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US Gold Ltd
1986
Arcade: Gang beat-em-up
£7.95
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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69
Max Phillips
Chris Bourne

I've played Kung-Fu Master before. In a fish'n'chip shop in Rochdale. No, I don't have a Spectrum on an elastic mains lead... I was banging away on an arcade machine, waiting for a bus home.

Point being that US Gold's new tape is a good enough conversion to actually remind me of that rather damp and forgettable evening. Up until seeing it, I was convinced I'd never heard of it.

Not that the graphics and animation re-create the smell of spilt vinegar very well. Or even touch on the atmosphere of most martial arts games. KFM suffers from wimpy little blokes with a slight mince, horrible identity crises (well, attribute problems) and the occasional jerk.

But if the graphics aren't so hot, it's the game that'll grab you. Your task is to beat your way through five floors of meanies, to rescue your loved one, taking on everything from henchmen (the sort of extras the A-team is filled with - just there to get injured), to knife throwers, dragons and killer bees.

Sheer size makes it a different kettle of Fist to your standard martial artser; you're going to need a lot of practice and a lot of stamina.

Your range of moves is more limited than with the straight fight games too. But little twists like having to shake yourself free of opponents to get a kick or punch in add a bit more realism and frustration to the game.

This is the one for those who reckon they've got these games sussed - the biggie. Don't worry about the way it looks; if you can beat this, you can beat anything. And have fun doing it.

I'm even tempted to go and spend a penny in an arcade to pick up some tips and see the real thing again. Damn good fish'n'chips too...

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