Developer: Data East
Publisher: Flying Tiger Development
Platform: Nintendo Switch (eShop)
Category: Action, Arcade, Fighting & Multiplayer
Release Date: 5th of April, 2018 (NA) & 12th of April, 2018 (EU)
You might recall Bad Dudes as having one of the most outlandish and silly premises in the video game medium. Based on the 80’s arcade game Bad Dudes vs Dragon Ninja from developer Data East, it was later ported to the NES with new enemies and a different ending. These days people remember the ridiculous ending, but was Bad Dudes ever a good game? Now that it’s out on the Nintendo Switch we can see for ourselves, corniness and all.Like many classics of the 80’s, including Double Dragon and other beat em’ ups of the time, Bad Dudes has a ridiculous story. “Ronnie”, the President of the United States (in a clear reference to Ronald Reagan), has been kidnapped by the evil Dragon Ninja clan and the Secret Service decides to contact Blade and Striker, two street fighters for hire, to rescue him. As you play through the seven levels as either Blade or Striker in single or couch co-op, you’ll face the ever-present onslaught ninjas, including the “normal” blue ninjas, specialized red ninjas, ninja star and caltrop throwing grey ninjas, female ninjas who flip around, claw ninjas, dogs, ninjas who will actually light themselves on fire and run at you, and bosses.To face the unstoppable horde of ninjas you will have to punch, kick and jump your way to victory, and this is just done with two buttons. You can crouch and kick underneath enemies or punch up for the more airborne types of ninjas. For such a simple control scheme, Blade and Striker are able to perform an impressive variety of punches, kicks and jump kicks depending on the timing of your button presses.If you thought having all these crazed ninja criminals attacking you wasn’t hard enough, there’s also some minor platforming you encounter. There are two planes that you can switch between in the game; you can hold up and jump to move to the higher plane, and the opposite to move down. Enemies will appear on both, but it can also be used to get out of trouble if you’re overwhelmed on one plane versus another. Sometimes there will only be one plane you can safely traverse, and falling down below will damage you. For example, if the top plane of the screen is on top of a train, you don’t want to be on the bottom plane where you’ll be damaged by the railroad tracks.The dudes’ will travel to levels that take place in the New York City streets, on top of moving trucks, the sewers, a forest, a train, a cave, and an underground lair. You’ll know you’ve reached the end of a level when you’ve pummeled the boss into submission and your character or characters shout, as if trying to convince themselves, “I’M BAD!” No amount of blood thirty ninjas could ever be prepared against these two muscular, tank-top wearing twins with unlimited fists full of steel.In fact, like many of the classic beat em’ ups that have been brought back for this generation, you will have an infinite number of credits to complete Bad Dudes and it took me roughly 30 minutes to get through. Each foe you encounter is dropped with one punch, kick, or hit by a weapon dropped by the red ninjas. They also drop “First-Aid” soda and time clocks to extend the time for completing a stage which was never an issue. The bosses that await at the end of each stage deal more damage and take more hits, and this is a pleasant reminder of how video game arcade cabinets use to work: drain as much loose change as possible from your pockets.While Bad Dudes looks and plays well for an old arcade port, it comes up short in terms of extras. The graphics options are okay, but most of them just end up leaving the monitor appearing too condensed. However, if you go with default mode, the vintage presentation looks greatly authentic, right down to the CRT lines from the monitor. It is disappointing though that you are unable to use the original arcade board DIP switch settings, denying players customization of the overall experience or even the choice between the Japanese or US versions of the game. Thankfully, the sound effects and music are real crisp and pleasingly hilarious. Both the level ending shout of “I’M BAD!”, and the confident “Got it” when picking up health restoring sodas or time restoring clocks are memorable.
Overall, Bad Dudes is a fun throwback title for the Switch library that provides goofy fun of the original arcade title. Being treated to an ending featuring President Ronnie thanking you for your service and recommending that you eat some burgers with him almost makes this game worth playing for that scene alone. This may be a release only meant for players who want to revisit a more simpler time, but it is an enjoyable romp while it lasts.
The Verdict: 6/10
*Review Key Provided by Flying Tiger Entertainment Games