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3Sep/090

Bad Dudes for the NES

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Bad Dudes is not a videogame. It’s a documentary. About the eighties. And it was filmed in real time. And they need to bring this documentary to Xbox Live Arcade.

Bad Dudes for the NES … oh where to begin. I used to play this to DEATH when I was about 10 years old. Even to this day I still pop it in from time to time just because beating the shit out of ninjas who drop soda cans, nunchucks and knives never gets old to me and it gives me a lot of fond memories of when I was a kid. I’m just going to get this out of the way though, the president in the arcade version is “Ronnie” (Reagan) because that’s who was president at the time of this game’s release. The president in the NES version isn’t named (though I could be wrong), but he resembles president George W. Bush. And the arcade version is known as “Bad Dudes VS DragonNinja” whereas the NES version is simply “Bad Dudes”. I’m only referring to the American version here.

Games like this don’t need a good story. It’s almost always “Someone gets kidnapped, you have to get ‘em.” It worked for Mario, Double Dragon, Final Fight, Streets of Rage, and it’s no different here. A secret service guy who Duke Nukem bears a strong resemblance to tells you the president has been kidnapped. Are you a bad enough dude to save him? Thankfully you can hit Select to skip it, you choose which fighter you want to be (which, there is literally no difference between the two aside from the name), and go. Which was actually absent from the arcade version, I guess player one was Blade and player two was Striker. I have no idea.

The arcade title screen folks.

The arcade title screen folks.

The NES isn't doin' too bad here.

The NES isn't doin' too bad here.

Now in my typical way, I’m just going to compare this version to the arcade. The arcade version is, in all it’s simplicity a great game despite not having aged particularly well. All you really do is go from left to right beating up the bad guys. You have a jump button, and an attack button. If you hold down that attack button your character will catch fire and then you can let go of it to unleash a super punch. And when you press both attack and jump together, he does a spinning kick, not unlike Ryu’s Hurricane Kick. Except it more closely resembles Sakura’s version of the attack since it doesn’t go straight across, it more arcs across the screen. Just to give you people who haven’t played it a point of reference. Occasionally, a red ninja will appear and he may have various items. Nunchucks, a knife, extra time (which is completely pointless since you would have to stand there a hell of a long time to run out of time) and a soda can to regain some of the energy you lost. At the end of the level, you fight a boss. Beat the crap out of the boss, your character will raise his fist in the air, say “I’m bad!” and you go on to the next level. And the NES plays the exact same, with some little differences. Like in the second level, you don’t have ninjas climbing up the side of the trucks for example, among other things. And the boss’ AI seems to have died by the side of the road. For example, the second leve boss, for SOME REASON in the arcade he ALWAYS at least hits me if he doesn’t completely take one of my lives period. On the NES however, you stand on the hood of the truck with your super punch ready. The boss will come in jumping up and down. When he gets near you, you punch him with that super punch. Charge it up again, smack him. Rinse, repeat until he’s dead. But the gameplay and the experience overall was very well done on the NES considerinng the hardware’s limitations. One major drawback of the NES version however is the two player part of the game. Unlike the arcade, it’s not cooperative. After the first player loses a life, the second player starts. Now, granted, they could’ve just done away with the two player part of the game completely, but still. It would’ve been cool to sit there with a buddy going through the game on the NES.

This was the shit back in the day man. And that fat guy is totally Karnov.

This was the shit back in the day man. And that fat guy is totally Karnov.

The ol’ NES is holding up quite well when it’s sitting still like this.

The ol’ NES is holding up quite well when it’s sitting still like this.

The sound is kinda typical of games like this. You have the various grunts and whatnot from you and the enemies. A few little voice samples here and there, like your character saying “Got it” when he picks up an item. And the previously mentioned victory cry at the end of a round. And I actually really like the music to this game for some reason. On the NES, gone are all the voices except for one. When you beat a level, you hear some sort of overly loud, horrendous sounding “AAAH BA”. The first time I ever heard it, I had the volume up somewhat so I could hear the music, which the NES recreates the arcade music rather well in my opinion … anyway … I had the volume up somewhat so I could hear the music. And when I beat the first level boss (who is Karnov, who also stars in his own game by Data East), I heard that … SOUND. Scared the HELL out of me because it was so bloody loud. Anyway … another noteable sound in the game is the charge up sound your fighter makes when you do the super punch attack. Overall, the only thing the NES version did well in the sound department was the music.

God I hate that little bastard.

God I hate that little bastard.

But he’s a hell of a lot easier on the NES.

But he’s a hell of a lot easier on the NES.

The graphics on the other hand are a completely different story. The arcade version was colorful and detailed and moved along at a good, smooth rate. All the characters looked great, and the stages looked fantastic for the time of it’s release in 1988. On the NES however, the colors are washed out, all of the characters are shrunk down to less than half their original size. The detail for the characters and stages are knocked down quite a bit, but are still pretty decent. The animation took a huge hit though. The entire game moves at an incredibely choppy rate. And the flicker … oh God the flicker. I could deal with ALL those things mentioned previously, but the flicker is almost a game killer to me. Almost.

I can still play it since the 80’s were FULL of stuff like that. But you can’t even blame the system for that problem, just take a look at the previous Kung Fu game which plays similarly and later games like TMNT 2 and 3, and Mighty Final Fight.

Overall, the NES version of this game is about as arcade perfect as the system can do. There had to be cutbacks and whatnot, but overall it is a decent conversion of the game. Now on the same note, with all the praise I’ve been giving the arcade version … this game hasn’t really aged well. Even I can’t play through it all the way anymore, when I play it now I play it more for the memories than anything. I could care less that the story sucks because honestly, I would prefer to have as little story as possible in a game for some reason. There’s just something about it that keeps me coming back. Maybe it’s just moving through the levels beating the crap out of ninjas. It’s just one of those fun little mindless games that plays GREAT with something like an NES Advantage joystick. It’s not going to appeal to everyone, and if you do play this the flicker in the graphics will probably drive you up the wall. But it’s definitely one of my little guilty pleasures.

imbad

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