Saturday 11 July 2015

Kung Fu (NES review)

Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: 1985

Kung Fu was originally developed by Irem for the Arcades where it was titled Kung-Fu Master (1984).

You play as Thomas and your mission is to advance up to the fifth floor and rescue Sylvia from a gang leader called Mr. X. As you move along each floor the action scrolls and a range of enemies try to stop you including thugs, dragons and snakes. They all have unique attack patterns and some throw knives while others leap into the air and try to hug you to death! Your form of attack consists of kicks and punches and you can also jump to perform flying kicks. The levels are short but some memorisation and quick reflexes are required to succeed. If you make it to the end of the floor you'll face powerful bosses who use weapons such as sticks and boomerangs. Beat them and you move onto the next floor until you eventually meet Mr. X in a final showdown. The bosses aren't too tough and can generally be defeated by crouching and using your low kick. However, some have unique attack patterns including the fourth boss where you need to avoid fireballs and then punch him in the stomach; high kicks are ineffective as the boss' head regenerates and he doesn't take any damage. It's fun figuring out their weaknesses but once you know them a lot of the challenge is removed. If you die during a boss battle you're taken back to the start of the stage; this might frustrate some players but seeing as the levels are so short it's not a huge issue. In fact, the whole game can be beaten in ten minutes once you know what you're doing. There's a few voice samples (e.g. when you throw a punch) and while they're cheesy they do fit in well with the overall atmosphere.

Kung Fu is very short with little replay value but the controls are slick and the difficulty just right. It's easy to get into and provides a nice challenge with its non-stop action and twitch style gameplay.

Random trivia: The game was also ported to a number of other systems including the Atari 2600, Amstrad CPC, MSX and ZX Spectrum.

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