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Melbourne House
1986
Arcade: Solo beat-em-up
£8.95
£2.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

83
Phil South
Chris Bourne

The Legend Continues

...all the way down to your feet! Phil South gets his kicks trying out Melbourne House's sequel to Exploding Fist - Fist II!

If you get your kicks beating the tar out of your mates, then you'll remember Way Of The Exploding Fist. Yeah, you know - a pair of jappy chappies knock spots off each other until one decides to I have a lie down. Okay, I guess, if you enjoy senseless violence, and lets be honest, who doesn't? But it wasn't long before the Exploding Fist formula became a bit of a pain in the neck (Hyah! Ouch), especially with all the other martial arts games bursting onto the scene.

Fist II Incorporates the same joystick movements you had in Fist I, so already proficient fisters can get stuck in right away. The difference comes when you start to move around. The landscape scrolls smoothly to take you to loads of different locations, giving the new game an almost arcode adventure feel.

So how, I hear you mumble through mouthfuls of chop suey, does it play? Velly, velly well, actually.

You are a young disciple of the Way Of The Exploding Fist, and a descendant of the Grand Masters to boot! The people of your land have been enslaved by the Evil Warlord, who rules from within a volcano fortress, and is guarded by warriors and mercenaries, not to mention fierce black panthers. (I told you not to mention them!) But brushing the obvious dangers aside, all you've got to do is fight your way to the Evil Warlord, and destroy him. All!

To achieve this reckless goal, you must get the scrolls (no jokes please), which were strewn around the, land by your ancient forefathers. (One father is enough for most people, but our hero has to have four!) Each scroll is an ancient trigram symbol, like those used in the I Ching, and you've got to learn how to use the magic of these symbols if you're to defeat the Evil One.

Okay, so it all sounds pretty spiffy, sitting there all comfy in your armchair, but what's it like running across the plain pursued by hungry panthers? Well, as a combat game system it certainly takes some beating. You can make 21 different combat moves, which if you consider that it probably takes at least three stages of animation for each move, (plus mirroring the some moves for motion in the other direction) means there's over 120 bits of animation... and that's just for our hero! There are other characters, too. So the quality of the animation and control is truly brilliant.

The backgrounds scroll very smoothly, and are cleverly drawn with careful attention to techniques that mask the attribute problem very effectively.

The baddies ore fearsome indeed. Some fling shuriken stars at you, others are highly intelligent and block your every move. But worst of all are the panthers, which spring out at you before you con say Thomas O'Malley. You've got to be faster than the eye can follow, swift as the breeze, and have more strength than an order of curried prawns! In short, a master of the Way Of The Exploding Fist.

So, if you can walk on rice paper and leave no mark, this could be the quest for you. Eeeeeeeee yahhhhhh!

9/10
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CRUEL FOR CATS

And so the brave young warrior stepped into the light, ready to face whatever awaited him. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a black panther leap from the foliage ahead. Its fangs glinted in the sun...

With some opponents, the only way (or should that be Way?) to get past their expert blocking is the Kneeling punch. Simply hold the joystick down and quickly push it forward. This is the Exploding Fist!

In this forest lie old ruined temples. Inside, you might find secret tunnels that'll take you under the volcano, closer and closer to the lair of the Evil Warlord.

Cat-astrophe strikes! A big cat, with snarling white teeth. Get him off! Only one thing for it. I'll have to try ad punch him in mid air, either with a high punch or jab to the body. Hyah!

Grasshopper, for it is your Chi, or life energy. Avoid the blows of your opponent and it'll stay long. Punching him up a bit distracts him!

Don't pussyfoot around! If you can't punch the cats, try ducking under their leaps. Just hold the joystick down until they've sailed over your head. It would be just your luck if you ducked in the wrong place though, wouldn't it.

SHRINE OF THE TIMES

In the heat of battle, our young hero stumbles upon a shrine, hidden away in the winding tunnels under the volcano. He meditates a while, and soon feels strong again. He imagines a trigram symbol... what can this mean?

This is Ch'ien, a creative trigram, representative of heaven and associated with great strength. One can guess at what kind of ability the knowledge of this scroll beings to the finder...

When you've found a scroll and brought it to a shrine, something magical happens. (You mean Paul Daniels appears? Ed) You learn the meaning of the trigram it contains, and you adopt the abilities it represents - Strength, Invulnerability, Protection, Source of Light and so on.

On entering the shrine, you must walk forward until you touch it, then walk backwards, and you'll sit down automatically. Now you can meditate and use the shrine's power.

The primary function of the shrine is to understand the knowledge of the Fist Masters. But a secondary function is to restore your energy level to its original level. The more henchmen you kill, the more your energy rises.