Yie Ar Kung Fu was a famous arcade game that featured martial arts. Imagine Software were given the task of converting it to the ZX Spectrum, and they released this conversion early in 1986.
The original arcade game was by Japanese gaming giants Konami, and Imagine managed to re-create the same opponents and controls on the ZX Spectrum version as well as two of the backdrops from the coin-op version. Not bad going.
The scenario of the game was, as usual, pretty simple. You took control of our hero, a master of Kung Fu called Oolong. To fulfill his destiny he had to follow in the his fathers footsteps and honour his family name by becoming a Kung Fu Grand Master. The only way to do this was to defeat the opponents who confronted him on this noble quest. Let the fighting commence!
One cool aspect of Yie Ar Kung Fu was the fact that some of your adversaries were a little bizzare. From huge giant fighters (who could defy the laws of gravity and fly across the screen at you) to cute female warriers who had a laugh trying to kill with razor sharp and very deadly fans.
Our fighter Oolong had plenty of Kung Fu moves at his disposal, sixteen in all. All moves were accessed via the joystick or nine keys, in a similar fashion to International Karate and Way of the Exploding Fist.
The usual moves were available to you, such as a roundhouse kick, leg sweep, body punch and so on. The moves were executed in a style of Kung Fu (rather than Karate which had featured in other fighting games) - and the slight fantasy element of the game allowed for more exotic moves. Aside from the 'usual' moves you could also perform huge bounding jumps, leaping punches and so on. As was usual for martial arts games, points were awared for landing blows and if you racked up 20,000 points then the game would give you an extra life. Nice.
When fighting you had the three different modes to choose from:
- Walking mode - so you could erm, walk from left to right
- Punching mode - so you could punch your opponent
- Kicking mode - I'll let you work out the last mode yourself
You began each level in walking mode and when you moved into fighting range of your opponent you had the option of being able to either kick or use your fists.
In true beat em up fashion both you and your opponent were given a certain amount of energy at the start of each bout. The energy bar was shown on-screen which diminished slightly with each hit. Defeating your opponent was a matter of reducing his or her energy bar to zero before yours did.
If you managed to knock the crap out your opponent then you were moved to the next level to face a more skilled fighter - with your energy level restored to maximum. If you were defeated then one of your five lives was lost and you had to face the same opponent again.
Each combatant had a different style of fighting - and the whole 'philosophy' of tha game was that you needed to modify your fighting strategy in order to win each different bout. Some of the opponents (rather unfairly!) carried weapons such as throwing stars, shields, poles, sticks, and the aforementioned deadly fans.
If you managed to defeat the final opponent Oolong became a Grand Master. Rather than putting your feet up an sipping cold beers to celebrate, Oolong had to challenge the same set of opponents all over again - and as usual for these games they were a little more skilled and a little quicker.
Yie Ar Kung Fu was a very popular arcade game at the time (although I always preferred Karate Champ) and a home conversion was always on the cards. Martial Arts games were very popular in the mid 1980's (and still are) and this was a decent one for the ZX Spectrum. Whilst never as good as the classic Exploding Fist, Yie Ar Kung Fu was a pretty good conversion by Imagine software. All of the opponents were in there complete with their respective weapons, and a decent version of the famous waterfall background from the original was there also. Plenty of gamers lapped it up and enjoyed the variety of opponents who all had a different set of moves.
The test of time:
Here in the land of Spectrum Games we reckon that Yie Ar Kung Fu has not aged at all well. It cannot stand against Melbourne House's classic arcade Karate sim (Exploding Fist), the simple animation of the fighting characters is the main drawback. At risk of revealing a spoiler here, you soon realise after a few goes that you can pretty much defeat each fighter with the same couple of moves. Yie Ar is worth a go for nostalgia - and it still side slaps Rise of the Robots into the gutter.
I would say give it a go for a laugh. After all, you can get medieval on each opponents asses with ease.
Everybody was Kung Fu fighting.... Those kids were as fast as lightning... etc etc
We recommend getting hold of the real Sinclair hardware - but if not then download a ZX Spectrum emulator and download Yie Ar Kung. Alternatively you could try and play it online.
GENRE: Arcade Game (Beat em up)
RELEASE DATE: Early 1986
RELEASED BY: Imagine Software
PRICE: £7.95 - UK
Oolong kicks, jumps and punches through a few opponents in some classic arcade action:
Arcade Games, Classic Games and ZX Spectrum Games