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Arcade: Solo beat-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K

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Rick Robson
Chris Bourne

If you've a yen for Kung Fu combat games which are full of Eastern Promise, then perhaps you'd like to nippon down to the chip shop for a few bytes of Firebird's latest, Oriental Hero.

Your bruising mission is to become Supreme Oriental Combat Master, and to achieve this you'll need not only super skills, but mega stamina, as there's four rounds to fight through. You have all the usual powers, squatting, jumping, kicking and fly kicks, to be practised either on joystick or keyboard.

What's more, you'll have to have hair trigger reactions, 'cos as your ninja wanders against a gently scrolling Outer Mongolian panorama (and I always thought the Far East was Billericay), your assailants will fly at you from various angles and differing speeds and directions. And when I say your enemies are speedy, there so preciptous they're the kind that can hit the switch and be under the sheets before the lights gone off. So be prepared for death by a thousand cuts (and kicks and chops) before you learn to deal with your foes.

If you win your way through to the end of a round, you must defeat the combat master at the level to go on to the next. For example, you must beat the Indian Cobra at the end of round one (worth 300 points) to get to round two, and at the end of that beat the war unit (worth 400 points) and so forth. Only with the defeat of Zerwin the Magician can you claim to be a true Ninja master.

There's nothing much wrong with Oriental Hero, it's fast with cheery graphics and ear thumping sound fix. But it sure lacks imagination. There's nothing new in it, and unless you're a fanatic or this is your first kung fu game, then it's probably not worth a dosh. But that certainly won't stop it being a hit!

No-frills beat 'em up that adds nowt to the 8 billion previous no-frills beat 'em up. Bound to do well, though.