The first proper martial arts simulation on the Sinclair ZX Spectrum which pushed the quality of arcade fighting games up a significant notch. The 'Beat em up' era was born.
Inspired by the classic arcade game 'Karate Champ' by Data East, this game (Fist as it would become known) was released for the ZX Spectrum in the Autumn of 1985 by Melbourne House, who had previously been famous for releasing mainly adventure games.
This game (and the 3D arcade game Starion) established them as a formidable developer of arcade games as well as adventures.
|The Loading Screen Got You In The Mood|
This game had been highly anticipated during the run up to it's release, and it was well received when it finally made it into the highstreet stores. An arcade fighting game that really launched the genre of Beat em up, Fist had the polish and the 'punch' to make it an instant classic.
It was awarded the highly sought after 'Crash Smash' rating in the hallowed pages of the popular Crash Magazine.
The aim of the game was simple enough: Start at the bottom of the rankings and fight your way to the top. The 'top' being the rank of 10th DAN.
You have a total of 16 moves which you can execute, which was an astounding achievement at the time of release. The moves were split between kicks, punches and movement.
Kicking moves included flying kick, high kick, mid kick, low jab kick, turning kick (which the game referred to as a 'Roundhouse'), two leg sweeps and a back high kick. Punches included a high punch, mid punch and crouching reverse punch. It was also possible to move your character from left to right (as you would expect!) and to jump, crouch and peform backwards and forwards somersaults.
High and low blocks could also be executed to foil your opponents attacks. All in all your character was pretty handy!
|The Fighters Square Off In WOTEF ZX Spectrum|
Points were awarded both in numerical and traditional karate scoring. A well executed flying kick was worth 1000 points and also 1 'full point' in the karate scoring system, which were represented by the Ying/Yang symbol. 2 'full points' were required to achieve victory, although if the bout was not over after the 30 second time period then whoever had the most 'karate points' was declared the winner.
As you progress through the levels your opponents definately become more wily and difficult to overcome. Your opponent always looks the same (the same graphical character), but his skill level and intelligence increases as the DAN's get higher.
The game could never be 'finished' in a sense as once you reached 10th DAN, you kept on going until you had had enough or you were defeated.
This arcade game was the talk of playgrounds and school yards up and down the land. The concept of the game was brilliant - nothing in the home market had ever been done to this level of excellence within the 'fighting genre'. The character graphics were well drawn and animated, and the three backgrounds that you would be fighting in were exotic and exciting. A lot of fun was had by friends in two player mode - beating each other up over your ZX Spectrum keyboard had never been so much fun.
The test of time:
Well we here in Spectrum Games reckon that The Way of the Exploding Fist has stood the test of time pretty well. It still has a degree of playability and the opponents provide a stern challenge the further into the game you go. By today's standards it is a simple fighting game, but this title really paved the way for further beat em ups such as International Karate, the conversion of Yie Ar Kung Fu, sword swinger Barbarian and dare I say it, Street Fighter. Little touches like your character tightening his belt and bowing towards you after you have beaten your opponent highlighted the quality of the game. Nice one Melbourne House.
So - watch anything with Chuck Norris in it, get your mind in the zone, and give this one a go. You'll get a kick out of it.
This classic arcade fighting game for the ZX Spectrum is definately worth another look after all these years.
We recommend getting hold of the real Sinclair hardware - but if not then download a ZX Spectrum emulator and download Way of the Exploding Fist for the ZX Spectrum. Alternatively you could try and play it online.
GENRE: Arcade game (beat em up)
RELEASE DATE: Autumn of 1985
RELEASED BY: Melbourne House
DEVELOPER(S): Greg Holland, Stephan Taylor, Damian Watharow, Greg Barnett and William Teng
PRICE: £8.95 - UK
Martial Arts exponent Bri overcomes all takers and takes you on a tour of the three in game backdrops - classic arcade action:
Classic Games, Arcade Games and ZX Spectrum Games