Kung Fu Kid

Master System

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 6

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 7

Overall: 6

Suitably cheesy yet still enjoyable as a guilty pleasure, Kung Fu Kid is a basic beat-em-up. It falls in with Vigilante and Black Belt on the Master System, and of those three, Kung Fu Kid comes out on top. It's not original, difficult, or particularly special, yet it's hard not to be drawn to it.

The first few levels are somewhat misleading, telling players they'll simply walk right, kicking poor saps in the face. Later levels take on a maze like quality, offering some enjoyable platforming and boss fights. With a limited array of moves, the game should quickly become repetitive, but it's fast pace and well-done mechanics are enough to carry it.

For someone out to save the world, our spunky little hero should probably learn to use his fists. His attacks are limited to his feet, including a long, drawn out jump that's able to leap anything. His only other defense is the ability to throw collected items.

It doesn't take long to realize you can simply jump over entire levels, and only occasionally pick off an enemy. Aside from the boss fights, the first few levels can be cleared like this. The rest of the game isn't particularly hard either, even when they control your jumping with barriers. You'll feel good about yourself when you plow through it the first time you put it into the console, and then the realization sets in that you probably don't want to come back.

Part of that is caused by the designers attempt to make the game difficult. If you die, regardless of how much progress has been made, you're forced all the way back to the beginning of the stage. That's not a problem early, but later stages require some significant legwork to make it to the boss. It's even more annoying when the game needs to stop completely for a second when you jump up to a higher platform.

Boasting a few minor sights, there's not much to Kung Fu Kid. There are some minor flickering issues (though rare), and some bland backgrounds. The highlight is a beautiful tile dragon during the stage five boss. Sprites are detailed given their small size, certainly more so than equal ones on the NES. That doesn't leave too much of an impression.

The music is one part of the game that just gets it right. It's suitably cheesy, mimicking classic kung fu films without turning them into a parody. Sound effects are as boring as they could be, but the music more than compensates with its upbeat rhythm and style.

Don't base this game on the first level. You can get a feel for things to come, including the accurate collision detection and responsive controls. It's enough to keep you playing even though the stages are rather mundane. Then, it's all when you didn't even see the ending coming. This is a game crying out for a decent challenge.


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Last updated: Saturday, July 30, 2005 09:26 AM