What the Famous Quote From “Bad Dudes” Originally Said in Japanese


An often-referenced line from back in the NES days is from the side-scrolling beat-em-up, Bad Dudes:

The president has been kidnapped by ninjas. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the president?

I thought I’d take a look at the Japanese version today and see what it originally said, and here we are:

Oh, how I wish more games got the dude treatment during localization. Between this and Totally Rad, I'm in late 80s/early 90s heavenOh, how I wish more games got the dude treatment during localization. Between this and Totally Rad, I'm in late 80s/early 90s heaven

And here’s a side-by-side comparison of the text for reference:

Japanese textLiteral translationOfficial translation
きんきゅうしれい!!Emergency order!!
だいとうりょうが しょうたいふめいのてき ドラゴンNINJAにさらわれた。The president has been abducted by an enemy known only as Dragon Ninja.The president has been kidnapped by ninjas.
しきゅうだいとうりょうをすくいだしてくれ。Rescue the president ASAP.Are you a bad enough dude to rescue the president?
たのんだぞ!!We’re counting on you!!

As you can see, there’s no talk of being “bad” or any mention of “dude” at all. I actually really like the localization though – it really adds to the cheesiness of the game! The original takes itself more seriously, which is okay, but if ninjas are kidnapping the president then it’s a pretty cheesy situation to begin with 😛

Incidentally, the Japanese version of the game is called Dragon Ninja as opposed to the English release of Bad Dudes:

Dragon Ninta!Dragon Ninta!

Of course, these were actually arcade games originally, so I assume the original versions have similar localization changes. I don’t think I played the arcade version very much back in the day though, so it’s not as memorable to me. I do remember wanting to rent the NES game specifically because there was a cheat code that gave you a ton of lives and I had a hankering for a good action game that I could breeze through. Still, maybe I’ll look into the arcade version in a future update!

If you have any lines in games or whatever else that you’d like me to take a look at sometime, let me know in the comments or contact me!

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  1. stone cold steve austin (scsa)

    Among the best localizations of all time.

  2. I think the line in the Arcade version is “Ninjas have rescued President Ronnie. Are you a bad enough dude to rescue Ronnie?”, which totally dates such a timeless classic (eugh) as Bad Dudes. I’ll give it a look at some point and see if the text is different. D:

    1. The NES version omits the references to “Ronnie” – not just his name, but the likeness was changed to that of then-current President George Bush! Both Presidents however offer the titular Bad Dudes to go out for a hamburger upon completing the game.

  3. Something else about the title change – the arcade version was called Bad Dudes vs. Dragonninja.

  4. I almost guarantee that if this game didn’t have a localization like this, it would have faded into obscurity as just another NES beat’em up. Major props to whoever wrote the script!

  5. Honestly, I would not save President Ronnie no matter how Bad of a Dude I am.

  6. Any idea why the word “NINJA” is written in romaji in the original? Seems especially weird considering it’s a Japanese word to begin with.

    1. to avoid confusion because it’s the name of the enemy gang and not a literal dragon that is also a ninja

  7. AnnoyingOrangeInOrangeCounty

    I can’t rescue the President until I escape this internment camp and that’s proven near impossible with little resources, transportation, communication and rondevous efforts foiled by the team of tech ninja geeks holding me hostage advice would be appreciated

    1. Ha still answering in 2021. Cool!

      1. I wonder if he ever got out of (what I presume to be COVID-related) detainment camp.