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Chris Kerry, Jason Perkins
Audio cassette or 5.25" floppy disk
UK (£9.95 cassette, £14.95 disk)
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Issue 17, August 1986
Added: 19 Mar 2013
The mystical island of Tranquil Dreams is not the most obvious place to find a monastery where monks devote themselves to their god, Kwon, the supreme master of unarmed combat. This is where you were brought as an infant, and adopted by Naijishi, the most powerful of them all. Through many years he trained you to become a Ninja of perfection, and now it is time to prove your worth. To do this you are required to battle your way through three different combat routines, each with a different weapon.
To start with, a Master Program has to be loaded, and this initiates the routines used in the other games. From here you can then load any of the fighting sequences in practise mode, or play the whole game through from the beginning.
The setting of the unarmed combat sequence is in the desert sands of Orb, where you have to defeat whatever the master chooses to send against you. These are not all humanoid, and spring out from behind rocks and bushes with malicious intent. You must be ready at all times to do battle with them, or else you will fail your quest. Luckily, you have several efficient forms of bashing, some of the more intricate moves being the good old neck-chop, the back high kick, and the devious low kick. In total, the apprentice Ninja has a variety of 16 different moves, accessed by the same command system as Way of the Exploding Fist.
Abandoned on a slippery pole you have to protect Naijishi's mysterious lake, complete with ducks and all. Again, you have access to sixteen battle moves, this time geared towards stick bashing. Apprentice Ninjas need to plan their moves carefully, since the slippery pole has a nasty tendency to leave you splashing about in the lake, and no matter how mystical it is, it's still very wet!
SAMURAI SWORD FIGHTING
Off to the temple for the final piece of Ninja bashing, as you take on the greatest warriors armed with Samurai swords. The battle commences with the clanging of swords as you attempt to battle through all of your challengers, until you finally reach the point where you have to battle against the master himself. This part of the game poses a major new problem; previously your opponents had the same capabilities as yourself, but now they are capable of more than the standard sixteen moves to which you are restricted.
Gremlin have implemented a 'triple scroll' routine which makes the movement on the screen work in parallax. On the unarmed combat scene the clouds drift slowly across the sky in the background, and reeds and fountains are animated with accuracy in the foreground. All the biffing remains in the 'middle' ground. The placing alters on the various stages but the effect still remains.
I thought that this might be quite good, but really it's just another in the long line of fighting games. The game is quite slow, and although there are several different types of fighting events, there is no real difference in their playability. The graphics are quite nice and the Yellow Magic Orchestra title screen music is jolly, but there's not a lot to keep a player going. It you're keen on fighting games then have a look and form your own opinion.
Reasonable tape handling, but little else.
Great backdrops but rather iffy sprites.
Very pleasant oriental ditties, but few FX.
May appeal to ardent beat em up fans.
But it's rather repetitive and tiresome.
Value For Money 58%
One of the more expensive beat em ups, and it's not even one of the best.
Nothing new to inspire.
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