Retro Review – Ikari III: The Rescue

Oh SNK, many of your games hold a place in my childhood memories. King of Fighters, Metal Slug, Fatal Fury – these are just a few that kept me glued to the television for hours. So when an SNK game got a port to the PS3, one that I have never played before, I took up the controller and made my way into Ikari III: The Rescue. Little did I know my quest would be full of blood, sweat, and many deaths.

Ikari III puts you in the position of a soldier who resembles a tiny pixelated Rambo. Your mission, if you choose to accept it (and not just turn the game off) is to rescue the presidential candidate’s child. You must fight your way through this brawler while avoiding death, which didn’t come very easy to me.

The controls are extremely simple. You have the option to run, jump, and kick. There is also a button reserved for adding coins so you can continue playing, just like in the arcade. All the controls can be reassigned through the Pause Menu for maximum customizability. The original arcade version of this game had an awesome feature: the rotary joystick. You were able to turn the head of the joystick to rotate your character. In this port you have manual aim (using the bumpers to rotate your character) set as a default. This tripped me up a bit as the enemies move rather quickly and you are left to scramble with turning, often resulting in over- or under-turning – and imminent death. Luckily, while navigating the Pause Menu, I discovered there is an option to turn on auto aim, which lets you rotate the character with the control stick. No longer would the rivers run red with my blood!

The setup is also simple. Walk around, punch and kick the bad guys (most die in one or two hits), kill the boss, and move on. Some enemies drop weapons that you can use, but they are few and far between. Ikari III deviates from the first two games in the series, which were top-down Contra-style shooters. This game focuses more on the hand-to-hand combat, so a large chunk of your fights will be close range.

Unfortunately, the game can also get overwhelming at certain points. For example, there are sections that become flooded with enemies with not enough time to react, causing you to lose a lot of health or die. This may be why the “add a coin” button was implemented, but it got frustrating at times. Enemy spacing can be a key component in whether people keep playing or set the controller down; challenging and frustrating are worlds apart.

The music was a throwback to the old arcade-style chip tunes and pleasantly set the mood. The style of the arcade version was more appealing than the remake for the NES, so fans of the series will be pleased to know they ported the more favorable version. Ikari III also falls under the minis category of the PlayStation Network, so it can be enjoyed on the PSP as well as your home console for maximum carnage!

Arcade games are always a joy to see on the PlayStation Network; it’s nostalgia at its finest and keeps people coming back for more. With a price tag of $3.00, it is almost too good to pass up. Its simplistic controls and addictive gameplay make it easy to grasp for casual gamers and interesting enough for the hardcore arcade fans, so crowd appeal is vast. I definitely recommend Ikari III: The Rescue for any gamer that is looking for a great deal on a solid brawler.

Ikari III: The Rescue scores a 4.75 out of 5

About This Post