Retro Review Corner with Sean: Bad Dudes (NES)

I’M BAD!


Apparently, the “ninja” are either Middle Eastern or Hispanic as shown by the box art.


Look at that title screen. Go ahead. Drink it in. Two badass screaming dudes in weightlifting gloves, black wife-beaters, and…grey and green workout sweatpants (at best guess). But wait, where’s the orange jumpsuit-looking pants from the box art? Ah fuck it, Metal Gear promised Michael Biehn and instead we got some dude who calls himself Snake.


What a bunch of liars.

Just over a year ago, I reviewed a little gem that few people have heard of, Karnov. I made quite a few references to Bad Dudes, in that, the first level boss of this game is Jinborov Karnovski, or Karnov. Karnov was Data East’s little mascot, and Data East wanted to jump on the currently booming “beat ’em up” market, with Double Dragon and Shinobi tearing up the streets, so to speak. So Data East decided they wanted a game closer in vein of Shinobi and thus spawned Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja on the arcades. Being such a big hit, it of course was ported to damn near every console at the time. Minor changes were made, like taking out co-op, some slight textual changes, and even an entire Presidential change. Fortunately, the NES port holds a place near and dear to most of our hearts to this day. Enough with the history lesson, on to actually talking about this badassery of 8-bit machismo!

First things first, who’s your dude gonna be: Blade or Striker? Well, judging by their bulging pectorals in the pictures, it’s gonna be the most machismo moments of your life.


Yeah, I guess so.

Everyone remembers that screen: Where the blonde Arnold Schwarzenegger in an aviator jacket asks YOU if you’re a bad enough to dude to rescue the President from ninja (quite possibly the most looked over grammatical error in gaming since no one seems to catch it). Apparently, being/looking like a weightlifter is all it takes for the government to ask you to rescue the President. Well, let’s go get that sonofabitch!

The game itself is a simple side-scrolling (sometimes up/down-scrolling) beat ’em up with very responsive controls, good visuals, fucking kickass soundtrack, and pretty good gameplay. Your arsenal against the ninja: punches, kicks to the face, punches to the balls, jump kick to the face, spinning jumping kicky thing, nunchaku, a ninja shank, and some super-powerful “fuck you” punch. So you punch and kick and punch and kick and jump and punch and kick until you fight your first boss: Jinborov Karnovski! Since we last saw him in prehistoic/mythological times firing armpit fireballs, he’s not only packed on a few, but he can also somersault in the air and BREATHE fire! Why he decided to show up in this game, I have no idea. Why he’s helping the ninja, I still have no idea. According to the game manual, IT has no idea. I don’t even think Karnov has any fucking idea, either. Maybe he wanted one of those deli sandwiches he kept hearing about. Maybe he just got done doing a bunch of flaming Dr Pepper shots at the local pub and just needed to release the still flaming shots from his mouth. Maybe everyone mistook him for working with the ninja, when in reality, he was just going to the local theater to buy a ticket for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Who knows? Either way, Karnov ain’t tellin’ cuz his ass just got knocked the fuck out…like dead-style. Then in all it’s 8-bit glory, we hear:

I’M BAD!


Fucking right you are!

After this, the stages go from kicking ass on the longest fucking semi EVER and whooping a MIDGET NINJA’s ass (not to mention to some of most hard-ass kick-you-in-your-fucking-mouth music EVER) to taking names in the sewers to deforesting a forest that apparently has a wandering cyborg in it. From there you take back the train Under Seige-style, and fight what I’m assuming is Karnov’s bastard cousin and a dude with a rope to taking the ultimate fight ON THE RAILING OF AN IN-FLIGHT HELICOPTER! Seriously, are you a bad enough dude for THAT?

After all is said and done, you rescue the President (who, at the time of the NES release is George H.W. Bush…good ol’ Ronnie Reagan on the arcade release) and do what any man of your sheer manly stature would do that needs his protein: get an American cheeseburger, one that’s probably not even cooked…because after kicking so much ass being the brawny man you are, not even raw red fucking meat can stop you. Hell, Chuck Norris even cried at the manliness you just unleashed upon the world…and we all know how often he cries.


Yeah, addressing the Nation and the Gulf War can wait, I suppose.

Overall, the game is just full of protein and steroid-induced manliness. Blade and/or Striker don’t stop for one second while killing anyone and everyone in their sights until they rescue the President and get their burger. They don’t even change clothes…even after fighting for no reason in a sewer. Fuck that noise. Changing clothes is for pussies. Hell, they don’t even scarf food down to regain health. Instead they rely on cans of Muscle Milk…which look eerily similar to Coke cans. Muscle Milk and ninja blood.

Everything mentioned can mean only one thing: This game is 100% motherfucker!


After this scene in the game, our hero took out the entire Secret Service, jumpkicked the President, and ate the Presidents burger. He then shouted: I’m Bad!

9/10 – Love this game.

By Sean The Clever Guy

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