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Arcade: Solo beat-em-up
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K
Multiple schemes (see individual downloads)

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Alison Hjul
Chris Bourne

Yieaaarrriiiieeeeumph! That's better - there's nothing like a spot of Kung Fu clobberin' to unclog the tonsils. Yes, we're back on those well-trodden ways of the exploding fists with this conversion from the arcades.

You play Oolong as he hops, skips and punches his way to a grandmastership by defeating a string of nine deadly opponents. Each adversary is different in style and approach and each has a weakness that you must discover and use to your advantage. Take Buchu, the first fighter to face you - a fat devil who nevertheless flies through the air with the greatest of ease. But a series of straight punches to the paunch will lay his flabbiness flat out. Similarly, the rest of 'em come tumbling down as soon as you've mastered the sixteen different possible moves, each of which scores you a variety of points.

Yie Ar has the edge over its opponents if you're looking for variety but still want a fairly faithful martial arts simulation. Like Kung Fu, it junks realism for spectacular effects but it still captures the spirit of the sport that lies somewhere between circus acrobatics and a Glasgow brawl. By comparison, Fist looks about as dangerous as a Japanese tea ceremony but it's still the one for the karate purists.

The only problem I found with Yie Ar is that it's just too easy. It only took half an hour to reach the final opponent, the Kung Fu master himself, and I was within one blow of toppling him. Unless you're into notching up the points you may just find that your interest starts to wane once you've faced all the foes. Or perhaps I've just played too many similar games.

Nevertheless, a good introduction to painless punching if you're into Bruce Lee but bruise easily.