Computer Gamer

The Way Of The Exploding Fist
By Melbourne House
Acorn Electron

Published in Computer Gamer #5

The Way Of The Exploding Fist

Some games players get rid of their pent up aggression by blasting endless numbers of aliens to bits. Now, courtesy of Melbourne House, I can assure you that a well-placed flying kick to your opponent's head works just as well!

Exploding Fist is a karate game for one or two players. Although joystick is optional, I would suggest that you won't get very far without one in this fast and furious game. There are eighteen movements to be mastered which could lead to your fingers getting themselves into some dreadful knots.

The first thing that you notice as you watch the demo mode is the brilliant animation of the characters (over 700 sprites were used in the Commodore version!). They punch, kick and fall over most realistically and there are nice little touches such as the players adjusting their clothes after a bout. These are far and away the best graphics I have seen to date on the C64.

The Way Of The Exploding Fist

You have three different punches and eight different kicks at your disposal together with seven movement options. Control of these is dependant on joystick position and whether or not the fire button is pressed. For example, moving the joystick up makes the player jump, but if the fire button is pressed, you will attempt a flying kick instead.

For ease of memory, all kicks involve pressing the fire button. The joystick position given in the instructions apply only if your character is facing to the right.

If you face to the left, all the positions are mirrored. It took me ages to realise this, which I suppose serves me right for not reading the instructions properly in the first place.

The Way Of The Exploding Fist

If all this sounds complicated, it isn't. The game is very easy to play straight away. Just by moving the joystick around more or less at random you will still find yourself landing some splendid blows on your opponent, even if occasionally you find yourself somersaulting out of the way when the other player is at your mercy.

In the two player version, you have four thirty second bouts in which to score more than your opponent. Points are awarded for the difficulty of the ove and also how well it is executed.

A perfectly executed move will score double the points given for one that was less than perfect. Thus a roundhouse kick would score 1000/500 whilst a sweeping kick would score only 200/100 points. In the one player version, you have to score two points before the computer does (one point for a perfect move, half otherwise). You keep on playing, moving up through the ratings until you lose, at which point the game is automatically over.

The sound is a curious mixture of good and bad. There is a pleasant oriental tune going on in the background and the "thwack" so your fist or foot makes contact with the other player's body is excellent, but the screams and shouts of the players just comes out like a hissing noise.

At the time of writing, I have just lost solidly for an hour and a half to my wife. She is jumping up and down in her chair whilst I sink ever lower. It is that sort of game. I love it just slightly more than I hate losing it.