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Ka-Ge-Ki: Fists of Steel (Genesis) artwork

Ka-Ge-Ki: Fists of Steel (Genesis) review


"Hearken back to the days of Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat. Think of the fantastic gameplay, endless amounts of moves and combo’s, the stunning backdrops – the memories are endless. Remember how long we waited for them on our favourite consoles, and how sweet the first game was once we got to finally play it. Hold that thought for a moment --- and then cast your mind back a little further to the time before all of that happened. Which beat-em’-up used to fulfil your excitement before these ..."



Hearken back to the days of Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat. Think of the fantastic gameplay, endless amounts of moves and combo’s, the stunning backdrops – the memories are endless. Remember how long we waited for them on our favourite consoles, and how sweet the first game was once we got to finally play it. Hold that thought for a moment --- and then cast your mind back a little further to the time before all of that happened. Which beat-em’-up used to fulfil your excitement before these two took over?

Are you struggling to remember?

Maybe that’s because before Street Fighter II and Mortal Kombat made their appearance later in the Genesis’ peak era (I won’t say life because the console is still alive and well in my opinion), there were very few choices you could make when looking for a one on one beat-em-up. Taking a brief look through any game list will only strengthen the fact that the aforementioned games certainly saved the system in this department. Ka-Ge-Ki has the honour of being the worst of this grey area, which believe me, is no easy feat indeed.

While were in the mood for reminiscing, think of your favourite character from any fighter you may have played over the years. Maybe it’s Ryu from street Fighter II - a popular choice I’m sure. Liu Kang from mortal Kombat, I don’t know.

How many moves were at their disposal? Ten? Twenty? Thirty or more? Could they do special moves only accessible by joystick and button combinations? Furthermore, could they set someone on fire and rip their spine out – I hope so!

So what do we get when we slot Ka-Ge-Ki: Fists of Steel into our Genesis?

Answer –

One character and two moves.

No. Stop laughing, its true.

But fret not, for every other character you face has the same ability (or lack of it). Firstly, a jab, weak but quick in execution – you will not use this too much. Secondly a more powerful straight that takes some time to wind up – this hurts, therefore you will use it often. Should you wish to jump, you can do that too, but unfortunately asking them to perform punches the air is too much, making it pretty much redundant. So, forget those long lists of moves enough to challenge the memory of your average elephant, Ka-Ge-Ki doesn’t even have enough to use all three buttons.

The appearance of the fighters themselves barely helps matters, with their huge heads and chests, propped up by their tiny legs. Surely if any of them decided to attempt some sort of kick, they would be felled by the sheer imbalance of their own torso. As if this game wasn’t comical enough, the designers made no attempt here to make the game any more serious.

There is some meaning behind all of this inadequacy however, no matter how cliché and poorly done it is. Believe it or not, some mafia-esque group has kidnapped your girl and you are not too chuffed. So in true video game form, you decide to go take them on all by yourself.

Worse still and possibly the most aggravating aspect of the game is the viewpoint itself. The rooms you fight in are viewed from in front and slightly above (as are quite a few games of this type). Where as the majority of the other games embraced this viewpoint however, Ka-ge-Ki abuses it beyond belief. If during the fight you walk above or below your rival (further or nearer from the front) you actually turn to face him, creating a ‘depth’ effect so horrible, you will try your hardest to avoid it for the rest of the game. Landing punches on your opponent becomes an impossibility, just to add a little more confusion to the matter too. This essentially means you spend most of the time manoeuvring your man horizontally from your opponent and beckoning him onto you punches – for ten fights in a row. Hardly the makings of a great game.

When you do knock your opponent down, (which happens far too often) you will be unable to move until he finds his feet again. Instead of moving around to a safe distance, or even collecting that worthless boxing glove someone kindly threw into the midst of the fight, you just stand there tottering on the spot like a seasoned alcoholic. When you are felled yourself, the situation is worse as the seeming endless seconds tick by before you decide to haul your ass back into the foray. When the final knockout blow is administered and your foe has collapsed to the ground, your character immediately runs from the scene, only to leave some suited guy run on in your place and count the your fallen opponent out, as if this is some sort or organised bout.

Once you have worked your way up to the penultimate floor, you finally get to face the guy that has been disposing of his friends down that hole, leaving you wondering who is the top man here. First sights suggest he is going to pose a problem, menacingly swinging a chain around his head. But one punch sends our sneering antagonist firmly to the floor, sealing his fate the same as he sited upon his predecessors. Bring on your master!

Considering the master himself is at the top of the tower, the number one guy et cetera, he basically is the same as ever other loser you have bloodied on the way up. The only real difference is that he has chose a dojo to take his beating as opposed to the gymnasium and other tedious surroundings. You just employ the same tactics you have grown to rely on to defeat every other guy, but the process just stretches out as his energy is far higher.

So, now the Genesis’ release schedule has long since ended and your choices are complete, there is no reason whatsoever to ever sample this. If Street Fighter 2 or Mortal Kombat took on Ka-Ge-Ki is a fight, it would be a ‘perfect’ or ‘flawless victory’, but that could obviously never happen. It is like comparing a Karate student at their first class taking on the likes of Bruce lee, the difference in quality is that great.

What I am really trying to say amidst all these meaningless analogies, is don’t play this game and put yourself through the torture that is Ka-Ge-Ki. Seriously, any fighting game that boasts two moves for each character speaks for itself. From the disorganised title screen (epileptics need not apply), through the disproportionate fighters, to the sorry list of credits once you finish it - Ka-Ge-Ki is terrible. Enough said.

Rating: 1/10

djy8c's avatar
Community review by djy8c (December 29, 2003)

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