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Kung Fu (NES)

The NES box art for Kung-Fu (or Kung-Fu Master, for you arcade fans out there).

Kung-Fu is an arcade beat 'em up title first developed in 1984 by Irem, but then later in North America by Data East. Basically, it follows the path of Keiji Thomas, whose girlfriend Sylvia was captured by "a group of unknown guys," and who decides to go all bad-dude vigilante and instead of getting help from the authorities(!!!) decides to go into the Black Magician's five-floored temple, fight his way through all sorts of devious minions, and finally face down the bad guy himself and save his lady.

So yet again we have a game where some fighter goes on the loose to get back his girlfriend, despite the fact that there are about 200 (at least) enemies to stand in his way. This reminds me of something... Dooble, no, Double, Double something...Double...Dragoon? No...anyway, that's not important.

My opinions about this game are unstable at best. I used to really dislike it because of the knife throwers, which always seemed to kill me, but then I came back to it and finally beat the first floor after a good many tries, so with my policy of reviewing a class game after beating the first level, here we are.

There are a couple things I find hilarious about this game. The first is that most of the bad guys (especially on the first floor) drain your health...by hugging you. I'm not kidding. They squeeze in the hopes that you'll die. That alone is worth the price of admission.

The next thing is something that the Wiiviewer pointed out in his review. If this place caught on fire, there is no way anyone would escape. If they all started from the top, and the fire was in the middle, then they'd have to run, like, 150 yards across one floor, then 150 yards to the left across the second floor, and then do that three more times. By that time, they'd all be dead! What's more, the entire place is pretty much just wood. If he had explosives, a ladder, and some gasoline and a match, Keiji could just light the place on fire, set everybody in a panic, climb up to the top of the temple, blow a hole in it, rescue Sylvia, and then all the bad guys would die. It's really much easier than you might think.

The last thing is that some of Keiji's moves are just hilarious. If you crouch and then do a kick move, he just sticks his leg out really fast and trips the bad guys. Plus, all the normal guys die in one hit. You can just keep tripping them and they'd be done for.

Anyways, let's move on to the more important junk about this game. Is this game difficult enough for anyone?

That would be a raving yes. It's almost too difficult. Here's what happened not 40 minutes ago: I finally managed to make it through the first floor after about 1 or 2 lives. I start out all pumped for the second floor to see how far I could get. Then snakes and dragons (neither of whom can be killed, of course) start appearing everywhere, and the only option is to duck and crouch, basically at the same time. I lost all the lives I had left in about 1 minute tops. Fun game.

Still, there are some people (like the Wiiviewer, God bless him) who managed to make it beyond the second floor, so for people who played this game when they were younger, you'd love this game even now. In fact, for those of you who are of a newer generation and like beat 'em ups, you'll really like this game. It's simple, very challenging, and a game of skill as opposed to luck, which I enjoy.

So for anyone who wants to live out a kung fu fantasy, or play famous classics, or just try something actiony and challenging, absolutely play this game online. It's not out on the VC yet, but it probably will be eventually, and the controls on a computer are excellent.

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