Format reviewed: Commodore 64
Publisher: Melbourne House
Developer: Beam Software Pty., Ltd.
Submitted by: Matthew Aston
Wow a martial arts adventure, cool! Fist II is the sequel to the award winning Way of the Exploding Fist. It’s a sequel with a difference though, because while Exploding Fist is a beat ‘em up, Fist II is an action adventure game.
The story goes that an evil warlord and his minions have destroyed all of the temples of The Exploding Fist, burying the ancient scrolls in the rubble. The player’s task is to defeat the evil lord’s minions and retrieve the scrolls.
As the player attempts to locate all of the scrolls he will encounter enemies to fight. The fights are similar to The Exploding Fist, except that in Fist II each person has their own energy bar which is represented at the bottom of the screen. The energy meters (represented with scrolls) are an interesting fight mechanic for the time, since this is the way modern one on one fighting games are conducted, from the Street Fighter series onwards. Quite obviously, Fist II is all about performing martial arts, the fights themselves are very similar to those in Way of the Exploding Fist, but the inclusion of energy bars means the player has to land multiple hits on their opponent to win these duals. The player has access to various moves, all accomplished by pushing the joystick in the desired direction and pressing the fire button. Once your opponent is down the adventure continues. The scrolls can be found in various locations, from caverns to underground dungeons, finding a scroll will heal you and increase your overall energy.
One of the major gripes with this game is the lack of a checkpoint system. If you lose a fight or are killed by some other means, you’re sent right back to the beginning of the game, this is extremely frustrating. There is no ‘Game Over or high Score board either, just right back to the start of the game you go. Of course with emulation you can now avoid this oversight by using save states, but it’s a crying shame that there was no option but to play from the beginning once the player has been killed.
Game play wise Fist II is not a bad fighting adventure game. The fights are as intense, if not more so than those in the previous game and there is quite a bit of exploring to do. The graphics are pretty good; the main character sprites are detailed and have good animation frames. The game does lack a certain polish though, the main sprite is forced to walk on the spot on many occasions as the screen has to catch up with him. Fighting while fun, can be frustrating, due to slow downs and iffy collision detection. The sounds are very good, classic martial art sound effects that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in those cheesy Kung Fu movies from the 70’s and eighties. There is also a number of oriental type tunes throughout the game that change depending on your location.
Fist II was not well praised when it was first released in 1986, this was due to a number of problems, some of which I’ve already mentioned. The game seemed a little rushed and not well optimised, containing a number of graphical glitches and slowdowns during fight sequences.
Still I enjoyed it as a nipper and maybe you will too. Just remember to put aside a fair few hours and if using emulation, a few save states.