(So...I know I'm far from a game critic. But I noticed there's no review on the site for this game. I had to do something about that situation, even if that something was stupid and ill-advised. So, here's my very random thoughts and opinions on the game, for whatever they're worth. Any constructive feedback is welcome.)
Kung Fu Master on the Atari 2600 is often forgotten, when listing the best games on the system.
And that's both completely fair, and unfortunate. I know that's an odd thing to say about a game even Altered Beast laughs at for being too shallow, but...
In a world where it was only judged against the rest of the 2600 library, this really would be one of the best 2600 games ever made. Think about it. This was made on a primitive cpu that was only ever designed to play Pong and Combat. Large multicolor animated sprites? Moving that fast? With that much variety?
There's nothing else like it on the system.
And somehow, even the ridiculously repetitive soundtrack enhances the game, despite the TIA soundchip being literally tone deaf and missing entire notes completely.
This is pure digital magic.
Aside from that, this is just a port of Kung Fu Master. You know the drill. You're playing as Jackie Chan playing Thomas from the movie Meals on Wheels, because this is actually a licensed game that has almost nothing else to do with that movie. Your mission is to casually strut from one side of the temple's 5 levels to the other, killing or dodging anyone who tries to hug you without permission, as well as any very random animals and short people along the way. Run away from enough knife wielding maniacs and you can pit your fists and your feet against the 5 bosses to establish once and for all who is the greatest martial arts master. (It's really one boss on this version, but he tries really hard to pretend there's 5 of him by mixing up his fighting style. It's best to just play along, as he completely deserves all 5 beatings.)
Your reward for all this violence is a brief glimpse of Sylvia's sprite. Given the fact that the game doesn't actually end when you find her, the whole game is probably just something Thomas and Sylvia (and maybe the boss) do to spice up their relationship. (Mario's Relationship Counseling was a game never released to the public, unfortunately, but you can see the effect it had on the industry.)
But like I said earlier, beyond the fact of simply existing on an Atari 2600, this is nothing special. Fans of Kung Fu Master on other platforms may enjoy the extra difficulty that comes from mapping every single move to one button and a joystick. Minus the dropkick, anyways. I won't say how they pulled it off, but you will get a surprising workout from playing this game. Especially if you screw up while fighting the waves of minor enemies.
All those hugs are even harder to break here. Which probably isn't a good thing, but tell that to my childhood. Those deadly hugs are just a welcome home.
My final score is a 9.7 out of 10 nostalgia tinted warm fuzzies. (Or just a 7 point something if asked to actually think about what I'm doing.)
The readers post their own reviews.
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