CGRundertow KUNG FU for NES Video Game Review


Before there was Final Fight, or Streets of
Rage, or Guilty Gear Judgement, or anything else that could be considered a part of this
grand “Beat ‘em Up” tradition, there was Kung Fu. Or Kung Fu Master, if you’re
talking about the original arcade version. Or Spartan X, if you’re talking about it
in Japan. Or “That one where you walk forward and punch and kick guys,” regardless of
time or space. Here’s your genesis story. Girlfriend kidnapped, tower full of ninja,
knife-throwers, dragon bomb things, poisonous moths, and snakes. Why does it always have
to be snakes? Behold, one of those weird launch titles that
isn’t a purely in-house Nintendo project. Depending on which particular flavor of the
game you’re dealing with, it was developed by Irem or Nintendo, and published by either
of those or Data East. It’s kind of a clusterpunch, but the net result is that this is one of
the first NES experiences for a whole generation. Walking forward, and punching and kicking
guys. And leg-sweeping. And jump-kicking. And jump-punching, and groin-punching, and
dodging knives. I’ve occasionally criticized the NES launch titles for being on the simplistic
side, but while this one isn’t about to win a Pulitzer for writing, the sheer diversity
of actions you have available was revolutionary for the time. Back in the day, a vast number of home releases
were adapted from arcade games, and this effort by Nintendo shows that you can pare down the
number of colors and otherwise streamline a game for consoles. The sprites are simpler,
the backgrounds are a little flatter, but the point still comes across, simplistic as
it may be. More to the point, the gameplay is still awesome. The forces of evil, big
and small, come at you from every angle (and by that, I mean “both”), trying to choke
you out, pierce you with daggers, or otherwise impede your rescue attempt. Fortunately, with
your diverse repertoire of Kung Fu, you can dispatch them with efficiency and cinematic
grace. Repeated kicks to the face? Dude taught Chun-Li everything she knows. Aerial punch
to take care of a low-hanging bomb? Absolutely. Toe-poking a katana-wielding dude to death?
A little dickey but totally doable. Awright, so maybe it’s not so grandiose.
But there are some real spiffy tricks, including the use of synthesized laughing if you fall
in the face of a boss character. It’s a high-quality attempt, and easily among the
better launch titles. And, in a strange quirk of fate, Kung Fu Master can simultaneously
claim that it inspired, and was inspired by, the cinema. The Jackie Chan action flick “Wheels
on Meals” (Yes, that is correct, I’ve double checked it) served as the basis for
the game’s design, while a 1988 French Film borrowed the game’s name to tell the…
am I reading this correctly? Seriously? To tell the tale of a 40-year-old woman’s romantic
affair with a 14-year-old devoteé of the game. Wow. Way to go, France! I’ll never
look at my fries the same way again. This classic launch title also found a home
on the Atari 2600 and 7200, the Apple II, the… um, MSX, the… Honestly? 40-year old
woman going ga-ga over a 14-year-old gamer? I’m sorry. I was a 14-year-old gamer once,
and I may have had an unhealthy obsession with Goldeneye, but I can’t think of something
that’d be less appealing to a woman of her years. Maybe an open flesh wound, or a constant
postnasal drip. Forget I brought it up. I’m going to go kidnap some shmuck’s girlfriend
now, just to clear my head of this travesty. Even in 1988, bad movies could and did happen
to good games.

40 thoughts on “CGRundertow KUNG FU for NES Video Game Review

  1. @ 1:43
    The boomerang sound is the exact same sound they use for the boomerang in the original Legend of Zelda on NES.

  2. @violettalive Actually its suppose to be Jackie Chan, not Bruce Lee. Its a port of the arcade game Kung Fu Masters which was based off the movie Wheels on Meals, known as Spartan X in Japan

  3. Your reviews are awesome TJ. Seriously, I always know a great review is in order when I see your name in the description. 😀

    Informative and entertaining. Excellent.

  4. You guys think this was a good review? This game was awesome to me. I don't feel like he gave it enough props for what it was. It is so good that they still have yet to reach an agreement to get it on the wii.

  5. I loved this game, I got it along with Donkey Kong & Popeye when I first got my NES – we're talking back when Super Mario Bros. and Duck Hunt were on separate cartridges.

  6. My childhood right here. Played this game for so many hours, back then I could not finish the game. Everyone should have this game in their nes collection.

  7. I dont like this guy as much as mark :
    he reviews great games but i wish mark could do them :0
    This guy has a boring tone and makes it obvious that he is reading the script
    even when he makes his jokes 😐
    not saying this guy sucks or anything
    i just want mark to do these 😮

  8. I had to admit, I keep getting tired of reviews by Undertow. At the moment, by clickable rating is: Mark 95%, Derek 50%, TJ: 25%, Ryan 10%, Anyone else: 5%. So, I would have Derek review Nintendo games and Mark review everything else and that would make me happy.

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