I was born in 1979. Definitely not old enough to remember the launch of titles like Pac-Man and Asteroids, but still in a generation that had a lot of exposure to arcades. Growing up outside of Washington, D.C., I had access to many arcade titles regularly, and they stuck with me. Rampage and P.O.W. at Jerry’s Pizza, TMNT at the indoor soccer facility, Toobin’ at the mini-golf course, and NARC and Ms. Pac-Man at Pizza Hut. One of the most vivid memories of my elementary school years was walking by a Sinistar Machine at Chuck E. Cheese’s and hearing it yell “I. AM. SINISTAR!!” in that creepy digitized voice.
These were all places I frequented with the family and friends on a pretty regular basis during the summers. However, one location always had the best arcade games, and that was the local bowling alley. It may have been a Bowl America, but that detail has passed out of my head.
The alley had a huge dedicated arcade room where kids would congregate while their dads bowled in leagues, and it was its own little society. I was never good enough to stay on the really popular machines for more than a minute or two, so I gravitated to the machines that were less crowded. Several of those games became longtime favorites, including Bad Dudes by Data East.
I’m not going to review Bad Dudes. It’s Bad Dudes. That’s tantamount to reviewing a port of Galaga. If you’re not familiar, Bad Dudes is a belt-scrolling beat-’em-up with large, colorful sprites, “realistic” settings and really solid gameplay. It’s simple enough, due to the lack of any Z-axis movement, for anyone to pick up quickly.
What I will review is the presentation here. The Nintendo Switch has seen a lot of arcade ports, with many more in the pipeline, and my internal 9 year old-self couldn’t be happier about that. Having access to perfect ports of Metal Slug and Blazing Star on the go is incredible. However, consumers expect more than just a ROM dump. Features are important, and that’s what we’ll be focusing on here.
Once Bad Dudes loads, we are faced with a pretty simple menu. Aspect Ratio presents you with three options: 4:3, 16:9, and Filled. 4:3 is the default, and I honestly don’t understand why this (and the Hamster ACA ports) include a 16:9 stretched option, but it’s there if you desire.
Screen Style includes a long list of interesting options in the form of overlays or filters to the image. Scanlines, simulated composite video, curvature to imitate the shape of the original CRT arcade monitor, it’s all here. This may options are welcome, even if it does feel like some are novelty tricks, it’s great to have choices.
Once the game is launched, it’s a non-stop kicking and punching good time. A welcome inclusion is the ability to play simultaneous co-op, as in the arcade, as so many of the home console ports in the 80s and 90s removed co-op play (I’m looking at you, Final Fight).
One final modern concession is the option to use save states, which is nice especially if you’re on the go, as a bookmarking feature. It’s not necessary to complete the game, since more credits come with the click of a button, granting essentially unlimited lives, but it’s a welcome inclusion.
Overall, this port from Johnny Turbo’s Arcade is solid. I would have liked to see access to the game’s dip-switch settings, but in the interest of ease of use for 99% of consumers, I understand why that’s not an option. Also missing is the Japanese version, which does contain a different ending, but it’s not as stark of a difference compared to a US/Japanese Neo Geo game, so it can be forgiven. I would challenge the Johnny Turbo team to go that slight extra distance in the future, as there are many of us out here that would appreciate it!
This is a capable version of an absolute classic arcade game. It’s Bad Dudes. It’s 10 bucks. I definitely fed more than $10 worth of quarters into this cabinet when I was a kid, with no regrets. If you’ve ever been even slightly curious about this game, this is a great way to experience it. Grab it and get to punchin’!
Charlie’s first attempts at gaming did not go well. Repeated, failed run-ins with the first Goomba in Super Mario Brothers 1 plagued his maiden gaming voyage. Undaunted, he would go on to become an avid gamer of all platforms, with Nintendo always sitting atop the highest pedestal. Except for that Halo 3 incident in 2007. We don’t talk about it. It never happened.
Currently, Charlie enjoys playing games on as many platforms as he can get his hands on, with current favorites being the Switch, 3DS and Neo Geo. When he’s not playing games, Charlie is a live sound engineer and manager for his production company, Clear Harmonies, based in Washington, D.C.
Charlie enjoys talking about games nearly as much as playing them, and loves meeting new people, so hit him up!
Plays: All of them games. Seriously.