Wednesday 19 August 2015

China Warrior (Turbografx-16 review)

Developer: Hudson Soft
Publisher: Hudson Soft
Released: 1989

China Warrior is a side-scrolling beat-em-up that was first released on the PC Engine in Japan in 1987.

There's four stages with three acts each and your mission is to defeat the evil horde and return peace to the Kungfu Province. You automatically move forward and use the I button to punch and II to kick; however, five different attack moves can be performed by holding a direction on the d-pad including Jump Kicks and Low Thrusts. A special attack can also be performed by pressing I + Right which makes your hand double in size for a massive blow! The gameplay is similar to Kung Fu (1985, NES) and Vigilante (1989, Turbografx-16) as it consists of you mowing down endless waves of enemies. Each stage has set patterns and enemies are able to attack you from the side as well as with projectiles from above. The stages are short and require lots of memorisation but the action is rarely enjoyable due to the lack of variety and slightly laggy controls. Too much trial and error is needed and with only three lives and no continues the harsh difficulty seems like a cheap way to lengthen the experience. Each stage has three bosses and they all have different attacks and abilities. However, there's not a great deal of strategy or timing involved and most fights end up with wild button mashing. The special attack comes in handy for some of the later bosses though as you can wipe out a large portion of their health bar in one hit. On a plus note the game does have an impressive 32 enemy types, the music is fantastic and the graphics feature gigantic sprites and gorgeous backgrounds; your character's facial expression even changes depending on how much life you have left!

China Warrior has a few things going for it but unfortunately there's some shallow gameplay beneath its flashy visuals. The action is too repetitive and the core mechanics aren't interesting enough to carry it through a whole game.

Random trivia: The game has been re-released several times including on the Wii U Virtual Console, the PlayStation Network in Japan and mobile phones.

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