Title: Belated Alphabetolympics Entry
Posted: November 29, 2008 (11:31 PM)
I've been an Alphabetolympian ever since Alphabetolympiad I, where I got "V" and managed to write a coherent review of some ROM I played for about 15 minutes.
Getting "Y" for the second year in a row was a little disheartening, but I actually found a game, played the crap out of it, and then ran out of time to finish the damn review. This might be a blessing because the review was turning into a combination FAQ/horrible fanfictiony thing. Since you guys don't care for that experimental garbage, this is the only place to post the unfinished piece.
Yie Ar Kung Fu (Arcade)
The 37th Chamber of Sho'Ting
Not many horrible games end up inventing entire viable genres, but this Konami quarter muncher may or may not have intentionally invented the modern fighting game, years before Ken and Ryu were but a naughty thought originating in their mother's pineal gland. Yie Ar Kung Fu is a forgotten pioneer in video game history. Back in 1985, Super Mario Brothers represented the absolute state of the art with its colorful, detailed graphics, unique universe, insidiously catchy soundtrack, etc. No more explanation is needed because SMB knew exactly what it was and exactly how to present itself. However, there is this curiosity put out by Konami in the same year, with gameplay mechanics never before gazed upon by glassy-eyed patrons in an arcade. Five unique, highly skilled enemies, as opposed to hordes of faceless drones, would stand on the way of greenhorn martial artist Lee on his path to enlightenment. Wear down your foes' endurance with a total of three devastating attacks, but be sure to stay on your toes. Avoid missing for high score. This concept was so new that Yie Ar Kung Fu had no genre fellows to compare to, and in the dark pre-World Warrior period, the concept of different playable characters pretty much meant a choice between a blue mullet or a yellow mullet.
Suffice to say your only choice is a creepy looking ginger named Lee with blue button eyes, wearing nothing save for a pair of puffy punk MC Hammer pants for maximum airflow during combat. Sure, his appearance may be a bit off-putting, but his mastery of kung fu, coming from his years spent at a neighboring Shaolin Temple, silences any who dare to compare him to the proverbial red-headed stepchild. While he never advanced beyond the first chamber, he nonetheless studied the superior techniques of his peers as he scooped his meals off the cobblestones with aching, calloused hands. After years of washing dishes night after night, his wisened sifu decides that the Shaolin Ginger Dog is ready for a test of another sort, which will test the very foundations of his being (or at least make you spend a quarter or two).
All of Lee's duels will occur in the same rectangular room inside the Shaolin Temple, where six pink windows are arranged symmetrically on opposing sides of a huge hanging gong. There are two sets of useless but very pretty hanging green ornamental lamps hanging abreast of a huge wooden plaque, upon which hangs the ceremonial gong. On the plaque are inscribed two grand (Mandarin) Chinese characters with flowing, masterly calligraphy, perhaps representing "purity of spirit" and "rigidity of structure" or somesuch shit. As the first Master sets forth upon Lee without so much as an intro or even a cursory countdown, you will not be contemplating much beyond "how do I preserve my fragile hide without the luxury of blocking?"
The answer presents itself as soon as Wang, the first Master, advances upon you with wooden bo staff at the ready. Lee's much less agile than this hulking, mustachioed spandex-wearing warrior who could very well be a cousin to the Iron Sheik, and to make matters worse, Wang is completely willing to spam the same attack endlessly. More so if you happen to be pinned against the huge red columns on either edge of the screen. The trials and tribulations of Yie Ar Kung Fu would be unbearable if not for Lee's extraordinary longjump. Traverse the entire screen in a mere 1.5 jumps! Since the two solid red pillars on the left and right borders seem to be made of rubber, Lee will rebound with the same trajectory as a basketball off a backboard. If you dare to kick while in the air, you will discover Lee's only useful attack, and the one that will net you a whopping 300 points on contact with an enemy!
Yet, in a serious miscalculation on Konami's part, a limp-wristed jab to the belly will do as much damage as a flying kick to the jaw.
and that's where I lost interest (and time).
Posted: November 29, 2008 (11:39 PM)
I guarantee that review wouldn't have gotten last place.