Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Top 30 Hardest NES Games Ever. Day 30

And the #1 Hardest NES Game Ever is....

Ikari Warriors

I played Ikari Warriors for five hours and barely made it 1/3 of the way to the end of the first level.  Now granted there are only four levels, but if it takes 5 hours to get to the third pole of the first level, and we presume the levels get harder, then this game is officially the hardest NES game of all time.


Your Ikari warrior is made of absolute paper and is instantly killed by interacting with anything in the environment.  I can understand being shot and killed (I mean you are shirtless), but if you touch an enemy soldier, you are dead.  If you are near an explosion, you are dead.  Everything in this game kills you, and kills you fast.  You might even be able to overcome your absolute defenselessness, excepting that there are so many enemies and they come at you from all directions shooting rifles, lobbing grenades, firing mortar rounds, and dropping bombs, that it is impossible not to get caught in the confluence of artillery.  Right from the get go you are swamped by a stream of enemy soldiers and then scattershot by a gunner in a pillbox.  I cannot tell you how many times I died before seeing what was past that pillbox, and this is literally 10 seconds into the game play.
Take a good long look.  This is probably the last time Ikari Warriors will find itself in my NES.  I hate you SNK.

Now generally, the standard tactic in these situations is to go into button mashing mode and just wash the field with gun fire.  Sadly, that strategy does not work in Ikari Warriors because you have a limited ammo supply.  And since touching anything in the game kills you, once you are out of ammo you are effectively dead.  So you have to make every bullet count and firing indiscriminately only leads to your demise.  More ammo can be obtained, so all is not a total loss, but if you get in a tight spot and get panicky, you can very easily end up empty.

The only saving grace in Ikari Warriors are the vehicles.  If you can penetrate deep enough into the jungle, you can acquire a tank and a helicopter.  These vehicles give you increased fire power and a handful of hit points.  While inside you can wreck some serious havoc,  but you have to be careful because your vehicles can run out of fuel or get destroyed by enemy fire.  When that happens you have to jump out quick and run like hell, or you will be killed when the vehicle explodes.  There may be other surprises deeper in the game, but only getting near the half way point in level 1, I may never know what they are.
Where am I in this shot?  Dead, of course.

Because your character is made of paper, and because you only get two lives and no continues, and because the game throws a million enemies at you from all directions in a never ending stream, I declare Ikari Warriors to be the hardest NES game I have ever played.  Anyone who claims they can beat this game without the ABBA code must immediately sit down in front of a TV and prove it.  I suppose the game could be learned if you were able to take it inch by inch, enemy by enemy, and shot by shot, and you had a couple hundred hours to spend, but I honestly cannot imagine anyone who can take that kind of punishment.  It was hard enough for me to sit through that damn plane crash and the first 30 seconds of the game, over and over and over, just to put in my five hours.  Five hours and only 1/3 of the first level completed.  Seriously.  Ikari Warriors, you win.  I suck at video games and you are the master of difficult video games, therefore you are king.  I cannot imagine a game out there that is harder than this one.
Thanks William Whipple!  Couldn't have said it better myself!  See you back here tomorrow kids!


  1. I actually had this game when I was a kid. The box art looked cool and I didn't know any better. The kid across the street and I played through the game using the ABBA code just so that we could see the end. We must have played for a couple of hours, or at least it felt that way, because when we started playing it was light out, and when we stopped it was dark. But we didn't even get to the end because, through some glitch, one of our players just got stuck in place, and we couldn't do anything about it. I think that was the last time I played that game for more than a few minutes.

  2. The ending is very unsatisfying, you are better off not getting it. I actually like the game and the concept and even the mechanics, but the instant deaths and lack of extra lives makes it nearly impossible without the ABBA code.

    I still play Ikari Warriors occasionally, just to see, but unless you are devoted to playing it, it won't see much NES time.

    Thanks for reading!