Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road (NES)

Ikari Warriors II Box Art

Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road

System: NES

Release Date: April 1988

Developer: Micronics

Publisher: SNK

Genre: Shoot ‘Em Up

What? Ikari Warriors got a sequel? They called it Victory Road? More like Ikari Warriors 2: Walk of Shame. This is almost as bad as the original! I will say almost, because it is slightly more coherent. Gone are the 20 minute levels. This is a game you can beat in a half hour. Does that itself make it better? No.

The longest part of this game may be the opening cinematic that Morse codes out each letter in the most excruciatingly long way possible. You don’t have to watch it, obviously, but why wouldn’t you? It adds like 45 minutes to the game. You get in and see that the graphics are better than the original, but still pretty trashy. You start walking and hope that they fixed the way movement works, but no, they didn’t. You still have to swing around when you want to change directions in a 180 degree manner.

This time you have a sub-screen that you bring up with the Select Button that allows you to change weapons and sub weapons. There are four weapons that you can find and power up. The Machine Gun (weak and crizappy), the Bazooka (my weapon of choice), the Boomerang (necessary on level 2), and the Sword (I didn’t get much of a chance to try it). The sub weapons are the grenade (aka how to kill everything) and the land mine (not useful in the slightest).

There are also item icons that you find throughout the levels. There are two lightning bolts which affect all enemies on screen. An arrow that acts as a one hit kill. Body armor that causes you to only point up, but absorbs bullets for a time. Life potion that refills your life. Wings that allow you to fly, but leaves you only able to face up. Time power that transports you to the last shop you visited. When I first started playing I was getting infuriated at the fact that I wasn’t able to get the items to activate. Then I realized I had to go back to the game screen and press the A Button.

You have to kill or avoid everything that comes on screen. You can enter shops at certain points on each level to buy items. But only one per shop. I basically used this as a way to refill my life. You move super slowly, but the levels are incredibly short. There are bosses at the end of each, which you kill with the bazooka and grenades. The last boss was incredibly annoying. The tactic to kill him is to hold the B Button so you don’t turn and hit him with grenades while avoiding his. This is the only way to kill him, as he takes all of your other weapons and items away.

Graphics: 1.0

There have been plenty of other games pushing the envelope. Ikari Warriors II does not.

Sound: 1.0

Music and sound are better than the first game, but not good enough to score well.

Gameplay: 1.0

The score says this is infinitely more playable than the original, but to go from 0 to anything is an infinite times increase.

Difficulty: 1.5

Flickering in certain areas makes avoiding bullets incredibly difficult. You can get through by pressing A, B, B, A to revive yourself. The manual neglects to mention that.

Fun Factor: 1.0

This is more fun than the original.

Overall Grade: 1.1

Ikari Warriors II: Victory Road earns an D. It’s a greatly improved game compared to the original, but still not a good game. Sometimes it’s best that games remain in the arcades.

Ikari Warriors II Video Review on YouTube