Bad Dudes – Who’s Bad?

Bad Dudes Feature Pic 2

It’s February!  You know what that means!  Valentine’s Day!  A time for people either to be gross and do things with their feelings and stuff, or a time for people to be cynical and talk about how love doesn’t exist or whatever crybaby bullshit they spew.  I tend not to listen to either side because they’re both annoying.  Also, Black History Month.

Black History Month

Aw, shucks!  I don’t need Valentine’s Day to love you guys!

But I’m not going to talk about any of that.  Instead, I’m giving this month what it truly needs: A shot of Testosterone right in its ass!  That’s why February will henceforth be called “Badass-uary,” the time to reflect on everything that is manly, awesome, bold, stupid, fun, and badass!


Look at its visual representation!  LOOK AT IT!

And what could be a better way to start off this celebration of awesomeness than with the classic arcade adaptation of Bad Dudes vs. Dragon Ninja, the greatness that is Bad Dudes for the NES?  If you can think of a better start, too bad.  I already wrote this.

Bad Dudes Box ArtGame: Bad Dudes

Console: Nintendo Entertainment System

Developer: Data East USA

Publisher: Data East

Release Year: 1989

There’s nothing I need to say about the epicness that is Bad Dude‘s box art other than “random helicopter in the background.”  I don’t know why, but I can’t think of anything – movie poster, box art, dvd cover,  tattoo – that has a random helicopter in the background and isn’t badass.  So let’s just move on to the plot which, again, is something I need only to say very little about.  Any gamer or casual internet goer knows the plot to Bad Dudes.  But, because I’d rather be redundant than careless, here’s the infamous plot in all its one-screen, all capped glory:


One must look deep within to find one’s inner Badness.

That’s it.  That’s all you get.  Anything else that could even possibly qualify or be construed as exposition or plot development looks a lot like a dude punching ninjas in the face.  And that’s just the way we liked it back in the 80’s. It was also okay for protagonists to wear sweatpants and have the most ridiculous and totally rad names ever: Blade and Striker!  It really doesn’t get any better than that, people.

Character Select

Only pussies smile and don’t look constipated in their pictures!

However, you should really consider taking the generic, sunglasses-wearing military guy’s question seriously: Are you a bad enough dude?  Because, quite frankly, you’re going to be doing some pretty bad stuff in order to save the president.  There are many times when you’ll have to do things like kicking Little People, shanking women, and punching dogs right in their face:


You could just jump over them, but this is far more hilarious.

But don’t get it wrong; there are plenty of things to pummel in Bad Dudes that won’t rub your conscience wrong.  Ninjas of all colors will come at you from every angle and do everything they can to take you down: scale buildings, throw caltrops like a sissies and run away, traverse sewers and fight atop trains.  All this in hopes of stopping the baddest dude in the U.S.A. from saving Rappin’ Ronnie Reagan or, in the NES version, George Bush Sr.  They want to stop you so much that they even set themselves on fire.


I’d feel bad if I didn’t at least let him run into me.

The most threatening foe you’ll face in this game is either the jumps between cars or boredom.  Bad Dudes is an entirely too-slow and by-the-books Beat-‘Em-Up experience, which is sad considering the plot really built it up to be something so grand.  Levels scroll from left to right, and you can fight either on the ground or on – I don’t know – parallel platforms a little above the ground?  Whatever.  The upper level you fight on changes each level.  One level it’s a cliff, and on another it’s a train or semi-trucks.  And sometimes, when the game adds another platform to fight on, the action comes to a complete halt as the screen slowly and awkwardly scrolls downward.  It’s awful, but the game compensates for this technical shortcomings by allowing the player to punch ninjas to death.  And these ninjas can run as fast as semi-trucks on the highway.  And the music on that level is sweet.  So it all evens out.

Running on Road

Who here hasn’t daydreamed of punching ninjas off of speeding semi-trucks?

To fend off all these president-stealing ninjas, you get an arsenal composed of punches and kicks powerful enough to neutralize any oncoming ninjas with one hit, a stupid-looking spinning jump kick, and, obviously, a flame punch.

Flame Punch

Because you’re bad!

But the best move in the game is by far the leg sweep, but anyone who’s watched The Karate Kid (not the shitty Will Smith version) can tell you that!  The leg sweep is just so magical and effective.  For instance, in this game, it can kill five out of the seven bosses.  Simply get on the higher platform, which is readily available always, stand above the boss, and, when he jumps up, do a leg sweep to his head (or head sweep).

Fourth Boss Stab

For added effect, replace “leg sweep” in the previous sentence with “knife stab.”

To defeat the final boss, I was lucky enough to have gotten nunchuks from a red ninja (they drop weapons and soda upon dying) and was able to repeatedly smack his dumb ass from a safe distance.  It’s a pretty bizarre fight, if you could imagine: A dude in sweatpants and wifebeater using nunchuks to continually bash the crotch of a Kabuki dramatist while fighting on the side of a helicopter in mid-flight.

I’m so glad to live in a world where that sentence exists and is applicable.

This Happened

Oh, yeah.  This is happening right now.

There’s a lot to love here in Bade Dudes, but, to be brutally sincere, this game really isn’t that fun.  After the brilliant and poignant opening and the novelty of kicking Karnov’s ass and hearing your guy declare “I’m Bad!” like a bad Michael Jackson impersonator coughing over an intercom, there’s really nothing much else to see or do.  Except the ending.  That shit’s classic.


Mr. President, is that the Union Jack?  You’re being the president wrong!

Back in the day, Bad Dudes wasn’t that terrible.  It just hasn’t stood the test of time.  That being said, on the Badass-O-Meter, I give Bad Dudes a rating of 5 out of 10 – Johnny Lawrence!

Thanks for Your Playing!  See you later this month for some more Badass-uary!

Scale 1

Johnny Lawrence – Popular, likable, and well loved by the initiated.  The pinnacle of coolness and badassness in the 80’s, this particular title hasn’t aged well.  Though undeniably badass, its cocky demeanor and reliance on its few strengths ultimately makes it come across as shallow.  Deserves a play.

Most Badass Moment –  Stopping a ninja star by punching it head on and coming out unscathed.


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