Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja: Reviving the Excitement of 80s Arcade Glory

Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja

Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja
Data East/Ocean-Imagine
Release Year: 1988/89
Reviewed Platform: Arcade
Additional Versions: Amiga, Atari ST, PC, Spectrum, Amstrad CPC, Commodore 64, NES

In 1988, Data East gave birth to one of the most successful arcade games in history, with subsequent versions tailored for various home systems. This game was Dragon Ninja or Bad Dudes Arcade, a side-scrolling arcade masterpiece that had players control a martial artist navigating through seven stages. The ultimate challenge awaited at the end – the final boss named Dragon Ninja, piloting a helicopter, ready to make players' lives difficult in a way no other final boss had done before.

Bad Dudes Arcade allows for two simultaneous players in the arcade and 16-bit versions, while the 8-bit versions are strictly single-player. Recognizing the triumph of the arcade edition, Data East decided to develop the NES version and granted the rights to Ocean/Imagine to adapt the game for various computers of that era. Our character boasts an array of kicks, punches, and can wield different weapons discovered along the journey, such as nunchakus and knives.

Moreover, our hero can collect extra time and energy to ease the challenges ahead. The sequential stages in the game include the city, the truck, the sewers, the forest, the train, the cave, and the warehouse. Now, let's delve into a discussion of the game versions, ranking them from best to worst.

  1. Versions of Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja
    1. ARCADE
    2. AMIGA
    3. ATARI ST
    4. NES
    5. PC
    8. COMMODORE 64
  2. Gameplay of Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja
  3. Bezel
  4. Final Verdict

Versions of Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja


Undoubtedly, this stands as the superior version, boasting top-notch graphics and sound. Its gameplay is intense and addictive, with a perfectly balanced difficulty that progresses seamlessly, avoiding the frustration often associated with challenging games. It allows for significant advancement from the very first plays. Bravo.


A commendable version that closely mirrors the original arcade machine, albeit with slightly inferior gameplay, though not to a significant degree, and slightly less impressive sound. Nevertheless, it continues to emanate addiction from every aspect.


There's little to differentiate this version from the Amiga one, sharing almost identical qualities, although there might be a slight dip in sound quality. Otherwise, the experience remains consistent.


The NES adaptation, directly developed by Data East, stands out with commendable graphics, excellent sound, a high level of addiction, and quite satisfying gameplay. Highly recommended for enthusiasts.


Regrettably, the PC version falls into mediocrity across all aspects, especially considering its 16-bit capabilities. With subpar sound emanating from the speaker, diminutive and lackluster graphics, and less-than-ideal gameplay, it's a version that warrants a cursory look out of curiosity but ultimately deserves to be forgotten.


The 8-bit Amstrad version of Bad Dudes Arcade is quite commendable, given its limitations. While gameplay may suffer due to its 8-bit nature and graphics might be somewhat lacking, the vibrant coloring and reasonably good sound contribute to an overall positive impression. In summary, it's a decent version, though not without its flaws.


Similar to the CPC version in most aspects, the Spectrum version lags in sound quality and sports monochrome graphics.


Once again, Imagine's games for the Commodore 64 showcase impressive graphics compared to other 8-bit computers, coupled with excellent sound. However, gameplay takes a hit, rendering it nearly unplayable (though perseverance might yield some results). While it's a version best left forgotten, I recommend giving it a try purely out of curiosity.

Gameplay of Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja


You can download the game's bezel or overlay by clicking here.

Final Verdict

In conclusion, Bad Dudes Arcade stands as a genuine arcade classic accessible on various platforms. It's a missed opportunity not to experience it. For the arcade version, I highly recommend playing it through MAME.


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