Take on the NES Library

An 8-bit Extravaganza!

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AUG
08
2016
0

Ikari Warriors Update 6: Down with the Sickness

I was hoping I would be sharing my victory today, but instead I will have to settle for another update post!

This was the first time since I’ve started playing Ikari Warriors where real life got in the way of making progress. I was in a wedding two weekends ago and with all the activities going on I didn’t get to play any NES for four days. This was easily my longest stretch without playing in quite some time. Then last week I got sick which led to both playing less and playing badly whenever I got around to it. I’m feeling better now so hopefully this will be the week I beat Ikari Warriors. I’m looking forward to moving on to something new for sure!

I did reach a new personal best last week. I made it all the way to the final boss with a couple of lives but I could not finish off the game. The final stretch introduces a couple of new elements to the game that were quite a surprise to see so late in this long game. Honestly I’m surprised I got as far as I did. It was one of those lucky runs that I have written about before. The next run like that will probably be the winning run, but with Ikari Warriors you never really know for sure!

One common thread of my relatively poor playing lately has been a resurgences of deaths in Level 2. I have beaten this stage without dying many times. However I have not had a clean Level 2 since my personal best run almost a week ago. There is really no explanation for it either. I had a run where I lost a tank in Level 2 at a really awful spot and yet I somehow managed to clear a large chunk of the level on foot without dying. I still have these moments of awesome playing that get lost in the mistakes I am making that cause decent runs to fizzle out.

With any luck this will really be the last Ikari Warriors update. I am still targeting a Monday update either next week or in two weeks, but that might change depending on when I finish the game. I’m excited to share my final thoughts with you on this grueling NES game!

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JUL
25
2016
0

Ikari Warriors Update 5: Looking for Lady Luck

It was about time to start numbering these updates!

I have made some good progress since my last update. A few days after my previous update post, I beat Level 3 for the first time and then made it probably halfway through the final level on that same run. My best run so far happened a couple of nights ago where I got about two-thirds of the way through Level 4. It seems like all the stages are the same length or very close, so that is my best guess for where I’m at in the game. I haven’t been keeping track but I have made it to Level 4 probably 8-10 times so far over the past two weeks. Like I’ve mentioned several times before it is all a matter of repeating the game in order to build my knowledge so that I can better cope with the enemy attack.

I feel at this point that all it takes for me to beat Ikari Warriors is to have that one lucky attempt where the randomness works in my favor and my playing ability is up to par enough to make significant progress with a fully powered character. It could be any day now when that happens, so I need to keep putting the time in and at least get more exposure to the late game on unsuccessful runs. I’m really close to putting this one to bed for good!

So far I have been able to complete both Level 1 and Level 2 without dying numerous times, including clearing both together deathless in the same run on a few occasions. I have not been able to clear Level 3 deathless and that is because the end of level gauntlet I mentioned last time has no clear solution that I have found to be able to survive it unscathed. At best, I can take a single death and use the invincibility period to finish the remaining enemies. I haven’t seen anything approaching that level of difficulty so far in Level 4, so that says to me that a deathless run of Ikari Warriors is dependent on figuring out the last part of Stage 3. Of course, I don’t need to do a deathless run! If I am able to reach the beginning of Level 4 with only one death, then that sets me up with a pretty good chance of lucking into beating the game.

As an aside, it’s funny how I am mastering this game and yet I can still make some awful errors that completely kill a good run. Lately I have been dying way too many times within the first 30 seconds of the game. I had a run recently where I accidentally self-destructed my tank in a bad spot where I couldn’t recover. I had another run with a string of simply unacceptable deaths that were spread out enough that I somehow managed to reach the final level anyway. I still have the occasional attempt that bombs out in Level 1. I seem to be able to string together a series of good runs followed by a string of mostly unsuccessful runs that frankly are a waste of time at this point. It has been downright frustrating at times to play Ikari Warriors, but in spite of that I keep coming back for more.

This week is shaping up to be a busy one for me, so chances are I will skip next week’s update in favor of real life activities. I am feeling pretty good about beating Ikari Warriors in the next two weeks. I hope that my next update will be the full length blog post on Ikari Warriors that everyone has been waiting for. Stay tuned!

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JUL
11
2016
0

Within Shooting Distance

The last couple of weeks have been mostly kind to me by Ikari Warriors standards! At my last progress report I was starting to learn Level 3. I would not say that I have really learned the level yet in the last two weeks, but I can consistently make it far into the level in spite of my incomplete knowledge. In fact, I have reached the end of Stage 3 several times and I have gotten really close to clearing the level. I anticipate that I am going to start the final level by the end of the week. Maybe I can have that magical run and beat the game by the end of the month!

I think it is fair to say that I have the first two levels completely memorized as well as several sections of Level 3. The best way for me to play Ikari Warriors is to learn both the level layout and enemy spawns so that I can position myself to clear enemies quickly before they can become a real threat. However, when fully powered up I can get through many situations by playing in a reactionary and cautious manner. I am getting through Level 3 with a combination of both of these approaches. I don’t know what Level 4 has in store for me, but I suspect that I am going to rely more on playing by reaction.

Just a heads up that this is a bit of a spoiler. My attempt just last night was my best run to date. I reached the end of Level 3 with only two deaths, both of which were in Level 3. The very end of the stage is easily the most brutal section of the game I have encountered so far. It is just swarming with enemies that actively aim at me. I have developed somewhat of a strategy for that part, but I am not sure if I will come up with a method for getting through it without dying. This time I was able to clear out all of the enemies, but after that there is no apparent exit to the level. I lost all my remaining lives to the “hurry up” missiles while trying to figure out what to do. I was a bit stunned to say the least! Of course, once it was all said and done I think I realize where I went wrong. I can’t wait to get back to that part with a clear head and see about moving on toward the end of the game.

In other news, you may have noticed that I posted this up on a Monday instead of my normal Friday schedule. I get the feeling my posts are more easily ignored when posted on Friday afternoon. I know this sounds crazy, but people have better things to do over the weekend than read this blog! I chose Friday as my posting day because it is the most convenient day for me to put these posts and articles together. If I can get more attention with a post earlier in the week then it is worth working around my schedule to accommodate it. I do this blog for myself but at the same time I want this project to become more popular and generate fun discussions over obscure and overlooked NES games. I will stick to the Monday posting schedule for awhile to see how it pans out.

I am planning to do something different once again for my next post. It was something I potentially teased in a past article, so if you are a very attentive reader with a good memory then you may already know what I will be writing up!

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