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Kung-Fu Master


1987 Activision

Atari 2600



Here's a decent arcade translation that came out late in the 2600's life cycle. Like it's arcade counterpart the game involves you as the Kung Fu master walking though a multistage mansion to save your girlfriend from Mr. X.

This version tries hard to get the feel of the arcade down and does an adequate job for the most part. You can bust out multiple types of attacks by pressing the joystick in a certain direction plus the fire button (the most handy being the sweep.) You have to press up to jump, and for some reason the jump-kick has been completely removed from your arsenal. Bad, bad, bad. There also seems to be no way to just stand and punch.

Bad guys are made up as the same sprite as you but just in different colors. They include the generic hanger-on guys that go down with one kick, the annoying knife throwers, and the boss (all of which have been included.) Later on you encounter snakes from falling pots, killer moths, and dragons.

Graphics are extremely blocky. Your character has a two step walking animation. Controls are hard to get used to. It's easy to do different attacks, however hard to get jumping down to deal with the knife throwing bastards. They have a tendency to wait until you land from a jump before nailing you. All of the different enemy types just disappear with a "boing!" when you kill them. I know it would have been too difficult to make them fall off the screen like in the arcade, but at least they could have made them flash or fade out or something. On the plus side the sound is decent. There is even a halfway recognizable rendition of the Kung Fu theme song at the beginning. Compared to versions on other consoles this one is obviously inferior, but as 2600 fare goes this is the best it's going to get.


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