Solomon's Key for the NES was released in Japan on this day in 1986.

Kung-Fu Master (NES)

61
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
3.2
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Matt Neuteboom (941)
Written on  :  Oct 21, 2005
Platform  :  NES
Rating  :  2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars2 Stars

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Summary

Judo Chop!

The Good

Kung-fu was certainly an interesting game, if not odd. The storyline was quite the same as a dubbed Japanese kung-fu movie, with the fighting styles of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and the graphics of Excite Bike.

The basic drive of the game was that you were a kung-fu master, determined to rescue your girlfriend. You must reach the top-most level of the pagoda, while facing enemies and bosses along the way.

The moves you have at your disposal are finely crafted. It has a total of six moves, combining A, B, and the up and down buttons on the D-pad. This is a nice refresher from Ice Climber and Mario, both of which had very limited ways of defeating your foes.

The graphics you do have to give a hand to. As soon as you see then you will be instantly reminded of Excite Bike, Ice Climber, Clu-clu Land, Pinball, etc. To put it simply, the graphics are no more remarkable than any other graphics at the time.

The Bad

The game has some flaws which really bring it down.

The game play, you will discover, is quite repetitive and hard. The only strategy which seems to work is trial and error, accompanied with luck. It took me at least ten tries to figure out how to successfully beat the first level, only to die on the even harder second level and have to restart. Even when you finally get up to the top level and beat the ending boss, there is very little replay value in it. Enemies do not change, they only get faster, and the game will get very old.

The sound is not magnificent for the time. This game, like Excite-Bike, Clu-clu Land, and Pinball, did not bring us catchy tunes that stick as icons even today, like the Super Mario Bros. and Zelda theme. Most of it is NES midis (do not get me wrong, a lot of NES midis sound great!) and are typical of cheesy kung-fu movies back in the 80’s. SFX is not notable here either.

Lastly, the two player mode is not much of two-player mode. Players take turns, which makes it fairly easy for the person not playing to lose interest and wait until you are gone to play one-player. I am fairly impressed at the nice number of co-op games such as Clu-clu Land, and Ice Climber, but I am disappointed at the lack of co-op in other games such as this. Truly two players is not an incentive to get this game

The Bottom Line

The game, while it does entertain you for a while, will slowly frustrate you with its hard, repetitive game play and cheesy music and sounds. Unfortunately, it adds to this with a very bad replay value and a bland two player mode. The game is probably best for those who like to collect NES games, or for someone who had it as a childhood favorite. Otherwise, this game might just collect dust.