Kung Fu


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 7

Sound: 5

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5

Why is it that gamers get such a thrill from slamming some guys face in with their fists? Is this not just a bit twisted? Nevertheless, this simple task spawned countless games including the classic (and personal favorite) beat-em-up genre, which has slowly been eliminated by new technologies. "Kung Fu" is easily the game that laid down the foundations, but is too simple when compared to the games that came after it; going back is now a tough ride.

Translated from the arcades where is was called "Kung Fu Master," players control Thomas, courageously ascending Mr. X's Chinese themed mansion in a race to rescue his beloved Jessica. Your never sure why exactly he kidnapped her, but who can resist trying to save a women tied ruthlessly to a white chair? Fending off a small variety of thugs who fall violently to their deaths (when blasted just once usually) leads players to the boss. These guys require some work to make it past to that stage-ending staircase.

For such an early title, "Kung Fu" provides gamers with a wide variety of maneuvers. Punches, kicks (in both the standing and jumping variety) along with foot sweeps and cruel punches to the lower abdominal area fill out the roster. There are no differences in the strength of the various maneuvers, but this does add some much needed variety to a game that would otherwise quickly become stale.

Actually, it still becomes stale. Yes, there is an ending, but since Thomas is obviously not too watchful, Sylvia once again becomes kidnapped requiring players to once again attack the fortress. Of course the game will become harder with each subsequent trial. If you've got the guts, you can start on a harder level in which the enemies do more damage and make more frequent appearances. You can only take on the same group of ten enemies before boredom sets in.

Translating the game to the NES has required only a small loss in the graphics department. Colors have been deleted and the background is crude, but the sprites are large and detailed enough for a first generation title. The same music plays through all of the stages and while fast paced to keep with the action, it will soon grow old. A few voice samples have been included as well to taunt players when they fall to their opponents.

With other, more advanced beat-em-ups on the console (including Capcom's superb late release "Mighty Final Fight" and of course "Double Dragon"), Kung Fu only serves as a reminder to the rather archaic initial batch of games for the console. It's not a terrible game by any means, but unless you can place yourself back in that bygone era and relive some childhood memories, it's doubtful you will find enjoyment out of this title.


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Last updated: Saturday, September 11, 2004 09:49 AM