Bad Dudes Vs. DragonNinja, also known simply as either Bad Dudes (on the American NES port) or DragonNinja (in Japan and Europe), is a side-scrolling cooperative beat ’em up game developed and released by Data East for arcades in 1988. It was also ported to many computer and game console home systems.
In Bad Dudes, the players are set in the role of the titular duo tasked with rescuing “President Ronnie” from ninja kidnappers. The game was met with commercial success, becoming one of America’s top five highest-grossing arcade games of 1988. The arcade version received generally positive reviews from critics, while the home conversions received a generally positive to mixed critical reception. It has since become widely known for its general premise and introductory cut scene.
The game is set in Washington, D.C., United States, where President Ronnie (based on 40th President Ronald Reagan) has been abducted by the evil Dragon Ninja. The game’s intro begins with the following introduction: “Rampant ninja related crimes these days … Whitehouse is not the exception”. A Secret Service agent speaks to the titular “Bad Dudes”, a tough and heroic duo of street-smart brawlers named Blade and Striker: “President Ronnie has been kidnapped by the ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue Ronnie?”
The Bad Dudes pursue the Dragon Ninja through the New York City streets, onto a moving big rig truck, through a large storm sewer, through a forest, onto a freight train on an old Southern Pacific line (where the titular character of another Data East arcade game, Chelnov, can be seen being transported in a frozen container in the arcade version), through a cave, and into an underground factory in order to save President Ronnie.
Epilogue (US version)
After the Bad Dudes defeat the Dragon Ninja, they celebrate by eating hamburgers with President Ronnie. At the very end, President Ronnie is seen holding a burger while standing between the Bad Dudes. Behind them are many security guards, with the White House in the background.