Kung Fu

June 4, 2009

Kung Fu is one of those games that every gamer must own.  It is a crucial part of the library, much as scotch is for a connoisseur of fine liquors.  Although the story may be simple and the game is quick, the effect is everlasting.  Help me Thomas could not be a more finite or poigniant plea.  Scale 5 levels and get to the top of the tower as quick as possible and take down Mr. X before he does god knows what to your girl. (We all know what people with x’s in their names do to people…)  This game features a wide range of attacks and allows for great diversity in gameplay and playstyle – too bad you cannot steal the 1st boss’ sword.  Ultimately this is a game that you may only play once a year or so, but those five minutes a year are well worth the space on your bookshelf when a strong craving for kicking pixelated huggy-guys off-screen comes on.



Every story needs a love interest, and in this short – Sylvia is our only real reason for caring why we’re doing what we’re doing.  Somehow she can either project herself as a hallucinogenic vision to Thomas, or she can teleport him to the roof, where strangely enough is not where you find her.  Either way, Sylvia is as important to this game as are the black pixels surrounding Thomas’ waist that make him a bad ass.


The diversity of the enemies helps to make this game interesting, however, it is the bosses that make this Kung Fu shine.  Each boss has his own strength/weakness that you must quickly learn or be destroyed.


Perhaps this is personal bias that doesn’t belong in a review, but the music is brilliant.  The intro track creates an immediate sense of nostalgia and familiarity while the main music sets the stage for a hurried pace that echoes the urgency of the story (ok, ok so maybe that’s a little melodramatic, but this midi track rocks).



Most of the bad guys make sense (well maybe not the little midget dudes), but what’s with the main bad guys?  They run up and hug you?  And to top it off, somehow by them expressing their homoerotic love your health gets drained.  I guess Thomas must be extremely homophobic.  Give these guys the ability to attack – even if it’s just a punch or a kick.


Great concept, bad implementation.  Killer bees are an alluring enemy, but only when they actually attack.  This is one of the easiest enemies in the game and for some reason they’re near the end.  I guess it’s a lot to ask for nes standards to program the bees to fly in an erratic pattern?



Kung Fu is a port from the arcade game Kung Fu Master and this point is overly apparent in the fact that the game is set up to repeat endlessly – most likely in order to suck quarters from poor 1980’s kids (I wonder how much the game actually cost back then?)  We don’t want to continue playing through the game over and over, saving Sylvia time after time – if the bitch doesn’t learn the first time, she’ll never learn if we keep bailing her out.  Give us some closure.  At least let us believe that they lived happily ever after for longer than 10 seconds.  Why else did we kick Mister X’s ass in the first place?

Verdict: Ebay it

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