What does any self-respecting dictator do when he gets the smackdown from the allied forces? He strikes back in a sequel, of course — and that’s exactly what happens in Access Software’s Beach Head II: The Dictator Strikes Back.
Offering a series of competitive minigames that can either be played against the computer or a friend, Beach Head II is an enjoyable game that feels like a noticeable improvement over its predecessor in many ways. Just a pity that the Atari 8-bit version missed out on the Commodore 64 version’s digitised speech!
Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind! Pushing diagonally backwards and up while holding the fire button to swing your sword, however? Somewhat less intuitive…
Enter Mastertronic’s Ninja from 1986. This was a game developed by Steve Coleman (who was previously responsible for Pharaoh’s Curse, which we’ll be coming to in a few weeks) that combines open-world 2D adventuring with a fusion of one-on-one fighting and beat ’em up mechanics to produce something altogether unique.
Ninja was a game of “firsts” for me growing up. It was the first time I saw a ninja and learned what it was. It was the first time I saw (and learned the name of) a lot of pieces of traditional Japanese architecture such as torii gates. And it was one of the first games I played where fighting mechanics were a little more complex than simply mashing the fire button to do a single type of attack. It’s still pretty fun, too… though it puts up a lot more of a fight than I remember!