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SummaryA supreme martial arts game for every martial arts fans!!
The Good- Incredibly good graphics - Sophisticated animation with smooth movement - The ability to learn new kung-fu moves - Over 15 types of powerful enemies - 8 towns of mysterious ghost-filled houses, cemeteries and academies - Fun-filled dialogue and bonus quizzes - Very good chinese soundtracks - Password memory feature for continuing play
The Bad- Nothing
The Bottom LineIn Phantom Fighter, you play the role of Kenchi, a typical kung-fu master, followed around everywhere by one lazy dog that is your pupil, who just disappear when a fight begins (the main purpose to have him at your side it that he can carry Swords, Amulets or Totems that are given to you by the villagers). For some reason, Kyonshies, the chinese hopping fat zombies, are attacking villages around China, they've broken into everyone's house and are sleepwalking in what seems to be an attempt to find the fridge(!?!?). So, It's up to you to send them back to their graves! At first sight they look harmless, but be careful with their 'Three Stooges style' hand stab. They can be deadly!
After you've defeated all the enemies in a house, you're given a reward, which is either the liberation of a life-refilling temple from its zombie captors, a number of Ancient Scrolls (the game's currency which you use to improve your kung-fu skills at the town's academy), an orb (after collecting three orbs, you can fight the phantom boss of the town), or other items or events. It sometimes gets repetitive fighting in the same house over and over again to get enough Scrolls for you to afford that shiny new special technique you so badly need, but it's never too bad.
Being dead, Kyonshies are very stiff. So, their only mode of transportation is to jump around. This requires you to use hit and run tactics in almost every battle in the game. However, enough variety is put into the game to keep it interesting. Kyonshies come in a huge variety of strengths, speeds, and sizes (not to mention that some of them have extra abilities like throwing knives), and learning new moves gives you new strategies to fight them. For example, tall Kyonshies can't bend over to attack you while you are ducking, so after learning Mirage Punch (the ability to punch while ducking), you can crouch near them and punch them repeatedly while they spin in place trying to figure out where the attack is coming from. In fact, all of the special moves greatly affect the way you fight, whether they allow you to jump 20 feet into the air or simply increase the damage you dish out. All the items are fun to use too (although they're for the most part useless); the bell even allows you to play as a Kyonshi. The game difficulty is very well balanced, but you literally have to go back to the temple to heal every 3 minutes. Thankfully, collecting the orbs you need to get to the boss refills your life, but running back and forth from the temple can get annoying while you're collecting Ancient Scrolls.
The graphics in Phantom Fighter are incredibly good by NES standards. While the resolution and colors are limited by the NES's graphics processor, the characters and backgrounds are large and detailed, and the animation is smoother than most fighting games for the SNES. The background chinese music keeps players in character for the length of the game. And the designers wisely chose to put in more than one tune as the "normal" battle music to prevent the repetition from becoming unbearable. It contains some RPG elements, but for the most part it's a Kung-fu style beat'em up game. It also has a "password memory" system that is pretty handy and keeps the game from getting too long.
Overall: Phantom Fighter is an excellent martial arts game and one of the best options for the NES system. It's truly enjoyable, so, I recommend it.