BAD DUDES / Data East / NES

Ah, Bad Dudes. You may be a total piece of shit game, but you will live immortaly as a testament to the complete cesspool that was 1980s American culture.

Like most Japanese arcade games of the period, Bad Dudes is an amalgamation of shit from American action movies and shit that came before it in the arcade gaming world. In this case, the game is sort of a clumsy fusion of Double Dragon and Shinobi, with horrendously stiff gameplay and awful collision detection.

The game is just seven levels of punching away at ninjers on a quest to rescue the President or whatever. The whole thing seriously resembles the kind of idea a Kool Aided-up eight year old would draw up for a Nintendo game; after twenty years I still can't fathom that grown Japanese men put this together. The Dudes apparently drive a big rig truck (named Dudes) between the seven ninja fighting venues that constitute the game, but instead of using it to run over enemies or something useful, they just kinda park it, hop out, and thirty seconds later the ninjers have totally taken it over. At your disposal is a stiff punch, which sometimes changes depending on the proximity of the enemy (but never really gets more useful), and a really stiff jump that is only good for hurtling the occasional obstacle.

I think maybe the funniest thing about Bad Dudes is that it actually has halfway decent chiptunes going for it; the remix of the Karnov main theme that plays when you inexplicably fight the fat Russian at the end of the first level is a nice touch. The second level sounds like the precursor of a famous Castlevania song, and on the whole the music is fairly tolerable for the rest of the game. It's too bad that is really the only thing the game has going for it. Sound effects are virtually non-existent as it seems they used all that space up on the scratchy digitized scream of "I'M BAAD" that comes with your victory over each boss.

The ending is a classic of NES hilarity, but the game is just too much of a pain in the butt to bother getting to it, even with infinite continues. Try the arcade version instead, it's actually halfway playable and even funnier.

Videos :

* Gameplay Video