The Legend Continues
...all the way down to your feet! Phil South gets his kicks trying out Melbourne House's sequel to Exploding Fist - Fist II!
If you get your kicks beating the tar out of your mates, then you'll remember Way Of The Exploding Fist. Yeah, you know - a pair of jappy chappies knock spots off each other until one decides to I have a lie down. Okay, I guess, if you enjoy senseless violence, and lets be honest, who doesn't? But it wasn't long before the Exploding Fist formula became a bit of a pain in the neck (Hyah! Ouch), especially with all the other martial arts games bursting onto the scene.
Fist II Incorporates the same joystick movements you had in Fist I, so already proficient fisters can get stuck in right away. The difference comes when you start to move around. The landscape scrolls smoothly to take you to loads of different locations, giving the new game an almost arcode adventure feel.
So how, I hear you mumble through mouthfuls of chop suey, does it play? Velly, velly well, actually.
You are a young disciple of the Way Of The Exploding Fist, and a descendant of the Grand Masters to boot! The people of your land have been enslaved by the Evil Warlord, who rules from within a volcano fortress, and is guarded by warriors and mercenaries, not to mention fierce black panthers. (I told you not to mention them!) But brushing the obvious dangers aside, all you've got to do is fight your way to the Evil Warlord, and destroy him. All!
To achieve this reckless goal, you must get the scrolls (no jokes please), which were strewn around the, land by your ancient forefathers. (One father is enough for most people, but our hero has to have four!) Each scroll is an ancient trigram symbol, like those used in the I Ching, and you've got to learn how to use the magic of these symbols if you're to defeat the Evil One.
Okay, so it all sounds pretty spiffy, sitting there all comfy in your armchair, but what's it like running across the plain pursued by hungry panthers? Well, as a combat game system it certainly takes some beating. You can make 21 different combat moves, which if you consider that it probably takes at least three stages of animation for each move, (plus mirroring the some moves for motion in the other direction) means there's over 120 bits of animation... and that's just for our hero! There are other characters, too. So the quality of the animation and control is truly brilliant.
The backgrounds scroll very smoothly, and are cleverly drawn with careful attention to techniques that mask the attribute problem very effectively.
The baddies ore fearsome indeed. Some fling shuriken stars at you, others are highly intelligent and block your every move. But worst of all are the panthers, which spring out at you before you con say Thomas O'Malley. You've got to be faster than the eye can follow, swift as the breeze, and have more strength than an order of curried prawns! In short, a master of the Way Of The Exploding Fist.
So, if you can walk on rice paper and leave no mark, this could be the quest for you. Eeeeeeeee yahhhhhh!
Not a bad kung-fu-style game which concentrates on sophistication moves and size of game area over everything else. Originally released as the sequel to Melbourne House's mega-seller Way Of The Exploding Fist in 1987, it was raved over by dedicated combat fans (Mr P Snout included). It's fast challenging and the moves are superb, especially the backflip that gets me out of danger with almost monotonous regularity. Watch for panthers and indeed anything that moves - this is not a game for the fainthearted. But whether you'll have the patience to trek through the many screens of not terribly interesting graphics to complete your quest is another matter entirely (I didn't). Not bad, as I said, but it's all just a wee bit dated. Will a new generation of Spec-chums find beat-'em-ups quite as much fun, I wonder?
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