Ikari Warriors is still beating me down, but I am getting much better at fighting back! In the last two weeks I have seen some steady progress in my grueling quest. Last time I predicted that I would see the end of Level 2 and start learning Level 3 over repeated attempts, and that prediction turned out to be accurate! It did take me a few more days to get the hang of Level 2 enough to complete it, but then my first attempt at Stage 3 was a really solid run. Looking back, that day in particular was a significant turning point. For whatever reason, Stage 2 was a real hurtle and after clearing it just once I can now get through it about half of the time. I still don’t know the exact enemy spawn points but I know them well enough that I can slow play the level just a bit and get through it without losing too many lives.
While the first two levels are similar in structure, the third level introduces some new wrinkles that ramp up the challenge even further. The general strategy of learning where things are in the level is still the same, but the new elements take some getting used to. It’s no different than what it was like starting from the beginning. Hopefully progress can continue to remain steady, but in case it does not this can be part of the reason why.
I am starting to get far enough into the game now where I am only able to get one or two attempts in per day. I play roughly one hour a day on average and it takes me 30 to 40 minutes to reach part way into Level 3. Time management has always been an issue for me and my project and that is going to be amplified in the coming weeks as runs start taking up to an hour each. There are days when I am pretty sharp and I wish I could spend more time playing on those days as I am more likely to break new ground when I’m playing better. Some days are a step forward and other days are a step back. I have to take the hand that I have been dealt, so to speak.
I have mentioned before that my policy for beating games more or less boils down to treating the game as if I bought it brand new on launch day. I try to adhere to this as much as possible on games I have no experience with. For Ikari Warriors, I want to admit here that I bent my rule just a little bit. I did a little research online in order to find the location of a Super Speed powerup in the first stage, and I was able to find one that I wasn’t able to locate on my own. Ikari Warriors has a selection of special powerups that only appear by shooting at specific locations. Walking in this game is slow and the Super Speed doubles my walking speed into a much more manageable pace. I have beaten the first level numerous times without having the speed boost but I wanted to have it if possible to clear the first stage faster. If I can shave even thirty seconds off of my Level 1 time, that will add up to significant time savings over possibly hundreds of future attempts. It is really only helpful for Level 1 because there is another Super Speed right at the beginning of Level 2, and it certainly does not increase my chances of making it through the stage unharmed as I seem to die just as often with Super Speed as I do without!
With the way things are going, I am guessing I will be playing Ikari Warriors for another couple of months. I am afraid of running out of secondary material to write about in the long term. I just don’t have a lot of experience with many other NES and Game Boy games that I want to cover, and I insist on putting in the time to beat the game before writing it up. I estimate that I will have fewer additional games in total than licensed NES games for this project. I have to consider that there will be large gaps just like this with other difficult or lengthy games and I want to have the right amount of new content no matter what the circumstances. I am thinking about either going back to posting every other week or spreading out the secondary content even further apart. I know that I want to keep this site active no matter what, but exactly what I will post about next is very much up in the air at this time. Let’s say that next week’s update will be a surprise for now! In the meantime I will keep chugging away at the game so we can move on to better and brighter things!