Ikari Warriors

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Ikari Warriors
Ikari flyer.png
Arcade promotional poster for Ikari Warriors
Designer(s)Keiko Iju
Platform(s)Arcade, Apple II, Amiga, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Atari ST, Acorn Electron, Amstrad CPC, BBC Micro, Commodore 64, NES, MSX2, IBM PC, ZX Spectrum
  • JP: February 1986[1]
  • WW: March 1986
Acorn, BBC, C64, CPC, ZX
Genre(s)Run & gun shooter
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

Ikari Warriors is a vertically scrolling, run & gun shoot 'em up arcade game developed by SNK, published in North America and Europe by Tradewest, and released in 1986. Originally titled Ikari (, "Fury") in Japan, Ikari Warriors was SNK's first major breakthrough US release. The game was released at the time when there were many Commando clones on the market. What distinguished Ikari Warriors were rotary joysticks and a two-player mode.[6]

The player characters in Ikari Warriors are Colonel Ralf Jones and Second Lieutenant Clark Still of the later King of Fighters series (known outside Japan as Paul and Vince in the Ikari series) battling through hordes of enemies. According to designer Keiko Iju, the game was inspired by the popular Rambo films and takes its name from the Japanese title of Rambo: First Blood Part II (Rambo: Ikari no Dasshutsu or "The Furious Escape").[citation needed] Ralf and Clark also make an appearance as playable characters in Metal Slug 6 and Metal Slug 7, as well as the King of Fighters series. Ralf and Clark were also featured as cameos in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate as background characters in the King Of Fighters Stadium stage as well as the both of them sharing a Spirit.


The player takes the role of commando-like warriors named Ralf Jones (red) and Clark Still (blue), who must try to reach the village of Ikari. Enemy units attempting to kill the player include tanks, enemy soldiers and helicopters. A number of power-ups along the way help the player achieve victory.

Players must proceed from the bottom of the screen upwards, towards the village of Ikari. Trying to prevent them from reaching the village are enemy soldiers and other units. Along the way, players may commandeer enemy tanks and helicopters (NES version) to help fight their way through the enemy personnel. The tanks are immune to enemy bullets, but have a limited supply of fuel and will sustain damage when it runs out or the tank is caught in an explosion, taking the player with it unless he can exit the tank and get clear before it blows up. The helicopters have two different weapons, a spread gun and a cannon, and may fly over water.

Rotating the joystick changes the direction the character faced independent of the direction the character was moving, as controlled by pushing the joystick. This gives the player freedom to attack or walk in eight different directions. No shot is fired from directly in front of the player; the warrior uses the machine gun in his right hand, and throws grenades with his left. If a player character takes too long moving up screen, the computer starts using "call for fire". A red spot appears below him; this is tracking fire to speed up the game.


Ikari Warriors is the first popular video game to have used rotary joysticks, which can be rotated in addition to being pushed in eight directions. The less successful TNK III, released in 1985 and also from SNK, is the first to have used such joysticks.[7][8][9][10] The system also features two buttons: one for the standard gun and another for lobbing grenades. It is one of the few games at the time to allow two-player cooperative side-by-side gameplay, and to use vehicles. The game cabinet is a standard upright model.

Ikari Warriors printed circuit boards (PCBs) were manufactured in two different versions: SNK pinout and JAMMA pinout. Most SNK-pinout units were put into Ikari Warriors cabinets, while most JAMMA-pinout units were supplied as conversion kits. The SNK-pinout boards have a 22/44-pin edge connectors. The JAMMA-pinout PCBs have a 28/56-pin edge connectors. Both types consist of a stack of three boards, with interconnects.

Ikari Warriors uses SNK's model LS-30 joysticks, which contain a 12-way rotary switch box. The joysticks are connected to the PCB via auxiliary wiring harnesses.

Regional differences[edit]

The game is known simply as Ikari in Japan and Ikari Warriors in the United States and Europe. In addition to changing the names of the main characters from Ralf and Clark to Paul and Vince, the military commander the player rescues at the end of the game is named General Kawasaki in the Japanese version (named after SNK's founder Eikichi Kawasaki) and Colonel Cook in the US/Euro version (named after Tradewest's founder Leland Cook). General Kawasaki's name was unchanged in the NES version. The enemies in the game were actually Neo-Nazis, as evidenced by the presence of a swastika at the middle of the final room.


Ikari Warriors was ported to the Nintendo Entertainment System, IBM PC, Apple II, Atari ST, Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Amiga, Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, and Amstrad CPC. The MSX port and conversions for 16-bit machines were released in 1987. The PC and Commodore 64 ports were developed by Quicksilver Software. In 1989, a second C64 version was released in the UK by Elite Software. The NES version was developed by Micronics. Both the Atari 2600 and Atari 7800 ports were released in 1990 as one of the final published games for those systems. The game was also included on the SNK 40th Anniversary Collection for the Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4.


In Japan, Game Machine listed Ikari Warriors on their March 15, 1986 issue as being the most-successful table arcade unit of the year.[18]

In 1996, Next Generation listed the arcade version of Ikari Warriors as number 61 on their "Top 100 Games of All Time", lauding the innovative joysticks, play balance, and power-ups which offer an invigorating boost to the player character's capabilities without taking away the game's challenge.[6]

Computer and Video Games enthusiastically reviewed the "classy" Amstrad personal computer conversion, calling the graphics "simply brilliant" and the gameplay "awesomely addictive". They said that players "won't see better ... probably for quite a while" because "the Amstrad graphics are as close as dammit to the arcade machine and the playability goes off the C+VG scale".[4]

The PC version of the game received 4 out of 5 stars in Dragon.[13]


Ikari Warriors spawned the sequels Victory Road (1986) and Ikari III: The Rescue (1989).

SNK released an Ikari Warriors clone in 1987 called Guerrilla War (known as Guevara in Japan). The game features communist fighters Che Guevara and Fidel Castro as its heroes.

See also[edit]

  • Front Line, a 1982 arcade game with similar gameplay, including a rotary knob and drivable tanks.


  1. ^ "怒(いかり) まとめ [アーケード] / ファミ通.com". Famitsu.com. February 22, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  2. ^ a b Computer Entertainer, June 1987, page 13
  3. ^ a b "怒 IKARI まとめ [ファミコン] / ファミ通.com". Famitsu.com. February 22, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d "Ikari Warriors". Computer and Video Games. January 1987. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  5. ^ "怒(いかり) まとめ [MSX] / ファミ通.com". Famitsu.com. February 22, 2014. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  6. ^ a b "Top 100 Games of All Time". Next Generation. No. 21. Imagine Media. September 1996. p. 48.
  7. ^ "Transfer lever as well as turret turning knob." SNK T.A.N.K flyer, 1985.
  8. ^ "This arcade game was the first SNK game to use the special rotary joystick". Vintagearcade.net. Archived from the original on October 14, 2013. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  9. ^ [1] Archived October 7, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "Escher's Mame Rotary Joystick Fix Mame Version .63 Updated from v.59 to work with v.63 by Jake Stookey". Mame.hower.us. January 23, 2003. Retrieved October 14, 2013.
  11. ^ "Archive - Magazine viewer". World of Spectrum. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  12. ^ "Computer and Video Games Magazine Issue 101". Archive.org. Retrieved March 11, 2016.
  13. ^ a b Lesser, Hartley; Lesser, Patricia; Lesser, Kirk (February 1989). "The Role of Computers". Dragon (142): 42–51.
  14. ^ "Archive - Magazine viewer". World of Spectrum. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  15. ^ "Ikari Warriors". Ysrnry.co.uk. Archived from the original on August 1, 2013. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  16. ^ Atari ST User, Vol. 3, No. 4 (June 1988), pages 44-45
  17. ^ "Archive - Magazine viewer". World of Spectrum. Retrieved March 6, 2013.
  18. ^ "Game Machine's Best Hit Games 25 - テーブル型TVゲーム機 (Table Videos)". Game Machine (in Japanese). No. 280. Amusement Press, Inc. 15 March 1986. p. 21.

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