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1988
Arcade: Solo beat-em-up
£7.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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71
Sean Kelly
Chris Bourne

When Way Of The Exploding Fist was first released all those many moons ago, it single fistedly began the revolution which was to result in trillions of games with the word Karate, Ninja, Warrior or some variant thereof in their title. It was sequelled more recently by W.O.T.E.F.II, which met with a lukewarm reaction from reviewers. This, is not so much another sequel, as a remix of the original with twiddly bits and fluffy dice added.

The scenario. 'You must reach the position of tenth dan' is not much of a scenario, is it? When I get a game, I expect a good scenario, not just one sentence. I didn't get where I am today by having scenarios with (That's enough whining. Get on with it Ed ) So just how are you going to reach the position of tenth dan? By beating the living daylights out of your opponents as fast and as nastily as possible, that's how.

The style of gameplay will be familiar to the majority of Speccy users, but for those who have been in Outer Mongolia for the last five years, you have a choice of sixteen moves, from the aggressive 'mid kick', which will give your opponent a couple of bruises he won't forget in a hurry, to the defensive backward cartwheel, for when running away is the best move. This time you are faced with two opponents, all of which can be controlled by human players simultaneously, or individually by the computer, depending upon how many friends you have. To reach first dan stage, two bouts must be fought, each against the two opponents, with one man being knocked out in each round. If the loser is human controlled, the computer will control him in the next bout, so you are always fighting against two men.

The figures are a little larger than in the original Fist, and fighting two men does bring a new approach to this type of game. Unfortunately, it also brings disadvantages, 'cos if you're knocked over, you lie on the floor for about ten seconds recovering, whilst the other two continue to merrily beat each other up. This brings the game to a grinding halt, and is highly frustrating. The playing area is also larger than that shown on the screen, and often your two opponents will disappear off the screen to carry on fighting, with your figure stood in the middle twiddling his nunchackas for ages - very boring. Sound is the average crunchy karate noise, and although the background is very pretty and clever - all the hotel and bar signs flash like 'proper' neon signs - ultimately it adds little to the gameplay.

On getting through these bouts, the player is then moved into a bonus game, set in a dark alley, where dragons will loom out from windows and doorways, the object being to line them up in a set of sights and launch a ninja star at them. If a dragon not hit in time, it will lunge out at you, the sub game will end, and you are returned to the game proper. This section, you will doubtless have guessed, is another Prohibition style game, and this particular version is pointless, easy, and a waste of time. There is no sound, and the graphics are hardly mind blowing.

This reminds me of all those pop records that are being reissued with a new drumbeat, bass line and the odd bit of scratching added. The record is pretty much the same, but by adding these bits, all the die-hard fans will buy it and make the record company lots of money. EF+ is very much the same, and when the original is available for two quid, the extra bits here aren't really worth an extra six.

If you want a laugh though, set all the players on the same joystick, slap on your favourite record, wiggle the joystick to the beat, and watch that sychronised body popping!

Rehash of the original with two opponents to fight this time, but ultimately not worthy of its predecessor.

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