Shao-Lin's Road

by Mike Leaman, Stephen Cargill, Jack Wilkes, Mark Alexander
The Edge
Crash Issue 37, February 1987   (1987-01-22)   page(s) 34

Shao-lin's Road is the official conversion of the arcade follow- up to Yie Ar Kung Fu. Yie Ar Kung Full has nothing to do with KONAMIs sequel to Yie Ar Kung Fu.

Yie Ar Kung Fu's hero - Lee - has finally mastered the not-sosubtle art of 'Chin's Shao-Lin '. Having completed his studies, he has left to travel the world in search of adventure. And what an adventure he has found! Trapped within a temple crammed full of hostile warriors called Triads, he thanks his shuriken stars that he took the time to perfect his martial art, otherwise he really would be in deep trouble. Using the skills he has learned over the years, Lee kicks and cast spells to rid the temple of his enemies. Only when this task is completed can he leave the temple and continue his journey.

The Temple contains platforms along which Lee's opponents scamper, doing their best to dispose of the intruder. Lee springs from platform to platform delivering his punches and kicks, condemning his foes to oblivion. A damage meter at the top of the screen keeps track of the blows that Lee takes, flicking from 'one' to 'two ' , then to 'three' and finally to 'out'. Being counted 'out' costs our hero one of his three lives.

Apart from being a bit of an expert with the old 'Chin's Shao- Lin', Lee can also summon magic to help him against the enemy. A magic ball rises from the dead bodies of Lee 's vanquished opponents - if he manages to catch a ball, Lee temporarily assumes its magical powers and can use it as a weapon for a while. Magic balls have different uses - for instance large balls can be rolled along and flung out like a yo-yo to tumble the Triads, knocking them off the platforms to their deaths, while flying balls of fire can be shot out along the platform, killing large numbers of the opposition.

Most of the Triads can be despatched with one kick or hit, but on each level there is one Triad who is super mean. Mere hits and kicks have no effect on this guy (or even gal in some of the later levels!). Lee has to wait until he is imbued with suitable magic powers before he can kill on the super baddies. When Lee manages to kill a Super Triad a large bonus is earned.

Ordinary Triads sent to their doom are worth 200 points apiece, and destroying other objects (such as large vases and odd skimmers) also adds to Lee's score. In true arcade style the player's score and the current high-score are displayed at the top of the screen.

Control keys: definable: up, down, left, right, fire
Joystick: Kempston, Interface 2
Use of colour: lots of colour clash
Graphics: some good detail
Sound: oriental tune at the beginning and spot effects throughout
Skill levels: one
Screens: five

'Shao-Lin's Road is yet another arcade conversion that has gone slightly wrong. Okay, so I didn't really like the arcade version, but this does it no Justice at all. The graphics leave a lot to be desired: the characters are badly drawn and they tend to jerk around the screen. Also, the backgrounds are a bit complex, causing quite a mess when the characters move around. The sound isn't at all bad - there's a lovely tune on the title screen and a few decent effects scattered throughout the game. However, I'd only buy this if I was really desperate for a beat em up.'

'If this is the follow up to Yie Ar Kung Fu, then what is Vie Ar Kung Fu II the follow up to? As with all of THE EDGE 'S products, the graphics are the first things that strike you. The characters are reasonably sized and instantly recognisable. The backgrounds are very well drawn, although I thought the second stage colour scheme could have been better. One minor quibble is that when you finish you have to re-select your control method. Despite this, I found Shao-Lin's Road to be a very playable follow up, and I'm sure it should please 'bash and thump' fans.'

'This is very like Kai Temple, but the main difference is that you can almost enjoy playing this one. The graphics are okay(ish), and the title tune is passable. However, as far as playability is concerned it's a wee bit iffy. From what I've seen the original version wasn't much better, but then that's the choice of THE EDGE. I didn't find this game very playable or very addictive.'

Presentation: 77%
Graphics: 69%
Playability: 68%
Addictiveness: 67%
Value for Money: 66%
Overall: 67%

Summary: General Rating: Official follow up it may be, but this has turned out to be a disappointing sequel to Yie Ar Kung Fu.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 14, February 1987   page(s) 78

Look, I've done too many martial arts game reviews, so let me say at the outset that at no point will I say "Heeeeee-yaaaahhhh!" or "Aiiiieeeee" or any variety of motorcycle. Nope, I won't be swayed on this. No way... Aw, alright. Aiiieeeeeeeeyaaaa!!! Hah! Take that! (Thwak!) Suzuki! Yamaha! (Phew, that's much better.)

Yep, it's that time again. The sequel to Yie Ar Kung Fu kicks off with our hero Lee, having mastered the martial art of 'Chin's Shao-Lin', trapped in the Evil Temple by the Triads. Sounds painful, a bit like being slapped in the Urals, I suppose. Any road up, he's not down-hearted. No sirree-bob! He's willing to take on these rough guys, kicking them to bite size pieces, even though some of them take three or four hits to keel over.

Magic? No, not the little bald midget on the telly (not a lot!), this is fiendishly clever ancient Chinese magic. When Lee conquers certain opponents, a ball of triad magic flies off them, which he must catch to absorb the magic. Although it wears off eventually, it can be very handy to have fireballs flying from your toes at a time like this.

The game is faithful to the original coin-op in almost every detail except the colours. The attribute problems have forced the programmer to use single colour screens, but in spite of this, the game looks just the same, right down to Lee exclaiming GUTS! (?) at the end of each level.

This game's a lot of fun, and very addictive. It's an elusive quality that makes the difference between a brilliant game and a boring one, but whatever it is Shao-Lin's Road has it. Simple to play, but hard to beat, with just enough incentive to keep you going. It just goes to prove that, once again, the simplest ideas are the best. Ah-so!

Graphics: 8/10
Playability: 9/10
Value For Money: 9/10
Addictiveness: 8/10
Overall: 8/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Sinclair Issue 57, September 1990   page(s) 76

Here's a martial art you may never have heard of: Chin's Shao-Lin (it's secret, apparently). It would help if you did know a bit about it, though, as you've been trapped in a temple by the Triads (who are 'evil', no doubt). Fortunately, mastery of the technique seems to be mainly a case of waggling the joystick around and pressing fire. The game is played over three 'floors' on the screen and, along with the extra weapons, range of baddies etc., is a pretty standard affair.

Although it's getting on a bit (it must be coming up to its fourth birthday fairly soon). Shao Lin 's Road is tidily presented and modern-looking. All it's really lacking is a bit of variety. All the levels I reached were more or less the same, and as far as moves go there are only one or two. Hardly a spectacular little number, but quite neat at the price.

Overall: 69%

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 58, January 1987   page(s) 23

Shao-lin's Road despite being a popular arcade game is not necessarily a cash-raking micro title. There are so many kicky-kicky games around that The Edge has definitely taken a risk in trying . ft one more time.

Fortunately for The Edge, Shao-lin's Road is a good conversion of the original game. Maybe even a very good conversion. The virtues of the game are precisely those lacking in most of the other, recent, releases - ie big sprites with lots of detail. Careful use of areas of two-colour also avoids much by way of attribute clash.

Actually playing the game reveals that actually Shao-lin's Road may look like some kind of multi-level Exploding Fist but it really isn't. There is essentially only one martial arts attack move here - kicking. Although there is a wild rather slavic leap, your man can perform it only as a defensive move.

Shao-lin's Road is far more about dodging around, keeping out of the way, and kicking the occasional object or person when the time is right. The reasons it's fun to play are really only the usual arcade ones: knowing when to run away and leap out of it. Knowing when to attack, when to go for the bonuses. You won't have to spend ages staring at a chart of joystick moves in this game!

Each level consists of a team of enemy warriors most of whom can be dispensed with fairly easily and one leader who usually takes more than one kick and also follows you about. The screen is presented in three layers - you can jump between them but the warriors seem to use the lift. When they are getting out of the lift is a good time to indulgence in a little face kicking. The real art of the game, however is to use the bonuses - objects which fly across the screen for extra points. One looks like a bomb, the other appears to be a deadly pizza (probably Hot Chilli, I imagine). Better is the sparkly thing that appears. Grab this and you get, temporarily, a around or a sort of giant ball you can launch and knock down a whole roll of enemy warriors like ninepins (with a Spectrum blip for every one it's fairly amusing and earns big points).

Level Three is an oriental house on three levels. It looks fine except for the fact that because of the highly coloured house the various characters have had to be done in a contrasting colour which makes them seem exceedingly strange - a bit like looking at the negative of a photograph. Maybe it's just me but I found it very distracting.

Mostly I enjoyed Shao-lin's Road a lot I got a definite attack of the just-one-more-goes and despite all the other martial arts games I'd recommend it.

I don't think it's a major release but I do think it'll be very, very successful. A highly professional conversion.

Label: The Edge
Author: In-house
Price: £7.95
Joystick: various
Memory: 48K/128K
Reviewer: Graham Taylor


Overall: 4/5

Summary: A fine conversion. Should do well even though the martial arts thing has been covered pretty well by now.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Computer & Videogames Issue 64, February 1987   page(s) 34,35

MACHINE: Spectrum/Amstrad/64
PRICE: £7.95 (Spectrum), £9.95 (C64/Amstrad)

Could this be the best martial arts game yet for the Spectrum? I reckon it has a great chance of taking the title. This conversion of Konami's follow up to their coin-op hit, Yie Ar Kung Fu is fast and lots of fun to play.

The Edge have done a pretty good job here - it's a shame we didn't see the game in time to tell you about it before Christmas.

You take on the role of Lee, the same martial artist you found in Yie Ar all those months ago. He's mastered the arts of kicking, punching, leaping and gouging now - and has moved on to using fearful weapons.

His main aim in life is to escape from the temple and head for freedom. His opponents are the triads - led by some fearsome characters who use knives or breath fire and are generally out for Lee's blood.

The action takes place over Scooby Do style platforms. Enemies patrol these platforms and appear from doors. Your job is simply to kick and punch your way through the several levels of the game.

Knock out several of the menial enemies and release a ball of energy - catch it and Lee will be equipped with one of several mystical weapons. Weapons like fire-balls, part of a Black and Decker saw!, a vicious whirling ball and chain to name but a few.

This power lasts for a short while and Lee must make the best of it to progress to the next level.

Each level is also guarded by a character with extra special powers who is much more difficult to defeat than the regular opponents. You have to learn the various and best ways of dealing with these characters. Most need to be hit more than once - some require Lee to use one of the special weapons he acquires during the game.

Bonus points are awarded for punching out flying jars and things that look like flying saucers, but can't be I suppose.

If you line up a flying jar in front of some approaching enemies you can take them all out with one well aimed kick and score mega points.

At the top of the screen you'll see your score plus a fall-o-meter. You get three falls for each life.

The platforms scroll a bit to the left and right - the scrolloing is a bit jerky - but as you really don't need to move to the sides of the screen too often this doesn't really take anything away from the game. Succeed in completing a level and Lee lifts his arms above his head and shouts "Guts!" in a little speech bubble.

The characters are big and well animated - although the graphics look nothing like screen shots on the packaging. Why? Because The Edge have been sneaky and printed pictures of the arcade machine.

Can't wait to see if the C64 and Amstrad versions match up to this Spectrum game.

Graphics: 8/10
Sound: 7/10
Value: 8/10
Playability: 9/10

Transcript by Chris Bourne

All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB