The Way Of The Exploding Fist (Melbourne House) Review | Acorn User - Everygamegoing

Acorn User

The Way Of The Exploding Fist
By Melbourne House
Acorn Electron

Published in Acorn User #045

You just know from the title of this game that it's going to be a Bruce Lee epic, with lots of leaping about the screen, somersaulting and delivering the most unlikely kicks and punches in mid-air.

And so it is. This kind of marital arts simulation needs decent animation, a wide range of moves available to you, a sensible means of executing them all and - when you're pitting your wits against the computer - an opponent who interacts with what you're doing. This game has everything.

Well, just about. The animation of your Bruce Lee figure and his opponent is slick and convincing. And you have an astonishing diversity of jumps, kicks and punches at your disposal. It's just doing them that's difficult. Using a joystick gives you a choice of eight moves, jumps and punches without the fire button pressed (up, down, left, right and the diagonals); and a further eight kicks with the button pressed. It's not easy to remember all sixteen, but it's fun trying. Doing all that on the keyboard is well-nigh impossible - hitting a total of ten keys in different combinations causes finger fatique and, ultimately, a case of brain damage.

In one-player mode, the object is to fight a series of bouts and progress from novice to 10th Dan. In two-player mode (can you imagine two players hitting twenty keys between them at high speed? The Way Of The Exploding Keyboard!), you just fight it out, trying to score hits on each other.

A good way to practise is to play in two-player mode without a second player. Your opponent just stands there like a dummy while you whirl around, somersault over him and kick him in the ear.

I assume all the moves are based on real karate techniques - things like the Roundhouse Kick and the Forward Sweep sound pretty authentic to me - and perhaps that's why the fight keeps stopping automatically every five seconds or so for the characters to bow to each other. That's a bit disconcerting at first, but it teaches you to make your move quickly before you're forced to back off.

Even more disconcerting is the plunky Japanese music which plays throughout on the BBC version. I can't find any way of muting it, short of disconnecting the speaker, and it gets so annoying after a while that I feel like giving the micro a short jab kick. If only I could remember how to do a short jab kick...

Jeffery Pike