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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Not every old game should be remembered

Bad Dudes Vs. DragonNinja was made by Data East, a now defunct company, in 1988. It released in arcades and the Nintendo Entertainment System. Photos courtesy of G-MODE Corporation
Bad Dudes Vs. DragonNinja was made by Data East, a now defunct company, in 1988. It released in arcades and the Nintendo Entertainment System.
Photos courtesy of G-MODE Corporation

Michael Foster-Sanders
senior producer
michael.foster-sanders@my.tccd.edu

Nostalgia is a tricky slope to navigate through. 

On one hand, a person will have rose-tinted glasses on and tend to omit the bad in something, due to it giving a person a period in life that was joyful. The other side of the coin is realizing how dumpster truck juice something is. 

Data East’s Dude franchise, consisting of Bad Dudes Vs. DragonNinja, which is trash, and Two Crude, which is dog feces set on fire in a bag, show what was wrong with arcade game design in the late 1980s and early 1990s. It also showed why to avoid picking up these games on modern systems.

Bad Dudes debuted in 1988 in arcades across America. It has a straightforward premise in its design. Hit everything on the stage, don’t get hit and look badass while doing it. Sounds simple enough, but the execution was flawed. Gameplay is more akin to a run n’ gun instead of a beat ‘em up — a genre in which Taito’s Double Dragon set the industry standard for in 1987. 

Enemy ninjas will come at the player relentlessly from all corners, and that would be fine if you had some kind of projectile like in Sega’s Shinobi or Namco’s Rolling Thunder, which Bad Dudes takes cues from at times. But here, the player only has two weapons besides their fist to fight with: nunchucks and a small knife, so say goodbye to a chunk of your life quickly.

Character animations are sluggish and unpredictable, so again, say goodbye to your precious life bar. Also, the bosses, besides the first one, are cheap as hell and will drain your life bar with three hits. Notice the emphasis on the player’s life bar. This game was made to drain players of their parent’s money and is known in arcade terminology as a “quarter muncher.”

Not everything is bad about Bad Dudes, though. The urban background setting in the game influenced one of the greatest beat em’ ups of all time, Capcom’s Final Fight, which was released the next year. The game’s action movie plot, which has players saving former president Ronnie from ninjas, will give the most stone-faced person a great chuckle.

1991 brought the spiritual sequel to Bad Dudes in the form of Two Crude, and it somehow takes everything bad about the first game and makes it worse. 

The premise this time around is that New York City is a waste zone filled with gangs, and the new commander in chief wants the Dudes to clean up the city and make it livable for law-abiding citizens.

The graphics are improved with the two-year jump between the games, but the sprites are big and clunky. This causes the player to take unnecessary damage by enemies since they have limited movement. A gimmick the game plays up to is that your characters can lift anything and throw it, but it gets repetitive quickly.

The bosses are a unique bunch. Some turn into mutants, cyborgs or just throw snakes at the player, but the problem is, just like the first game, these bosses will hit the player twice, resulting in a quick loss of life. During a playthrough at the arcade, it took $19.75 to beat. Even in the quarter muncher era, this was unacceptable, but arcade owners loved it since it was profitable for them. 

Long story short, play Bad Dudes to see how far beat ‘em ups evolved so we could get the perfect Streets of Rage 4 and avoid Two Crude like COVID.

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