Bad Dudes is Still…Pretty Good

Bad Dudes is a classic beat ’em up video game developed and published by Data East in 1988. The game was released for arcades and later ported to various home consoles, such as the Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and the Commodore 64. Feeling very “80’s America” much the way that cult classic Repo Man does, the game’s plot centers around the kidnapping of the President of the United States by a group of ninjas (ninjas were big in the 80’s too), and the player takes on the role of one of two “bad dudes” named Blade and Striker, who are tasked with rescuing President Ronnie (obviously based off of former President Ronald Reagan). The gameplay involves fighting through waves upon waves of enemies using punches, kicks, and special moves. The player can also pick up weapons such as knives, nunchucks, and throwing stars as they get dropped by enemies. The game features several levels, each with its own unique bad ass boss at the end.

The Legacy of Bad Dudes

The game is known for its catchy one-liner, “Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the President?” which has since become a cultural catchphrase, although I have never actually heard anyone say it. Ever. Maybe I haven’t been paying attention. Still, the game’s art style and soundtrack are heavily influenced by 80’s pop culture, with references to movies and TV shows of the era. The game’s difficulty is challenging and requires precise timing and quick reflexes, so expect to die frequently. The game still holds up well despite its age and is still considered a classic by many retro gamers. It is also considered to be one of the best beat ’em up games of the era.

Check out the game play and judge for yourself:

Year: 1988
Developer: Data East
Publisher: Data East
Designer: Makoto Kikuchi
Platform: Arcade, Amiga, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, Atari ST, Commodore 64, Nintendo Switch
Genre: Beat ’em up


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