REVIEW – Ikari III: The Rescue (PSN)

Definition of Button Mashing


SNK has been gracious enough to release classic arcade titles to the PSN, compatible on both PS3 and PSP.  While I have reviewed several of these titles, Ikari III: The Rescue is the least entertaining and does not hold up well at all.

With a Rambo-like theme, the Ikari series has always been about one soldier against impossible odds.  From a top down perspective, one to two players will simply button mash their way through an army of armed foes throughout this entire brawler.  There is no strategy and there are no options.  Just punch and kick through the never ending onslaught of enemies.

Ikari III is a brutal game in terms of both difficult and control.  At just about every moment, four enemies will surround the player and start up an endless fist fight, often times never allowing the player to stand back up until respawn.  This frustrating experience is only furthered from the annoying AI as enemies will often jump out of the way when you close in for an attack and the same two types of enemies repeat throughout the entire quest.  Without question, Ikari III is a game built around repetition and frustration.

Unlike other recently released SNK arcade titles, Ikari III is also a much longer game.  Unfortunately, the game’s length works against it as makes the repetitive nature of the gameplay that much worse.

The end of each stage usually involves facing off against a tank.  But the only way to damage this tank is to kill the nearby baddie with the assault rifle, then use this weapon against the tank.  I am not sure how a basic machine gun can destroy a tank with a few bullets, but whatever. It is just annoyingly difficult to first take down an enemy who is shooting at you while a tank is also blasting you away.  Cheap, frustrating deaths pop up at every moment but this was an arcade game after all, designed to steal all your quarters.

Strangely enough, the game offers a jump button.  However, this feature is entire unnecessary as the game never requires the player to hop over a hazard.  It is not even possible to jump kick rendering this button completely worthless.

Like SAR – Search and Rescue, controlling your hero is a challenge in itself.  The shoulder buttons must be tapped to rotate the player in 45 degree increments.  In short, this control scheme pretty much makes the game unplayable.  I was actually about to shut the game off for good when I discovered an auto aim feature hidden at the bottom of the menu screen.  Instead of manually rotating the character, the game automatically rotates the playable character to the closest enemy.  This system is by no means perfect, but it does make the game playable.  Why auto aim isn’t the default setting is perhaps this game’s biggest wonder.

This game is compatible with both PS3 and PSP but be aware that ad-hoc mode is not available with this title.  However, two players can participate in same sofa multiplayer on PS3.

Ikari III is a lesson in attrition and only the most dedicated players will be compelled to finish it.  Without the auto aim feature turned on, the game is not even playable by today’s standards and retains a high level of cheap and annoying difficulty.  The graphics are also goofy as even the basic walking animation is cheesy and rotating your character after getting knocked down just doesn’t make any sense.  The grunts and groans and enemies produce when attacked is also annoying at best.

I thank SNK for making these games available for an affordable price.  Unfortunately, Ikari III isn’t exactly the cream of the crop.


Not As Good As: Battle Toads

Also Try: the NES version

Wait For It: the new Double Dragon on XBLA

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