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Bad Dudes: What Did Critics Say Back in 1989?
By Cyril Lachel     |   Posted on April 30, 2014   |   Episode 36 (Show Archive)  

   

Bad Dudes (Nintendo Entertainment System)
Ever wonder what Electronic Gaming Monthly, GamePro and other popular magazines thought of your favorite 8-, 16- and 32-bit games? Now you can find out, thanks to Review Crew! This is the only show on the internet that is willing to go back in time to find out what old school critics thought of retro games at the time. Did they pan your favorite game? Did they love something terrible? Find out every week as Defunct Games presents Review Crew!

The President of the United States of America has been kidnapped by a gang of evil ninjas, who are you going to call? If you're Data East, you send in the Bad Dudes! Based on the 1988 arcade game Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja, this NES port added new enemies and a different ending. These days people remember the ridiculous ending, but was Bad Dudes regarded as a good game? We decided to dig through old issues of Electronic Gaming Monthly, Raze, Nintendo Power and Nintendo Magazine System to find the answer. See what they said in this episode of Review Crew.

(NOTE: Although we occasionally cut for length, no other edits are made to the review. Defunct Games does not change any of the wording, grammar or punctuation use. Also keep in mind that our score is the average of all critics at the time, not just the sample that is reprinted on this page. If you still have more questions, I recommend you check out the Review Crew FAQ, where we address the review guidelines, converting scores, magazine covers and more.)

Bad Dudes
[ Company: Data East | Console: NES ]

RAZE #3
83% out of 100%

"Forget all the technical moves that appear in other martial arts games, just kick and punch your way through the waves of blood-craved ninjas in your search for the President. Yeah, that's right, the guy's been kidnapped by some Dragon Ninja character. Arcade bone-crunching fighting action from beginning to end. A wide range of backgrounds with good use of colour. Plenty of content ensures a real challenge for arcadesters. Challenging but dated beat-'em-up fun."

VIDEO GAMES & COMPUTER ENTERTAINMENT
(January 1990)
7 out of 10

"Bad Dudes is not especially different from other Karate adventures, including Double Dragon. The figures are larger, and the backgrounds are of higher quality, but the play action is pretty simple. There are none of the fun touches of Double Dragon, such as picking up an oil can and bowling over your opponents with it or whipping them into submission. If you already own one of these games, Bad Dudes doesn't offer much that is new." -David Plotkin

NINTENDO POWER (July/August 1989)
3.3 out of 5

"The President is missing; kidnapped by the notorious Dragon Ninja. The mission calls for a subtle penetration of the Dragon Ninja's forces by a limited special assault team, the Bad Dudes. Unlike the arcade version, this translation to the NES has two-player alternative play and different graphics. Pick up special items along the way and use the handy continue feature to assure your success."

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #4
5 out of 10

"Another Double Dragon clone. While the game is challenging, it is hampered with a not-so-smooth jerky player movement which gets annoying after a while and detracts from the overall game play. Nothing special, just another average action game." -Ed

COMPUTER + VIDEOGAMES #112
49% out of 100%

"Yet more beat 'em up thrills as the player adopts the mantle of a Bad Dude traversing the horizontally scrolling playfield dispensing untold levels of violence to other Bad Dudes. Flickery graphics, tedious sound and yawn-worthy gameplay make this one NES cart to avoid. Go for Double Dragon 2 instead."

ELECTRONIC GAMING MONTHLY #4
4 out of 10

"Bad Dudes wasn't as good as I thought it would be. The graphics aren't overly impressive and the game play isn't that difficult. Fans of Double Dragon-style games might enjoy this one for awhile, but it isn't anything special." -Jim

NINTENDO MACHINE SYSTEM #1
39% out of 100%

"Hopeless conversion of the beat 'em up coin-op better known in this country as Dragon Ninja. Dreadfully flickery graphics and low challenge level hammer the nail into this one's coffin."
REVIEW CREW AVERAGE: 55% - Even with one of the most memorable 8-bit endings in video game history, critics were not fans of Blade and Striker. Nintendo Magazine System calls the game a "hopeless conversion," Computers + Video Games says it's "yawn worthy," and Electronic Gaming Monthly notes that Bad Dudes is "nothing special." And while they didn't agree on wording, pretty much every critic thinks you should stick with Double Dragon.

Actually, not every critic agrees. The unnamed critic at Raze thought the game was just what the Nintendo Entertainment System needed. He liked the "bone-crunching fighting action" and "wide range of backgrounds." Curiously, they seemed to discourage games with more technical moves and deeper gameplay, suggesting that "kick and punch" action is all you need. On the other hand, they called the game dated. But even with that last-second jab, Raze gave Bad Dudes an incredible 83%, far and away the highest score.

ON FRIDAY'S EPISODE: Two funky aliens have crash landed on Earth and need to repair their spaceship. This sounds like the job for ToeJam & Earl! What did Electronic Gaming Monthly, Sega Force, Sega Pro, Mega Tech, Mega Play and other classic magazines think of ToeJam & Earl? Find out this Friday. Make sure and check out the Review Crew archive for more old school reviews, and don't forget to tweet me @DefunctGames to let me know what games you want to see next!

UPDATE #1 (JULY 24, 2014): We added a review from Video Games & Computer Entertainment, written by David Plotkin. This increases the average from 49% to 55%.

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