The Edge
1986
Arcade: Gang beat-em-up
£7.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

23
Graham Taylor
Chris Bourne

Shao-lin's Road despite being a popular arcade game is not necessarily a cash-raking micro title. There are so many kicky-kicky games around that The Edge has definitely taken a risk in trying . ft one more time.

Fortunately for The Edge, Shao-lin's Road is a good conversion of the original game. Maybe even a very good conversion. The virtues of the game are precisely those lacking in most of the other, recent, releases - ie big sprites with lots of detail. Careful use of areas of two-colour also avoids much by way of attribute clash.

Actually playing the game reveals that actually Shao-lin's Road may look like some kind of multi-level Exploding Fist but it really isn't. There is essentially only one martial arts attack move here - kicking. Although there is a wild rather slavic leap, your man can perform it only as a defensive move.

Shao-lin's Road is far more about dodging around, keeping out of the way, and kicking the occasional object or person when the time is right. The reasons it's fun to play are really only the usual arcade ones: knowing when to run away and leap out of it. Knowing when to attack, when to go for the bonuses. You won't have to spend ages staring at a chart of joystick moves in this game!

Each level consists of a team of enemy warriors most of whom can be dispensed with fairly easily and one leader who usually takes more than one kick and also follows you about. The screen is presented in three layers - you can jump between them but the warriors seem to use the lift. When they are getting out of the lift is a good time to indulgence in a little face kicking. The real art of the game, however is to use the bonuses - objects which fly across the screen for extra points. One looks like a bomb, the other appears to be a deadly pizza (probably Hot Chilli, I imagine). Better is the sparkly thing that appears. Grab this and you get, temporarily, a around or a sort of giant ball you can launch and knock down a whole roll of enemy warriors like ninepins (with a Spectrum blip for every one it's fairly amusing and earns big points).

Level Three is an oriental house on three levels. It looks fine except for the fact that because of the highly coloured house the various characters have had to be done in a contrasting colour which makes them seem exceedingly strange - a bit like looking at the negative of a photograph. Maybe it's just me but I found it very distracting.

Mostly I enjoyed Shao-lin's Road a lot I got a definite attack of the just-one-more-goes and despite all the other martial arts games I'd recommend it.

I don't think it's a major release but I do think it'll be very, very successful. A highly professional conversion.

Label: The Edge
Author: In-house
Price: £7.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor

****

A fine conversion. Should do well even though the martial arts thing has been covered pretty well by now.

4/5