Rambo: First Blood Part II exploded into cinemas in the summer of ’85 and don’t think our pals across the Pacific weren’t taking notes. Soon enough, the arcades were blipping and buzzing with a new litter of baby binary-John Rambos.

And now, send in the clones...

Ikari Warriors (1986)

SNK didn’t try to hide their Rambo-roots here, it was called “Rambo: Ikari no Dasshutsu” in Japan. Ikari Warriors followed two of Stallone’s split-zygote clones as they machine-gunned a path to the village of Ikari. The inane sequel found the duo “caught in a time warp, hurled thousands of years into the future” where they had to save the land of “Alexia Lomta” from “Zang Zip.” I did not make this up.

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Secret Commando (1986)

When Sega ported their Commando-clone Ashura to European shores, gone were the gi-clad Eastern protagonists, in were these First Blood Brothers. Ashura and Bishamon were such dead ringers, that when they acquired the American rights to the Rambo-license, Sega just switched out the title screen.

Contra (1987)

The game took place in the distant future (September 12th, 2631, to be exact) in New Zealand of all places. Here, blondie Bill and his brunette buddy Lance were Earth’s last hope in the face of alien intruder Red Falcon and his minions. It became a bigger hit when it was ported to the NES and introduced ‘Up-Up-Down-Down-Left-Right-Left-Right-B-A-START’ to the pop-cultural landscape.

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P.O.W.: Prisoners of War (1988)

SNK’s next grab at the Rambo-gold starred second-generation Ikari clones Bart and Snake of Army Special Forces Unit "M.” Their Mission: infiltrate the “subversive organization” GOON. In case you’re wondering, GOON stands for “Government of Offensive Network.” In case you’re wondering just what “Government of Offensive Network” means exactly... well, let’s just say your guess is as good as mine.

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Bloody Wolf/Battle Rangers (1988)

Another Snake, who with his bald-pated brother-in-arms Eagle are tasked by a Trautman-esque Colonel to “rescue kidnapped president alive.” Data East went so as far as to actually include a painted likeness of Sly (and curiously enough, Arnold) on its flyer. Bloody Wolf would become a minor MEME due its hilariously mangled mistranslation. Sample line: “You! Invaders! Get you the hot bullets of shotgun to die!”

Images shamelessly pilfered from Moby Games


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