Ikari III: The Rescue

By Jorge Figueiredo - June 18th, 2012


Looking for a great 80’s-style beat-em-up arcade game with military overtones? Are you lacking a working time machine so that you can actually play one of those titles? Look no further than the Playstation Network, good people! SNK Playmore USA has brought the goodness of the Ikari Warriors franchise to your PS3/PSP with Ikari III: The Rescue.

The plot follows the bronze standard of story-telling: the daughter of the presidential candidate has been kidnapped. In the true what-if-ten-year-olds-ran-the-military style, your massive team of two (yes, you and your buddy who is pretty much your twin) are sent into action – unarmed (because you are both bad-ass like that) – to take on the terrorists that performed the evil deed.

The third-person viewpoint follows your characters very closely as they punch and kick the crap out of a surprising number of generic enemy soldiers, slightly less generic enemy soldiers, and bosses (did I mention that you are unarmed?); tough as you are, how do you take on things like tanks? Blunt weapons, knives, and firearms can be picked up during the game; while they give you a slight edge over some soldiers and bosses, it’s a lot more fun to engage the enemy like Chuck Norris would.

Oh, check out that 80’s goodness.

The graphics and sound is your typical 80’s arcade-cabinet fare, which should come as no surprise to anyone. On a larger television it looks somewhat comical – but the colours are vibrant and the animations are decent. When you look at it with the glasses of the past, this game probably looked absolutely fantastic to us at the time. The real problem for me was controlling my beefy killing machine.

In a counter-intuitive move, the analog joysticks allow you to move your character; but they don’t allow you to change the way your character is facing. To change directions, the shoulder buttons must be used. This awkward control style was inspiring in the sense that I created some new cuss words in the course of trying to wrangle my character into doing what I wanted him to do. Far from the original custom arcade joystick, it feels like the control scheme was a failed compromise between the PS3 DualShock and the PSP’s single analog stick. Even the “automatic” setting, that allows you to sort-of merge the function of moving and turning seems to fail.

This is called “boxing”.

Failing is easy in this game, too. Getting hit is easy to do; so easy that not getting hit for five seconds would be a platinum trophy – and that’s just being assailed by a couple of guys. I was swarmed more times than I could count – seriously, this is what Justin Bieber must feel like when he’s being surrounded by all of the boyfriends of the girls that have crushes on him. Being destroyed within an uncomfortably short period of time became the norm for me – frustration was compounded by the fact that when I was in recovery I would still be hit once I emerged, sending me back into sleepy-land.

While Ikari III: The Rescue is far from being the pinnacle of gaming, it was probably at the top of the heap back in 1989 when it came out. For a mere $2.99, you can re-live your glory days in the arcade thanks to the wonders of emulation. The big problem is that you’ll have to have a lot of patience to contend with the controls. Really, though, three bucks to re-live a piece of your past isn’t a bad deal at all.

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