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Elite Systems Ltd
1988
Arcade: Shoot-em-up
£12.99
£8.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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48
Jonathan Davies
Chris Bourne

You can burn em, rip 'em in two; you could even beat 'em' till they're black an' blue. What ever you do, they wont go away, scrolling shoot-'em-ups are here to stay!

Ah, nothing like a bit of hip-hop to start a review, eh? Okay, so it was more like rap with a capital C, but at least it was different. Which is one thing Ikari Warriors isn't, but it's certainly a darned nifty game.

Remember Commando? It was released years ago, but it's still one of the best coin-op conversions around. Well, Ikari Warriors is the much-rumoured sequel, which has finally appeared after months of anguished waiting for all the other versions to be finished.

So what's new? Well, there's a plot for a start. You've received an SOS call from General Alexander Bonn, CIOF of the US Forces in Central America, saying that he's been captured by revolutionaries. If it's not too much trouble, he'd really like someone to come and get him out. So off you go, but Oops! You crash your plane, and have to walk through the jungle, either alone or with a friend, to the base where he's being held.

Needless to say, the jungles saturated with baddies, each with their own portable arsenal of nasty weapons. You'll have to fight back, using your standard issue machine gun, grenade launcher and red headband.

And I haven't had so much fun in ages! Not since I last connected my pet gerbil to the mains, anyway. (Letters of complaint to the editor as usual, please). Elite has managed to cram oodles of action into what could have been just another scroller.

Yeah, well, so the graphics are a bit iffy in places, and most of the colours been left out this time round, but who cares? Everything's so fast moving you don't really have time to complain about the crummy-looking hunk you're controlling, and at least the scrollings up to scratch.

There are plenty of improvements over the original, the two-player option being the most obvious. Being a solitary kinda guy (sob!) I didn't get much of a chance to try it out, but no doubt it adds a lot to the game.

No arguing over who gets to waggle the joystick, though! While on the move you'll notice fuel and weapons being left behind by the enemy as you wipe them out. The function of the extra ammo is pretty obvious, but the fuel? Surely our hero hasn't taken to sniffing petrol to calm his nerves? Certainly not. It's to fill up the enemy tanks you'll find knocking around. Ambush one, and you'll be able to drive it round to your hearts content, squashing soldiers under foot and watching their bullets bounce off your armour. My wings are like a shield of steel! (Obscure Batfink reference.)

Also making their first appearance on the small-screen are rivers. These can be waded through, but watch out for sub-aqua snipers who pop up at the nastiest of moments, and you'll have problems if you try crossing one in a tank. Further on in the game you'll find enemy tanks and even a rather rinky helicopter to deal with.

And fortunately all this programming effort hasn't gone to waste. just the right balance of playability, difficulty and pure mass destruction has been achieved, and, to use an all-time great reviewing cliche, it'll keep you coming back for more.

Once again, Elite has come up trumps with this one (another cliche to tick off), and when you see the size of the box its packed in, it could even be considered as good value.

Maybe with a few extra touches of originality (difficult in a conversion, I know), Ikari Warriors could have hit the top of the Clapometer, but as it stands, no-one's gonna be disappointed.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I feel like another crack at that helicopter, and I still haven't found out what "Ikari" means, or even how to pronounce it!

"Pure, unadulterated destruction, all wrapped up in one hell of a good game. Just watch those pixels fly!"

7/10
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