Dragon Ninja, or to give it its full working title, Bad Dudes vs Dragon Ninja is the latest coin-op conversion from those lovely people at Ocean. Not a lot of people have heard of it, but as a coin-op, it wasn't arf bad.
You are the Bad Dude, on a mission from some secret US intelligence group. The problem is, you see, the President himself has been kidnapped. Now, given the recent state of affairs, you wouldn't think that anyone would actually mind, but in a perfect world, the President of the US is a role model, a hero and everybody loves him. His kidnapper, the terrible Dragon Ninja, is probably the most ruthless assassin ever. Merciless, cold, unfeeling and a pain in the bum.
You have to pursue him through seven levels of violence, death, torture and all round kickings. The first level has you in the street, in search of the first of Dragon Ninja's clan. You are assailed by three types of enemy. The first, and most common are the ninja. These start off pretty easy to kill, but as the game progresses, they get harder and harder. When they begin, they walk on from one direction, kick you and walk off. On later levels they come back and attack you repeatedly until you die. The second enemy is the floozy. Dressed in suspenders and a bra, she attacks you, walks past, and then backflips to have another crack. The third is the dog. He runs along the bottom of the screen and if you happen to be there, he'll bite you. Simple as that.
As with Rolling Thunder, and believe me, this games does bear a passing resemblance, the game is mainly spread over two levels, and, with the exception of two screens, you can jump freely between them.
At the end of the first level, you meet Karnov, the first of DN's clan. Karnov, funnily enough, looks just like Karnov out of Karnov the game, apart from the fact that he's more than twice the size and a lot more deadly. Still, I suppose one drunken Russian looks much the same as another. It's no use leaping from level to level trying to avoid him, as he follows you. You also have a limited amount of time as well, so it's best to get the job done as quickly as possible. Karnov has two attack moves. The first is just a basic punch, which does some pretty serious damage. The second involves him stepping back, taking a huge breath and then blowing a flame out at head height Pretty heavy stuff. Manage to kill him, and then you move onto level two.
Level two involves racing along the tops of a convoy of trucks, driving from left to right. You are attacked by all the same baddies as in level one, only now they are already starting to get a little more difficult. It's also a little harder because you can't jump down to the lower level.
At the end of the level, the computer takes control as you leap off the front of the truck and confront the second of the clan. Claws. Claws, as his name suggests, simply walks towards you and tries to claw you to death.
Then you're onto the third level. This is much like the first, the only main difference being that you are now in a sewer. At the end of the level is a super ninja, who splits into five, four times. Once you have destroyed all 20 ninja, then it's into the forest.
The forest is the same as levels one and three, apart from the fact that it has a new nastie. A fire-man (8 man on fire, no less) runs along the levels, and should he touch you, you lose energy. At the end of the level is Animal, a spike covered robot, who spins at an amazingly fast rate and whips you with his spikes.
Into the caves you go to meet all the usual ninja and things, and finally you get to fight Pole, who does all the stuff that Animal does, except that this time he does it with a six foot piece of wood.
It's back onto the single level bit again on level six, and this time you're running along the top of a train. Fight all the usual stuff again (by now it's getting a little bit difficult), and you tight a guy with a morning star (spiked ball on a chain) and a scythe. If you beat him, and I doubt you will, you go onto the final screen - the warehouse.
The warehouse is where it all happens. Want to know what you get to fight? All of the Dragon clan all over again. One at a time, of course. Then you fight Dragon Ninja himself, who you find sitting quite happily on a helicopter runner throwing little balls of fire at you.
As a conversion, the Speccy version ain't bad at all Graphically it is quite recognisable, and the end of level nasties are particularly well defined.
It is difficult, being as you get a short time limit and a small amount of energy to start with. Some ninja, when kicked, drop something. Some drop a knife, some drop a chain. The really helpful ones drop little capsules that either give you extra time or extra energy. Pretty good stuff.
Label: Hit Squad
Price: £2.99 Tape, £NA Disk
Reviewer: Steve Keen
The President of the United States has really been having a bad week hasn't he. Either he has a suppressed desire to be kidnapped and tied up all the time or certain members of the Secret Service aren't doing their jobs properly. Maybe their sunglasses are so dark they can't see the a guys comin'!
This beat 'em up is played over seven mean screen levels. All the maiming features are here punch, kick, jump, flying kick and a very useful super punch. The numerous dark assassins come from all directions as do the leggy females. They all want a piece of your ass, but dinner and sweet conversation is the last thing on their minds. By standing still and holding down the fire button for few seconds the super punch can persuade most of your assailants that you're no push over.
Dragon Ninja hammers a path across factory platforms, juggernauts and various other extremely well drawn backdrops. His adversaries are equally nice to look at, especially the end of level barbarians. Take care though they may be pretty but they all have a secret weapon. Some of the rascals breath fire whilst one giant ninja suddenly multiplies into an army (shouting two times two, four times four...)
Control over your main man is a little sluggish and quite often you'll be surrounded by nasties and pressing the fire button vigorously whilst wrenching the joystick out of its housing. All you will achieve is a half-bad impression of Michael Jackson's dancing. With practice you'll learn to conserve your energy for more calculated attacks.
B.D. vs D.N. takes a worn out idea and somehow makes it fresh again - a very, very, good game. Personally I couldn't care if the president does get rescued - the silly sod will only go missing again next month.
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