AGH Atari 2600 Review:

by Activision

Kung Fu Master
Good ol' Activision. During the 2600's brief rebirth in the late 1980's, Activison was one of the few companies to support the system, even though Nintendo was the hot name in videogames. The company decided to bring arcade game to the system during this time, which was a departure from its past policy of only developing fresh new titles. After playing its port of Irem's Kung Fu Master, they might have been better served sticking to its old formula. I popped the game into the 2600 and after briefly playing it, I immediately turned it off, thinking, "What a bad game. Can this be the same Activision of old?"

In Kung Fu Master, you are Thomas, who's out to rescue Sylvia from the gangster Mr. X and his goons in a five level mansion. You can punch and kick your way through any (well, almost any) obstacles that you encounter. At the end of each level, you square off against a boss. The good stuff: the graphics look very much like the arcade game (at least as good as can be expected on the 2600), and the sounds and music also match up nicely.

However, it's not very playable, mainly because of the bad play control.... It's downright terrible. First off, you can't jump kick. In levels two and four, with falling balls and moths, you need the jump kick, so guess where that leaves you. Plus you can't just hit the button to attack; you have to press the joystick forward or down and hit the button to punch and kick.

While it's not as bad as, say, Double Dragon (another equally bad translation), the excellent visuals can't rescue this cart. Do yourself a favor and play the Nintendo version instead (the title on that one was changed to Kung Fu, but is still the same game, and its fun to boot), but jump kick this cart away. A disappointing effort from a once great game company.

Title Kung Fu Master
Publisher Activision
System Atari 2600 (VCS)
Graphics 7
Sound 6
Gameplay 1
Overall 3
Reviewer Adam King

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