The current fad for martial arts games continues with Imagine's latest arcade conversion Yie Ar Kung Fu. The game has its roots firmly imbedded in the original Japanese Konami arcade game and contains the same opponents and controls, as well as two of the backdrops from the coin-op version.
The game scenario is quite simple and typically Japanese. You take the role of humble Oolong who, for reasons best known to himself, has to follow in the footsteps of his father and honour his family by becoming a Kung Fu Grand Master. To do this he has to defeat the opponents who confront him on his quest. These rather odd-looking adversaries vary from huge jelly like giants who have the ability to fly across the screen at you, to petite females who enjoy trying to kill you by flinging their fans at you.
Oolong, being a dab hand at the Kung Fu routine has sixteen special moves to confound, confuse and generally kill off his opponents with. All these are accessed via the joystick or nine keys, in similar fashion to International Karate. Some of the moves, such as the roundhouse, flying kick and leg sweep, will be familiar to those who already have a martial arts program gracing their software collection. Others, like flying and leaping punches, the stride punch and ground kick are totally new. Points are awarded for well executed moves and a bonus life is given if you manage to reach 20,000 points.
When fighting you have the choice of three different modes: walking mode, punching mode, and kicking mode. You start the game in walking mode and when you're near enough to your opponent you have the option of being able to either kick or use your fists.
At the start of the game, both you and your opponent are given a certain amount of energy which is shown on-screen in the form of a bar. If you get hit, your bar diminishes slightly. To defeat your opponent you have to make his or her energy bar reach zero before yours does. If you manage to do that then you are promoted to the next, more difficult opponent with your energy level restored to maximum; if you don't win, then you lose one of your five lives and have to tackle the same opponent again.
Each combatant has a unique way of fighting and you need to modify your fighting strategy in order to win. Some of the opponents carry weapons - poles, throwing stars, shields, swords, sticks and fans which have to be jumped over or ducked under, while avoiding the usual melee of punches and kicks. If you manage to beat the final opponent Oolong becomes a Grand Master, and has to challenge the same set of opponents all over again - only this time they're meaner and faster.
Control keys: definable
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Keyboard play: responsive, but gets tangled
Use of colour: excellent, and avoids attributes
Graphics: large, well animated characters on pretty backdrops
Sound: jolly jingles
Skill levels: difficulty increases as you go through the screens
Screens: nine different opponents
'I found this to be a better game than Way of the Exploding Fist because of its variety. There are nine different opponents and each one is portrayed with very good graphics indeed. The only real disappointment for me is that the level of difficulty is a little low to start with, and it is easy to see all the opponents in the first few goes. To be fair though, the second round proves to be far more difficult and things start to get really hectic. If you didn't get Fist, and you want a good mince em up, get this. Even if you did, this is well worth considering because of its different approach and the variety of opponents it offers.'
'Yie Ar Kung Fu is an excellent game and really shows that Imagine are swiftly becoming one of the best software development houses in Britain. It's easily the best of the Spectrum martial arts programs because of the variety of characters and excellent arcade style playability. The graphics are cleverly designed and avoid attribute problems - something Spectrum owners have had to live with for too long. The only real flaw in the program is that a player can dispose of the first set of opponents very easily: once you've beaten them you know what will come next. When compared with Fist at least there is variety. I hope Imagine can continue their high standards - if they do then Ping Pong and Comic Bakery should be programs to await with anticipation.'
'A great game! The backgrounds are very colourful - it's just a shame that there are only two of them. The game as a whole is quite a good conversion of the arcade classic, but of course lacks the solid colourful sprites of the arcade machines. The inter-fight jingles are very jolly even if they do seem to get longer when you want to get on with the smashing and bashing. The animation is very good and far more relative to the action than Exploding Fist. The energy bar idea is a great one, and makes the game really nailbiting, especially when you get in a fast and furious scrap with both bars diminishing rapidly. My only complaint is that the game tends to be a bit too easy - even easier than Exploding Fist. I beat everyone on my second go! When you finish, you just go back to fight Buchu, which is a bit of a let down, even if he is a better opponent second time around.'
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.
92% Issue 25
RICKY: From Konami's coin-op game comes a Smashing conversion. As the right 'onerable Oolong, you've got to become a kung fu master - so it's just as well you have 16 moves at your disposal as you battle with nine opponents past the well-drawn backgrounds.
This is a good traditional karate game that stood up well when first released in early 1986. In light of more recent games, though, Yie Ar Kung Fu is going to have to be content with a right 'onerable...
ROBIN: Imagine's conversion of the hit arcade game is one of the most enjoyable beat-'em-ups. The background graphics are pretty, the animation is smooth, and Yie Ar Kung Fu really scores on playability, with the range of opponents offering some variety.
It's just a bit too easy - but it is a good game.
YOU'VE BEEN given a stiff neck in the Way of the Exploding Fist, been crippled by Fighting Warrior and slaughtered by Gladiator. Now you can get your own back and kick the living daylights out of Yie Ar Kung Fu.
You play Oolong, a young exponent in the art of kung fu, trying to attain the title of grandmaster. To do that you've got to fight eight honourable opponents, masters in their own right. Your aim is to beat them at their own game, so you'll have to jump higher, kick faster and punch harder.
There are 16 moves ranging from leaping punches, ankle kicks, face punches and roundhouse kicks. The joystick and fire button creates the attack moves and the space bar alternates between punches and kicks. That's a lot to remember, but it's easy to get the hang of and even if you do forget the moves, you'll still have no problems.
You and your opponent each have eight hit credits in a grid at the top of the screen. You lose one of those every time a blow connects. When there are none left, you flop onto your back waggling your legs in the air ? playing dead, Japanese style.
If you score a telling blow - a blue star appears as you connect; a red one appears if you are hit. You have five lives and a bonus life for every 20,000 points.
The game starts with the two fighters facing each other. A few authentic-sounding bleeps of oriental music sets the atmosphere, a mountain backdrop sets the scene.
Suddenly your opponent launches himself horizontally through the air towards you, at head hight. He is Buchu, a flabby giant and master in the art of high flying. You don't need a star to tell you if you've been hit by that first blistering attack - it'll probably knock you sideways. Wait for the right moment and then duck. As he's so much larger, you must get in close to fight, otherwise you don't stand a chance.
With Buchu stranded on his back you move on to meet Star, masteress of the shuriken, the deadly star-shaped weapon adopted by the ninjas. The women seem harder to overcome in Yie Ar Kung Fu than the men - they are petite and should carry a Government health warning.
Star is a specialist in the high kick, so your best bet is to attack her with ankle punches and leg sweeps ? anything to dodge those deadly leg swings. She may also throw a couple of shuriken, but there's plenty of time to jump them.
Next is Nuncha, master of the nunchaku, two short poles connected by a length of chain. It's an uncomfortable feeling when those poles whistle round your ears, so use a high kick or flying kick. If the going gets too rough, you can always leap over your opponent and attack from the other side - that may take him off balance.
A good knowledge of the controls is essential when fighting Pole - another fattie who uses the ancient rod, or Bo. He uses that to block your attacks as well as prod you. A wide range of flying kicks and punches are necessary to avoid the Bo, it also helps to change tactics and get in close - that way the pole is not as effective and you can slug away to your heart's content.
The backdrop changes with your next opponent, and you'll find yourself fighting in the yellow forecourt of a colourful scene, a red temple looming in the background.
And with the change of scenery comes Club. He should be called Club and Shield as he carries the latter to deflect your blows. Try to nip around it to deliver fast kicks and punches to the upper body and face, but remember, the club inflicts more damage than the shield, so you have to carry out both defensive and attacking moves.
Fan is another young, elegant lady, with a deadly kick and near fatal fans. While fanning her face, waiting for you to attack, she will probably chuck one at you. Treat it in the same way as you would the shuriken and jump it. Then get in close and attack her lower legs. She is a difficult opponent.
The final three opponents are even more difficult. Sword, as you might guess, wields a sword, Tonfun fights with tonfa twirling sticks, and then there is Blues, the Grandmaster. Beat Blues and you'll become Grandmaster in his place.
Yie Ar Kung Fu is a replica of Konami's arcade game - from whom it has been licensed - the graphics are colourful and well drawn, and the animation is fluid. However, it is not hard to beat and you should have no trouble in attaining the title. After that, well, just start the game again with harder and faster opponents.
Joystick: Kempston, Sinclair
Hit Squad, £2.99
Spectrum, C64, Amstrad
A classic Konami beat 'em up that earned Ocean a chart topping position in the Spring of '86. You are the brave contender Oolong who must kick the @*7t out of ten opponents in your quest to become the Kung Fu Master. Two impressive backdrops - an oriental temple and a water fall provide the setting for the scraps. The opponents have differing abilities and weapons such a Stars and Nunchaku so it is essential to master the variety of different kicks, punches, leaps available to you in Yie Ar. There are sixteen possible moves in two modes which puts Yie Ar Kung Fu a notch or two above the multitude of beat 'em ups that have been launched over the years. Again, all 8 bit titles were converted to a good standard.
PRICE: (Amstrad/C64) £9.95 BBC, £7.95 (Spec)
Yie Ar Kung Fu is an accurate conversion of the Konami arcade game. You may have come across it in your local arcade.
You play the part of a tough little character called Oolong who has to take on some of the nastiest Ninjas seen this side of a Bruce Lee movie.
You start by battling a fat warrior called Buchu who leaps through the air in an attempt to squash you into submission. Buchu can be deceptively easy to beat - but beware, those who follow him are far nastier.
Kung Fu features many interesting new moves - and you'll need at least half an hours practice to master the controls. There are ten to learn.
New moves in this game include a neat jumping punch - which enables you to take any armed opponent by surprise.
Animation is superb - almost an accurate copy of the arcade original.
If you thought you'd already seen the ultimate karate game then think again.
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