just die... it multiplies.

While I'm only giving this game an overall score of 6 (meaning that it's slightly above average, I still think that this is a great game to pick up for anyone with an NES and a need for a beat-em-up. Er, consider it a more like a 6.5. The graphics great, but the control feels a bit stiff. It's still one of the better NES-to-arcade conversions ever done and worth picking up, especially for fans of the arcade game. This game can be found rather easily for low prices in the usual places: pawn shops, flea markets/swap meets, used game shops, etc. Gameplay 6
Graphics 7
Sound 5
Control 6
Overall 6

Bad Dudes, Dragon Ninja, Karnov and all other related characters © Data East

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