Everything was fine at the Shadow School of Martial Arts. Students were happily taught the thousand-year-old secrets of the original Shadow Warrior, blissfully unaware of the fact that mysterious evil forces were plotting to overthrow the new leader of the school and enslave his pupils for eternity. When the inevitable happened, it was too late to prepare for the vicious onslaught which followed.
Which paves the way nicely for a six-level, horizontally scrolling beat-'em-up as the player, the only surviving Shadow Warrior, battles to defeat the enemy in this conversion of the Tecmo coin-op. Young Shad can dispose of the baddies using a variety of martial arts moves, including roundhouse kicks and common-or-garden punches in the groin - he can even hang onto parts of the scenery and give his oppressors a swift boot in the mush. Alternatively, he can smash open one of the crates found lying on the pavement in the hope that a magic ninja sword will be inside. Whatever the weapon, he needs to the swift and skillful if he is to stop the bad guys in their tracks - and there's loads of them, ranging from club-wielding, twenty stone bikers to Geoff Capes lookalikes who are only happy when they're walloping the poor ninja with a fifteen-foot long telegraph pole. And as well as them, there's six big end-of-level guardians, including the evil Master himself!!!
Now this is what I call a beat-'em-up! No tricky joystick moves to confuse you into getting your face smashed to a pulp; just good, solid arcade action which is quite staggeringly close to the coin-op.
The programmers have ported the coin-op graphics to the Amiga and then tarted them up even more, giving you sprites and backdrops which, although admittedly smaller than the originals, are much sharper and very colourful indeed.
A more than honourable mention must also go the music and sound effects in Shadow Warriors - awesome is the only word to describe the six incredibly tracks packed with crystal clear samples, and sound effects so good you'll think that there are a couple of people in the room, beating the living daylights out of one another!
Getting through the first level is a feat in itself, even with the six credits, as the difficulty has been set at almost the same level as the coin-op. Practice makes perfect though, and once you've killed the fat sumo wrestler at the end of the first stage, you'll be totally hooked.
Bags of colour make Speccy Shadow Warriors stand out from the crowd, and there isn't a hint of clash as the programmer has cleverly used a shadow effect similar to that found in Dark Sceptre.
Gameplay is fast and furious and all in all, this is an extremely worthy buy for Spectrum beat-'em-up junkies.