The fist is back - but does it still have the old punch?
Two years ago Melbourne House rocked the world with the first real kung-fu game. Here at last you had total control over the player character and could punch and kick your opponent in a variety of unmentionable places. Soon ths shops were swamped with clones and copies of the classic Way Of The Exploding Fist. Now Melbourne House has been bought by Mastertronic who hope Fist II will mirror the success of the classic original.
The gametape actually contains two games, Fist II and a practice version which is basically the original Fist but with Fist II backgrounds. When you've practised the kicking, jumping and punching moves you're ready to "continue the legend".
It's now centuries since the time when warriors learned the Way Of The Exploding Fist and they've long since been betrayed and the land plunged into the tyranny of an evil Warlord. You play a young descendant of the last Grand Master who must search the land for hidden scrolls and temples to relearn the old skills before you can chalenge and defeat the warlord who hides deep in his volcano fortress.
The land is a scrolling landscape full of swamps, caverns, forests and cliffs that are riddled with secret passageways and danger. The danger comes in both human and animal form which you must defeat in kung-fu combat or forfeit one of your three lives. These range from the easy-to-kill panthers (only problem is they attack in packs) to Ninjas, Assassins and Shoguns that can back up their excellent kung-fu skills by throwing deadly stars at you.
The aim of the game is to collect scrolls and take them to the correct altar to gain the use of a trigram. These are mystical symbols that give you extra powers such as extra strength and healing, although some aren't so easy to identify.
Unfortunately, you seem to roam through endless screens of nothing that take an age to scroll past. The result is that the action (that's almost identical to the original Fist fights) is diluted, spoiling the game. The trigrams are a brave attempt to add variety to the game, but it will take at least an hour to find the first one. Most people will give up long before then.