Kung-Fu Master Review by: TottsKung Fu Master
Who ever remembers this earlier game certainly played in every good arcade game room, which attracted people to the light like moths. Only those who faced the Kung Fu Master machine itself countless times in the queue or on the shoulders of other players tracking events on the screen. As one of the very first beat'em up games (I know) Kung Fu Master is totally on the spot! And is well received among the many enthusiastic arcade visitors I know, which is very likely due also to the winning Kung Fu films of the time in this country gaining more and more in popularity which has significantly benefited the popularity of these games (think "The Shaolin Temple" or "Master of Shaolin" with Jet Li who was known only to Bruce Lee in the movie).
The hero of the game, a Kung Fu Master appropriately named Thomas, one day when he together with his girlfriend Sylvia is quite unexpectedly and attacked suddenly by many of unknown men. The struggle that arises can to separate the attackers Sylvia in the majority of Thomas and to hijack them. Later Thomas finds a letter from a certain X (again a very imaginative name) asking him to instantly in the devil ´s temple to come when he wants to see his girlfriend, who is now in the care of five sons of the devil. The attentive Viewer could stand out in the storyline some parallels to the movie "The game of death" by Bruce Lee, but whether this was really the intention of the creators, every man woman or child for himself can decide.
A really simple game concept which motivated but especially so in the long term and gives a lot of fun behind the promising title. After a short but really iconic and atmospheric music sequence starts immediately on the lowest floor of the temple. From now on, one is confronted constantly with many attackers on our Kung Fu champion sporadically or they come in smaller groups or attack him from a safe distance with throwing knives. Thomas’ powerful Fist-and foot techniques are available, which he runs from the State, the squat and jump out to claim against this superiority. On the way you move bit by bit forward, until you last reach the final boss at the foot of a staircase which leads to the next level of the temple which is in the first level a swashbuckling armed with a stick. The boss can survive multiple attacks of course much more than the usual attackers who are just beaten after one or two steps, and they have a similarly long energy bar like our Kung Fu fighter. With some evasive action and many successive and very fast attacks first self-proclaimed sons of the devil can be relatively easily clear out of the way. All floors of the temple are similar and looks almost identical. Apart from the different final opponents and alternating direction confined to the few differences of each level mainly due to the increasing number of the onrushing enemy and the traps in the first half of the second and the fourth floor, which loosen the game play’s enjoyablity. There you must pass either on different falling colored spheres, which explode after a short time or release poisonous snakes and fire breathing Asian dragons on impact on the ground, or you must deal with a multitude of birds of prey which emerge from invisible wall openings. Also a time limit which may result in one of the initial three lives only in the rarest cases loss addition to all these obstacles.
Kung Fu Master is technically of course already outdated by today’s standards, the graphics are fairly flat, and the figures are roughly drawn. In fact today’s spoiled players who know nothing about the history of this game may pass it by, but true nostalgia fans will enjoy it as it still remains a bright sparkling game and Kung Fu Master will always remain a classic, if only because the memory of the sparkling atmosphere, which once was the game in the arcades, and well supported by the catchy music and simple sound effects.
The C 64 version reviewed here is quite a good realization of the arcade classic that can quite playfully match the automatic template from Kung Fu Master and the coarse and pixilated C 64 graphics add to the charm but do hamper the game play a little bit but the only real difference is in switching between the fists and kicks with the space key which is the only thing here however, that you might complain about in, but what is really not too bad in my view, we used to, remember, use the start key on the Sega mega drive in much the same way on the original 3 button controller when playing street fighter. The only place where you are likely to encounter difficulties is when the last boss appears and moves very quickly on the spot around you, but with some practice you can also master and beat the evil and loathsome X and can show who is the real Kung Fu Master.
Kung Fu Master is a true classic, and that is something in my opinion that never change. Although I would give the full 10 points for this nice game very much from my childhood, I must probably waive this to preserve the objectivity of my reviews. But it has a good and well earned 9.
In Japan by the way the game is known as Spartan X.