Yet another conversion of a popular arcade game featuring martial arts this one being less concerned with presenting a wide range of manoeuvres against highly individual opponents, and more interested in killing as many things as fast as possible. Such violence has to be in a good cause of course, and in this case it's rescuing a damsel in distress at the top of a five storey building.
You enter each of the five levels from an incongruously hi-tech lift taking you into a scrolling corridor. You have to make your way along to another lift which takes you up to the next floor. Needless to say. all sorts of nasty things trying to stop you, some of which can be dispatched with punches and kicks while others can only be avoided.
On level one the opposition is fairly straightforward, consisting of 'henchmen' and a guardian at the second lift. The henchmen run towards your white clad character and try to grab you. They can be punched or kicked out of the way. but once they've got you in their evil embrace you have to waggle the joystick to get rid of them. All the time that they hold you an energy gauge is running down, and if it runs out you are returned to the lift to try all over again.
If you get to the second lift you are confronted by the guardian, who you have to hit until his energy gauge reaches zero, allowing you to pass into the lift. These guys are pretty tough and you'll need most, if not all, of your energy to deal with them.
On the second level things are much tougher because there are a whole host of new enemies. First of all come jars, balls and globes that fall from the ceiling. The jars and balls change into snakes and fire breathing dragons when they hit the floor, while the globes pulsate and then explode into instantly lethal fragments. The snakes scurry along the floor and have to be jumped, while the dragons can be killed for a big bonus, but have nasty fire to threaten you with.
If you can get past them you're faced with more henchmen, plus knife throwers and dwarfs. These appear in large numbers and in extremely difficult combinations that make life very tough indeed. The dwarfs can bo done in with squat kicks, or jumped over, while the knife thrower has to be hit twice. His knives can be ducked or jumped but sap a lot of energy if they hit you. It's very tough to pass this lot because they clamber all over you, and even if you do there's a nasty guardian for whom you'll need plenty of energy.
The gameplay is frustrating not just because it's difficult but also because it involves a lot of luck and 'impossible' situations. There are ways of dealing with everything, but I think many people just won't receive enough encouragement to keep plugging away. The variety of opponents provides plenty to do if you do get stuck in, and with enough practice it is possible to overcome the odds. The graphics are okay, although the scrolling window in which the action takes place is only half the screen size. The sound effects are reasonable but there isn't any music. Certainly a challenge but the repetitive and daunting action may be too much for some.
The graphics are a bit crude and the small action window scrolls badly, but these aren't too worrying. The real disappointment comes with the gameplay, which gets very frustrating very quickly. There docs seem to be an unhealthy clement of chance to things, and all that waggling soon gets on your nerves.
P. Five very tough levels to complete.
P. Variety of enemies to battle.
P. Colourful graphics and decent scrolling.
P. Different types of punch and kick moves.
N. Difficult and frustrating by the second level.
N. Fighting doesn't have as much variety as the opponents
You can see everything, but it's all a lot less gaudy.
On the surface Green Beret and Kung-Fu Master have very similar gameplay, but one is highly addictive and gets a Rave while the other is more frustrating and doesn't. The main difference between the two lies in the difficulty level which has been 'tweaked' just right for Green Beret but not for Kung-Fu Master.
Both games feature the same timing problem when knifing or kicking an opponent at close quarters, but on Green Beret you just die and restart, whereas on Kung-Fu Master there is the frustration of having to waggle the joystick to get free. On Kung-Fu Master you don't have flame throwers or rocket launchers to spice things up.
Kung-Fu Master doesn't use the screen to fit in as much action either as it uses a smaller window, while Green Beret allows you to climb ladders, jump gaps and fall down. But the main problem on Kung-Fu Master is simply the sheer weight of the opposition and their random behaviour, which make it horribly difficult to progress and a little dependent on luck. Green Beret requires more skill against a tough opposition that keeps you coming back for more.