The martial arts game is here again unfortunately. This time however it has been done with a modicum of taste and originality.
A year or two back there was a martial arts boom. It started in the arcades with games like Exploding Fist and Way Of The Tiger. Copies then flooded into our homes featuring all kinds of shaky plots, all revolving around animated characters who smashed hell out of each other.
It is interesting to note that amongst all the karate, ninja, kung-fu and plain smash-hell-out-of-each-other games there were no judo games, despite the fact that this is the most popular martial arts sport in Britain.
Perhaps the lack of blood, weaponry and generally offensive violent behaviour make it unattractive to the marketing bods. It is a shame that this particular game has some out now because, given what has gone before, it will probably be tarred with the same violent brush, when it is, in fact, a skilful sports simulation.
Judo is about exploiting your opponent's errors and using his weight to throw him. Points are scored by a judge on the quality of throws. The idea is to get your opponent flat on his back and keep him there.
The computer game is a competition between one or two players and the computer. When the characters come onto the screen they move towards each other, you press fire when they come in range and pressing first gives you the best grip and the advantage. Pressing fire puts you into attack mode then you must quickly execute a sequence of joystick moves. These have very little in common with the multiple joystick movements of earlier martial arts games.
Take the tomoe nage for example. This is a throw where you roll onto your back, pulling your opponent on top of you and then, putting your foot in his stomach, you throw him past you. To do this, you are facing left towards your opponent you simply move the joystick right, then, in a circling clockwise movement, through 90 degrees. This is the sort of movement that you would naturally do if you were performing the throw. All the other throws are equally well thought out and the instructions say that more throws are possible than the four described.
The game is very well thought out and the animation is good, using the Amstrad's sixteen colour mode. The instructions are clear and it is fairly easy to get to a reasonable standard quickly which makes the game that much more enjoyable.