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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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55
Chris Jenkins
Chris Bourne

Well, I thought we'd seen them all. Way of the Exploding Fist, Fist 2, International Karate, IK+, Sai Warrior, Samurai Warrior, Mister Bloopy Fights the Ninja Head Kickers. But someone, somewhere (Beam Software actually) says that there's still life left in the martial arts genre. Are they speaking with the wisdom of the ancients, or have the spirits of their ancestors been on the sake again?

The big gimmick is that instead of a single opponent, you have two kung-fu killers to cope with.

To make up for the fact that you have to face two opponents, the repertoire of moves is slightly unusual. As well as the usual punch, high kick, mid kick, ankle kick and low kick; spin kick, low punch and duck, there's also a back kick, and, instead of the popular flying kick, a rear elbow jab. The lack of a flying kick means the most spectacular move available is a rather pansy cartwheel, which is fine for getting you out of trouble, but doesn't make you look too macho.

Up to three players can compete, using a combination of keyboard, Sinclair or Kempston joysticks. The winner of each bout is the first to score eight hit points, shown at the top of the screen, or the one with the most points when the timer runs out.

The winner of each bout gets to take part in the inter-round bonus bit. Here, a series of hideous demons (ho-ho) appear in an alleyway, and you have to move a cursor onto them and zap them with your handy-dandy shuriken before they eat your face.

The background against which the main action takes place is fairly dull; neon signs and shabby streets. The biggest problem, though, is that the actual fighting business is too slow and inaccurate. You can do a brilliant cartwheel, spin to face your opponents, lash out with a foot to the head, and get no result whatsoever.

It makes you fed up with the whole business, especially when the computer opponents appear to be able to connect with fair regularity.

The three-player option is good; pity the rest of the game doesn't really live up to the idea.

Label: Firebird
Author: Beam Software
Price: £8.95
Memory: 48K/128K
Joystick: various
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins

Three-player martial arts sim - fails to live up to its promise.

60%
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55%
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