Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja
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Data East
1988
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A classic beat-em-up for many reasons (its gameplay and sound effects, its premise, even its title), Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja is second only to BurgerTime as Data East's best-known title. "President Ronnie has been kidnapped by the ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue Ronnie?" asks the game's intro, and of course, the answer is always yes (even if it takes lots of quarters to get there). Bad Dudes was not unique in its punch-and-kick mechanics, but its timely (for the 80s) ninja theme and weapons and its distinctive visual style have made it a standout in its genre. Note the presence of Data East quasi-mascot Karnov as the first level boss, and the surprisingly convincing pixel art portrait of Ronald Reagan at the end exclaiming "Hey Dudes thanks, for rescuing me. Let's go for a burger... Ha! Ha! Ha! Ha!"

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