Review by Masvega
"An interesting concept with way too much difficulty"
Kabuki Quantum Fighter was one of the first games that I actually looked at and wondered what exactly the developers were going for. While the premise is at least interesting (a kabuki enters a computer armed only with his hair as a weapon), the mind-numbing difficulty kills a lot of the fun in this game. The story doesn't help either.
By NES standards, the graphics are decent. They aren't too bad to hinder the gameplay, but they aren't stellar either. The backgrounds have nice demonic touches to them, such as eyes in the walls and plenty of lava levels. More importantly, each level has its own distinct look and feel. The rivers are animated well and there aren't any invisible traps in this game. However, the first couple of bosses leave something to be desired as they are small (around the kabuki's height) and ill-defined. However, their animation is smooth and later bosses are more impressive visually. The kabuki's animation, however, is not as stellar. Walking seems awkward, as does jumping. It just seems as though the kabuki stutters throughout the game. However, as you play, that gets less and less noticeable.
None of the sound is stellar or memorable, but it serves the purpose. Every attack in the game more or less has the swishing sound that should accompany the hair. The cinema music is laughable though. The other sound effects work well and flames and emerging spikes actually sound like their real-life counterparts...sort of.
The control is a sticky area for this game. On one hand, it's easy to pick up and play. All the possible commands respond well and there's little slowdown. On the other hand, however, precision jumps are nearly impossible. The game has a lot of jumps that require precision, so this is a problem. Also, attacking with the hair and the Quantum Bombs require trial and error. Punching can only be done when the kabuki is crouching and is very slow. It's not a move that you will need often however, and as such isn't a problem. Kicking can only be done while hanging from a ledge and has the opposite problem of punching: it's too quick. If you attempt to kick something, the kick is nearly instantaneous and there is a good chance that you will miss the target. However, the biggest problem controlwise in the game is jumping from the ledges themselves. They are often placed in series of each other and jumping on the first one generally forces you to jump up again which leaves you open to unnecessary attack. Furthermore, if jumping from one ledge to another ledge, you must line up precisely or you'll fall to the ground, or more often, a pit. There's very little room for error in this.
There's a story? In the beginning, the story is simply ludicrous. A colonel is transported inside a supercomputer to stop a virus and becomes a kabuki to stop them. However, the cutscenes just make the story awful. They're short, but they still bring up unrelated elements to the game.
This score actually depends on how patient you are. If you're like me, then the obscene difficulty of some of the levels (Level 3 for instance) could prevent you from playing this game for a year. But the difficulty varies. The first level is relatively simple, the next two are increasingly hard with level 3 being obscene, and level 4 is easier than level 2. The difficulty mainly comes in the jumps and obstacles, rather than enemy placement. It's safe to say that the enemies in this game are a joke. The majority can be dispatched easily by rapid hair attacks and you'll need to jump over the attack of some of the enemies before attacking. However, the jumps, especially when jumping off rivers, ice or treaded platforms at least triple the difficulty. In most games, when you run the opposite way on treaded platforms, you don't move anywhere or at least move very slowly. But in this game, you move at around 3/4 the speed you walk if you do the aforementioned motion. And what's more, the platforms are always small, so it's nearly guaranteed that you'll fall off. With the ice, the kabuki generally slides off quickly into a nicely placed batch of spikes or gears and such. The boss fights make the game though. The bosses don't generally follow a set pattern, but some of their attacks are telegraphed. The fights make some of the levels worth it (but not level 3).
This game brought back some good memories for me, but overall, the multitude of jumps kills the fun in it. While it is thrilling and satisfying to finally get past each level, there are better platformers out there. While Kabuki Quantum Fighter is a decent game, the bad jumping control makes it more frustrating than enjoyable.
Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 07/15/01, Updated 07/15/01
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