Could this be the best martial arts game yet for the Spectrum? I reckon it has a great chance of taking the title. This conversion of Konami's follow-up to their coin-op hit, Yie-Ar Kung Fu is fast and lots of fun to play.
The Edge have done a pretty good job here - it's a shame we didn't see the game in time to tell you about it before Christmas.
You take on the role of Lee, the same martial artist you found in Yie Ar all those months ago. He's mastered the arts of kicking, punching, leaping and gouging now - and has moved on to using fearful weapons.
His main aim in life is to escape from the temple and head for freedom. His opponents are the triads - led by some fearsome characters who use knives or breathe fire and are generally out for Lee's blood.
The action takes place over Scooby-Doo style platforms and appear from doors. Your job is simply to kick and punch your way through the several levels of the game.
Knock out several of the menial enemies and release a ball of energy - catch it and Lee will be equipped with one of several mystical weapons. Weapons like fire-balls, part of a Black and Decker saw!, a vicious whirling ball and chain to name but a few.
This power lasts for a short while and Lee must make the best of it to progress to the next level.
Each level is also guarded by a character with extra special powers who is much more difficult to defeat than the regular opponents. You have to learn the various and best ways of dealing with these characters. Most need to be hit more than once - some require Lee to use one of the special weapons he acquires during the game.
Bonus points are awarded for punching out flying jars and things that look like flying saucers, but can't be I suppose.
If you line up a flying jar in front of some approaching enemies you can take them all out with one well-aimed kick and score mega points.
At the top of the screen, you'll see your score plus a fall-o-meter. You get three falls for each life.
The platforms scroll a bit to the left and right - the scrolling is a bit jerky - but as you really don't need to move to the sides of the screen too often this doesn't really take anything away from the game. Succeed in completing a level and Lee lifts his arms above his head and shouts "Guts!" in a little speech bubble.
The characters are big and well animated - although the graphics look nothing like the screenshots on the packaging. Why? Because The Edge have been sneaky and printed pictures of the arcade machine.
Can't wait to see if the C64 and Amstrad versions match up to this Spectrum game.