Kung-Fu Master Game Comparison
Released: 1984 | Genre: Beat ’em Up | Publisher: Irem (Jpn) / Data East (Americas/Eur)
Platforms: Arcade, NES, Amstrad CPC, Atari 2600, Commodore 64, MSX, ZX Spectrum, Atari 7800, Apple II, Game Boy
Kung-Fu Master is a 1984 side-scrolling beat em’ up from Irem, outside of Japan it was published by Data East in the Arcades.
When it was first released in Japan, the game was actually called Spartan X, this was a tie-in for the Jackier Chan movie, Wheels on Meals, which was also called Spartan X in Japan.
The game had no resemblence to the movies plot at all, so Irem decided to avoid licensing by simply dropping the Spartan X name, and Kung-Fu Master was born.
Kung-Fu Master Gameplay
You control Thomas, the Kung-Fu Master across five levels of the Devil’s Temple, why? To rescue his girlfriend Sylvia of course! The enemy is Mr.X, Kung-Fu Master is regarded as the first ever beat-em up, so the likes of Streets of Rage, Final Fight and Knights of the Round have much thanks to this game.
But the NES version is simply called Kung-Fu, clearly Thomas was not a master anymore in this version! The NES game was a massive hit and sold over 3.5 million cartridges, in the 1980’s that is a staggering number.
The game features two attack buttons for punching and kicking your opponents, the joystick is used to move left and right, jump and crouch only.
Underlings encountered by the player include Grippers, who can grab Thomas and drain his energy until shaken off; Knife Throwers, who can throw at two different heights and must be hit twice; and Tom Toms, short fighters who can either grab Thomas or somersault to strike his head when he is crouching. On even-numbered floors, the player must also deal with falling balls and pots, snakes, poisonous moths, fire-breathing dragons, and exploding confetti balls.
The Devil’s Temple has five floors, each ending with a different boss (described as “sons of the devil” at the start of the game). However, in order to complete a floor, Thomas must connect enough strikes to completely drain the boss’s energy meter; he can then climb the stairs to the next floor.
Thomas has a fixed time limit to complete each floor; if time runs out or his meter is completely drained, the player loses one life and must replay the entire floor.
Upon completing a floor, the player receives bonus points for remaining time and energy. The boss of the fifth floor is Mr. X, the leader of the gang that kidnapped Sylvia. But once he is defeated, Thomas rescues Sylvia and the game restarts at a higher difficulty level.
Play the arcade game in your browser
You can play Kung Fu Master in your browser, thanks to archive.org.
Start Game: Press 1, then press S
Up, Down, Left, Right: Use arrow keys on keyboard
Kick: Left CTRL Jump: Up Arrow Key