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Ikari Warriors is a top-down vertical scrolling shoot-em-up in which you and a friend assume the identity of die-hard Rambo-like characters hell bent on killing enemy soldiers deep behind enemy lines. Ikari Warriors is derivative of the revolutionary top-down shooter Frontline, which introduced the concept of a rotating control that would swivel your character's weapon, allowing for independent firing and moving, though not to the degree that a dual joystick game like Robotron permitted.
In Frontline, the rotating knob was separate from the movement joystick and also served as the firing button when pressed. In Ikari Warriors it is the movement joystick itself that rotates and the firing buttons are separate. There are also two fire buttons: one for your main gun and the other for lobbing grenades. The second button is also used for entering and exiting tanks.
In the opening scene of Ikari Warriors, we see our heroes' plane crash into the jungle. Upon stepping out, they are besieged by enemy soldiers. Kill the soldiers and fight your way up the screen to the village of Ikari. Later in the game your characters can enter tanks which give them increased firepower as well as some protection from enemy fire. Your tank can be destroyed, however, and you must jump out before it blows up to escape death. A tank can also run out of gas, which can be avoided by picking up gasoline icons. Other icons spread around in the game include super-grenades and long-range bullets. ~ Michael Schwartz/Joan Dykman, All Game Guide