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"Kung Fu*" (NES)

One of the most classic fighting games—black box games—that represented the NES humbly. This was also one of the games gamers first tested and used a turbo controller.


I have taken martial arts classes during my high school days. It was amazing exercise that gave me controlled confidence, and I'm sure some of you have taken classes as well. I took Karate but was also fascinated with block breaking and Tae Kwon Do (including, of course, Ninjutsu but my physical balance was terrible). Out of all, block/brick breaking was fun and I wish I did some more of it. Hey, it's better than sitting with your cell phone all day being an SJW—social justice warrior—on things you create an issue out of, politically. My, has the world changed....

That's when games like this came by. These were one of the games that defined my childhood, as did most people growing up. It's as classic as you can get.

The game is simple: knockout the folks in purple, one who throws knives and eradicate the boss of the floors (levels are called "Floors"), and then you advance to the next floor upstairs. The goal is to save you girlfriend Sylvia atop the highest floor held hostage by Mr. X.

The points and enemy list[1] are as follows:

Enemy/Boss Name Points (Kick) Points (Punch) Points (Jump Kick) Points (Total)
Gripper 100 points 200 points 300 points --
Knife Thrower 500 points 800 points 1,000 points --
Tom Toms 200 points 300 points -- --
Dragon 2,000 points 2,000 points 2,000 points --
Confetti Ball -- -- 1,000 points --
Snake 100 points -- -- --
Poisonous Moth 500 points 600 points -- --
Stick Fighter -- -- -- 2,000 points
Boomerang Fighter -- -- -- 3,000 points
Giant -- -- -- 3,000 points
Black Magician -- -- -- 10,000
Mr. X, the Gang Leader -- -- -- 10,000 points

Enemies come in both human and in vicious animals, namely dragons, snakes and moths. Whatever it is, punch it, kick it, jump kick it, dodge it, do what ever you need to do to avoid damage. Defeat the floor's boss at the end of the room, and you progress that much closer in saving Sylvia. Remember, this is martial arts, so control and timing are key, unless you got the patterns down, then that's okay too. The less damage you take, the more points you accumulate from your health bar, where, in the end, converts to points. (I know not many people care about points, but just in case you do, that's how you earn.)

I want to say this: is it me, or does the boss Giant, on the 3rd floor remind you of retired NBA player Shaquille O'Neal? I probably wouldn't want to assume that his video game Shaq Fu may have been derived from that, but it just might be. Makes me wonder if Shaq himself has ever took a trip down memory lane to play his own video game (Mike Tyson did playing his own Mike Tyson's Punch-Out for the NES[2][3]).

With all the punches and kicks, I'm sure the 4th floor tripped some of you up. The key: punches. Get Thomas to kneel and punch away at the Magician's body. Punching him in the face won't do any good since it'll decapitate him, as he revives his own head back again as if nothing happened (holy crap, man). Punch him out, and you get to the fifth and final floor.

When you face Mr. X, all the enemies following you go away, like they often do from Floors 1 to 4—every single one of them, bringing you an uninterrupted showdown against the gang leader. When you try to hit him, you see he's a little smart about his defenses, being able to block some of your punches and kicks too. If all else fails, get Thomas to duck and throw low kicks. What this does is gets Mr. X to hop a few times to avoid them, then stands back in position only to get hit by your kicks. Continue and Mr. X is GONE! Defeat Mr. X, and you finally rescue Sylvia! Congratulations!

The game goes back to the beginning? Yes, and if you choose to do so, the game continues but with more enemies and the floor's bosses are more vicious this time. Other than, it loops similar to Super Mario Land for the Nintendo Game Boy. Other than that, this is very short game but a true classic that represents the eighties and the NES era overall despite its simple and straight-forward gameplay.

It's only a matter of time someone, or an indie video game development crew, create a homebrew/hacked version of this game. A Mario version with Mario kicking and punching Koopas to save Princess Toadstool on the fifth floor? That ought to open up possibilities (if you work for such company and/or an independent retro game [homebrew] developer, you're very welcome!).

You don't often see a nice game that's not only short, but fun, simple and challenging. Amazing work, Irem—the company who developed this game for the NES. Great job!

1. GameFAQs: FAQ/Walkthrough by "antseezee"

2. FOX Sports 1: Mike Tyson plays Mike Tyson's Punch-Out for first time

3. The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon: Mike Tyson Tries to Beat Himself in Punch-Out!!





  • A true classic on the NES.
  • Usage of turbo controller (rapid fire).
  • Two-player option with different modes of play.
  • Presents a more difficult gameplay, after beating the game.
  • Simple story.
  • None.
100% (A+)
Fan Rating
Game Title Kung Fu*
Description KUNG FU*
Kick, jump and punch your way to victory in KUNG FU!

You'll need lightning fast reactions to knock out the Knife Thrower, stop the Stick Fighter, and trip-up the evil Tom Tom Brothers in this action-packed martial arts contest! Are you sure you're tough enough? Because it'll take all your strength and skill to master the moves in KUNG FU, beat your opponents and rescue the fair Sylvia who's held captive on the top floor! The action is non-stop, and just when you think you've got your enemies licked there's always a Giant, a Snake, or a fire-breathing Dragon to contend with in KUNG FU!
ISBN / Bar Code number 0 45496 63011 9
Video Format 1.33:1 (4:3) Full screen
Audio Format Stereo
Language(s) English
Disk/Cartridge One (1)
Region(s) NTSC
Genre Action
Rated ????
Released October 1985 (US)
Video Specification Color
Licensed by Nintendo
Developer Irem / Nintendo®
Product / Item / Catalog Number ???? / NES P SX
Other Formats ????
Quoted Reviews --
Other In the Japanese release, this game is titled Spartan X.
Irem / Nintendo


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