Ikki (いっき, lit. "riot", "revolt" or "insurrection"), is an arcade game originally released by Sunsoft in 1985. The game was released for the Famicom (Nintendo Entertainment System) on November 28 of the same year and is a multi-directional scrolling action game that contains some elements of a top-down shooter.
The game’s Famicom version is infamous among Japanese gamers for its poor quality. Despite this, this game was popular enough to warrant several re-releases and ports across different platforms, including a remake for PS3 called Ikki Online (いっき おんらいん), named so due to it including online functionality.
The game is set in medieval Japan, as a poor farming village is plotting to rebel against their feudal overlord. However, the only known active participants in the revolt are player character Gonbe (ごんべ) and optional second player character, Tago (田吾).
The players play as Gonbe (and Tago if there are two people playing) as they collect eight koban coins scattered throughout each level while also fending off armies of ninjas sent by the overlord to put a stop to the rebellion.
The player’s main method of attack is throwing sickles at their enemies. These sickles are automatically aimed at the nearest enemy when thrown.
Why it Sucks
- The screen only tends to scroll when you're near the edge of the screen, making it nearly impossible to see what's in front of you. This was fortunately fixed in Ikki Online.
- Enemies have a tendency to appear out of nowhere, which can result in cheap deaths.
- One of the power-ups, a bamboo spear, has a short-range and you can only attack upwards while using it.
- Your player character moves rather slowly, especially in the Famicom version. You can get a speed boost by picking up a daikon radish, though.
- The Famicom version lacks the mini-map that showed you where each koban was.
- The game is only four stages long in the Famicom version, as opposed to eight in the arcade version.
- Mediocre music, especially in the case of the Famicom version.
- The intro cutscene (which is only featured in the arcade version and Ikki Online) has no music or sound to speak of. Ikki Online slightly improves on this by adding sound effects that are supposed to represent speech whenever each character's line appears on-screen.
- The PS3 remake, Ikki Online, uses a CGI art style comparable to one of those cheaply made direct-to-video CGI films you would find in a bargain bin.
- There are two hazards that will appear from time to time that may hinder your progress, these include a big-lipped handmaiden who will smother you with kisses on contact, immobilizing you for a short period of time (you can still throw sickles in this state, but you will still be vulnerable to enemy attacks) and a ghost which makes you unable to attack when it makes contact with you and persists when you die, the only way to get rid of it is to touch the Jizo and Komainu statues found in some levels.
- The auto-aim mechanic works fairly well, and encourages playing defensively and collecting all the koban as opposed to aggressively attacking every enemy you see.
- The arcade version also features a cover mechanic of sorts, allowing the player to hide behind certain objects. You can attack enemies while taking cover.
- The PS3 remake has decent sounding remixes of the original soundtrack.
Despite the Famicom version being criticized for its poor quality, it still sold reasonably well and was one of Sunsoft's most popular products at the time. Japanese essayist Jun Miura coined the term kusoge (クソゲー, lit. "crap game") after playing the Famicom version.
- Gonbe makes a cameo appearance in Atlantis no Nazo, another game developed by Sunsoft.
- The game received a novel adaptation called Ikki: Legend of Takeyari Master, which was released by Sunsoft and Hifumi Shobo in 2013. The novel is notable for reimagining several of the game's characters with designs drastically different from their original portrayals in the games. For example, Gonbe is portrayed as more of a physically fit, young adult male as opposed to his middle-aged appearance in the game, and Tago (who was originally a lanky male) is portrayed as a woman and renamed Tae (タエ).