Thanks to the Xbox 360's Game Room I have found a new favorite for a classic arcade game that I had never had the chance to play before. Konami released Shao-Lin's Road (Also known as Kicker in some countries) in 1985 and what little information I can find says it is the sequel to the arcade hit, Yie Ar Kung Fu. It was also released to various home computer systems as you can see from the Spectrum box art pictured at the top.
This game is deceptively simple, you play Lee who has finally mastered the fighting art of Chin's Shao-Lin but you have become trapped by a gang of Triad. Your goal is to escape the temple grounds by kicking anything that you meet, Triad thugs, sumo wrestlers, Kabuki fighters, geisha girls, a bowl of rice...yeah, you actually kick a bowl of flying rice at one point as well as a cake.
The controls are simple, you are allowed to move in the usual four directions, you can jump forward, and of course you can kick. There is much enjoyment to be had by leaping between two buildings and planting your foot in the back of a thug's head...I might have found one of the secrets of enjoying life playing this game.
You start each first level of a stage by defeating all of the thugs as they try to chase you across the screen, they'll try to drop down on you and jump up from below as well. Four hits and you lose a life, but if you succeed in knocking them all out you are treated to Lee shouting out, "Guts!"...which I don't quite understand.
Every second stage of a level challenges you with boss as well as the normal thugs you encounter. They usually have as much agility as you possess so the key to defeating them is not to stand still too long, place a foot in their face and drop down a level, when they follow you apply the same treatment. Of course around the third stage when the Kabuki fighter sets you on fire...you need to develop another strategy.
My scores so far have not even ranked me on the Leaderboards but an enjoyable feature of the Game Room is that you can watch the game play of the top players. So I was able to watch the entire game played by the current champ while drinking a cup of tea, picked up on where I could get some more points by doing so.
Overall I highly recommend Shao-Lin's Road but I warn you that it is quite addictive once you start playing it.
Score: 10 out of 10
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