Kung Fu






Kung Fu.  A game of punches, kicks, and bad guys of various races and talents.  If you've seen any martial arts film ever made, you've probably seen the subject matter than inspired this game.




The plot in a nutshell, though it doesn't bother telling you until you complete the third floor







You'd start each level on one end of the current floor, and have to fight your way through several enemies, including guys in pink that grapple you and knife-throwing guys that could do quite a bit of damage (but were easy to defeat once you got close to them).  The only things you were armed with were a punch, kick, jump, and duck (or any combination of ducking or jumping and attacking).  Pretty basic, but it worked well for a game made in 1984.




Ouch!



At the end of each floor was a boss, who often wielded some sort of weapon.  Seen above is the first floor's boss, smashing our hero in the head with a sword.  Fortunately, most of them were easy prey to crouching down and pummeling them with sweep kicks.




Up to the next floor!



Each time you complete a floor, you will get points depending upon the amount of time left and the amount of health your character has remaining.  The more you have, the higher your score.  You'd get extra lives every 50,000 points or so, so getting a high score would net you more than just bragging rights.







The stages would get progressively tougher as you went on, often throwing strange obstacles like snakes and dragons at you (which would emerge from falling jars, no less).  The snakes could be leapt over with little trouble, but the dragons would breathe damaging flame at you.  Unlike the snakes, however, they were vulnerable to attack, and hitting one would earn you a whopping 2,000 points.




Destroying the floating balls nets you 1,000 points







The fourth floor was a tricky one, as bees would emerge from holes in the wall at a constant rate and generally make your life difficult, as they were hard to hit.  Once you got past all of them, you'd be back down to the usual knife-throwers and grapplers, with the boss following shortly afterward.







I ran out of lives at that point, so I couldn't move on to the last floor and defeat Mr. X.  Ah well.





The Japanese version of the game, Spartan X, is based on a Jackie Chan movie of the same name.  Since the film wasn't released in America until 1998 (under the name "Wheels on Meals"), they simply changed the name of the NES game to "Kung Fu." Strange, but it does explain why this one hasn't seen any sequels or re-releases since the NES era.


Rating: 6/10
One-line synopsis: An NES classic, and it helped kick off series like Final Fight and Double Dragon.

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