Guerrilla War (video game)
Cover art for NES version
|Genre(s)||Run and gun|
|Display||Raster, vertical orientation|
Guerrilla War, released in Japan as Guevara (ゲバラ), is an overhead run and gun game produced by SNK. Originally released for arcades in 1987 as a coin-operated arcade game, Guerrilla War was later ported to Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Commodore 64, NES, PlayStation Network, and ZX Spectrum.
Guerrilla War followed the adventures of two unnamed rebel commandos (Che Guevara and Fidel Castro in the Japanese version) as they raid an unnamed Caribbean Island in order to free it from the rule of an unnamed tyrannical dictator. Along the way the players vanquish hordes of enemy soldiers while attempting to rescue hostages (with large score reductions for any hostages killed in the crossfire), collecting weapons from troopers and operating tanks.
The arcade version, released by SNK in 1987, followed the format of Ikari Warriors (1986). Using eight-way rotary joysticks, the game allowed players to move their character in one direction while rotating the joystick in order to shoot in another.
The game was moderately successful, and spawned ports onto home video game systems. Data East released home editions on the PC, Commodore 64 and Apple II, while Imagine Software published the Amstrad CPC and ZX Spectrum ports in Europe. SNK published itself a version for the NES/Famicom 8-bit console. Because of the limits of the home platforms, the home versions did not have the rotating joysticks. Both the arcade and home console versions were included on the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection for Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.
The NES version's two-player simultaneous play, unlimited continues, and frantic action gave it an edge over its arcade predecessor. It received a perfect 5-star rating in the book Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library 1985–1995 and is also available on PlayStation Network. This version featured Box cover art by Marc Ericksen, who was also responsible for the cover illustration for SNK's own Ikari Warriors III: The Rescue and P.O.W.
The Che Guevara connection
As the original title indicates, the game is based on the exploits of revolutionary Che Guevara, and the defeat of the Batista regime in Cuba in the late 1950s. In addition, player 2's character was Fidel Castro. Castro as he appears in this game is ranked fifth in Electronic Gaming Monthly’s list of the top ten video game politicians. Nevertheless, fearing anti-Communist sentiments in the West, SNK did a localisation of the game's dialogue and instruction manual for its North American and European releases. The version of Guevara released for the Japanese Famicom is a sought-after item for many video game collectors.
In Japan, Game Machine listed Guerrilla War on their January 15, 1988 issue as being the ninth most-successful table arcade unit of the year.
- Conti, Pat. Ultimate Nintendo: Guide to the NES Library 1985–1995. p. 140. ISBN 978-0-9973283-0-1.
- Scott Sharkey, "EGM’s Top Ten Videogame Politicians: Election time puts us in a voting mood," Electronic Gaming Monthly 234 (November 2008): 97.
- "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - テーブル型TVゲーム機 (Table Videos)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 324. Amusement Press, Inc. 15 January 1988. p. 21.