Amstrad Action1st March 1989
Published in Amstrad Action #42
You know what a Ninja is, of course: a man or woman trained to kill, schooled in martial (rather than marital) arts, the use of weapons and ancient poisons. Still, someone's got to have a go, and you are that someone. There is one thing in your favour: you're a Bad (who's bad?) Dude, and you're going to kick some Ninja tail. So it's street fighter garb on - jogging trousers, black vest, head-band and a pair of those fingerless black leather gloves - and get let's r-r-r-ready to r-r-rumble!
The President of the good ol' US of A has been kidnapped and these naughty Ninja are responsible. The American security services, showing infinite belief in their own highly-trained special forces, ask you to go and rescue him, please? Pretty please? (Very reassuring, I must say, the most powerful man m the world has to be rescued by someone called 'Bad Dude'!).
Luckily, Bad Dudes happen to be even better in the kicking, punching and general all-round violence department than the Ninjas - so you do stand a chance, even if it is very slight. This is because, while you've got the strength, they've got the numbers. There's so many at times that you'd swear there was a production line for the blighters back in Japan (I can see the headlines now: Cheap Ninja Imports Flood World Psychopath Market).
Things start badly and rapidly get worse. There you are taking a stroll across the horizontally scrolling screen, and all of a sudden a marauding gang of killers leap out. So you have no choice but to beat them into submission. No sooner have you finished dusting your trackie bottoms off though, than the rest of the Dragon Ninja Fan club turn up. So same as before, a few well-placed blows and down they go, accompanied by some supposedly bone-crunching sound effects.
This continues, punctuated only by the chance to punch women (obviously equal opportunities violence) and kick a dog (the dog's worth more points!) until the end of the stage is reached. Then the skittle people stop, and along comes the real meanie. Now things get really tough, because this guy, despite his rather out-of-condition appearance, doesn't collapse after the first punch, or the second, but keeps on slugging. Never mind. You're a bad dude, you can handle it.
Now as players of this style of game know very well, to improve your chances of survival there is ample opportunity to increase your already noteworthy array of death-dealing abilities. For when your litter lout foes drop their weapons, you can retrieve the chain, knife or whatever and put them to good use. Ninja-pulping.
Having bashed, thrashed, mashed and trashed your way to the end of each section and made mincemeat of the big (and I mean big!) guy at the end of the level, the location changes but the tempo remains the same. Fast and furious again, only this time situated on top rolling trailers, so extra care has to be taken when leaping between compartments. Lose one life too many now and you'll never make it, and hours of endless carnage will have been missed.
The number of lives, health, time remaining (no slacking here, it is high speed aggression on demand), as well as the strength of your current foe, are all illustrated on a very basic panel below the main action screen. Not that this is that important, to the accomplished Bad Dude, since there are extra energy points casually left lying around, just are there are time capsules. These allow you more time on the stage, not only to complete it but to commit more acts of senseless violence.
Dragon Dudes Vs. Bad Ninja is a high speed foray into the realms of an extremely violent fantasy indeed, its arcade nature ever present in the speed of each level. In fact, every encounter is at such a pace that survival is measured in minutes and is not considered an option. This can be frustrating at first as while learning the way (of the Dragon) the game is played, all you do is keep the undertakers on overtime.
This game is just the kind of thing Mrs Whitehouse, Geoffrey Dickens and Wm ACC Smith would like young people protected from, and I have to admit a certain queasiness about it myself. Still, I've always believed that games players' abilities to distinguish fantasy from reality is considerably better than that of politicians and soapbox censors. This is not the ideal way for those people who detest gratuitous violence in computer games to spend a Sunday afternoon. But if the brain needs a rest, and you've some aggression to work out, punch up the game and not the neighbours. People, whoever they are, feel pain just as much as you do: sprites don't.
First Day Target Score
Complete level two
Quite a good game with the sound effects and the graphics. You could pick up useful weapons e.g. a type of sword. One thing that I didn't like was that the game ended quite quickly. - Gavin Hawkins (11)
I liked the game, especially the graphics which were excellent. The range of opposition isn't overwhelming. The sound is also reasonable a very addictive, easy-to-play game. Overall good value. - David Patient (12)
The Screen In Green
No plobrem, glasshopper!
Graphics 77% N. Big bold sprites: but a bit too blocky.Sonics 61% N. Very oriental opening theme. P. Lots of audible violence.
Grab Factor 63% N. Fun, but fatal too fast.
Staying Power 69% N. Not much variety. N. Almost too much action.
Overall 68% P. An above average Kung Fu slug-it-out.