Akimbo: Kung Fu Hero is a Throwback Classic

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Observe!! The "Crane Stance!" Wytaaaaaaa!!! "Moon Stance!" Wootooooooo!!! "Bear Stance!" Mootooooo!!! "Crouching Tiger!" Shen-muuuuuu! "Hidden Dragon!!" Voodooooo!! "Flying Foot Kick!" ShaaAAAWAKAAAaaaaa!! * Takes a bow * Phew!

Man, you wouldn’t believe the adventures I’ve been on the last few days. I mean I’m fighting bug-eyed tarantulas, thorn-filled hedgehogs, fireflies half my size, snapping seashells, giant wasps and all sorts of wild creatures wanting a piece of me! But lookout, my misfortune-filled foes, cause I’m well versed in the ancient forms of martial arts, and with my lightning quick reflexes I’m untouchable!!! That’s right, I shall make you all rue the day you ever messed with AKIMBO: KUNG-FU HERO!

Ok, so maybe I’ve had just one too many fat-free shakes today but I’m telling ya playing this game brings back memories of the "gaming days of old" where graphics weren’t a big issue and gameplay was everything. Plain and simple "Akimbo: Kung-Fu Hero" is more than just a solid game. It’s tons of fun.

First time out with this title is immediately going to remind you of the Super-Nes version of "Donkey Kong Country" but with an added twist of kung-fu and martial arts rather than two monkeys trying to go bananas.(hahaha…urhm…Well I thought it was funny).

The game itself is a graphical masterpiece. You can clearly and plainly see that not even the slightest detail has been left out. You’ll travel through six unique worlds, each with its own bold, colorful, and full of life landscapes that help to make each environment a new experience. Everywhere you set your feet graphical greatness abounds. Even Akimbo himself steals the show with great skin tone, muscular attributes and a cool Bruce Lee attire.

The story line is fairly simple as is the nature for most games of this genre. It seems a small bottle of transparent glass has washed up on the shore. Akimbo, who happens to be standing around the area at the moment, takes notice and examines it more closely. There’s a piece of parchment inside that looks to be an S.O.S. of some sort. Unfolding and scanning the contents of the message causes Akimbo to gasp in surprise. The letter reads as such:

"To whomever may find this message, We, the shamans of Turtle Island, face one of our greatest crises ever. A zealous dragon by the name of Fang has used his powerful magic to enslave the inhabitants of our island. It is only we twenty shamans that have been spared. But our powers are limited and we have failed to lift the dragon’s spell. Please we beg the help of any who are able. Come to our island. Help us defeat the dragon before he destroys us all!"

Meditating upon the sense of urgency with which the shamans wrote the letter and the fact that no one else was gonna’ be crazy enough to answer the call, Akimbo decides to set off for Turtle Isle with hopes of perhaps living long enough to get to the bottom of things and save the day from the fierce dragon Fang.

From the time you set foot on your adventure you’ll encounter strange creatures and dangerous land obstacles. You’ll have to keep hold your wits as you climb ropes, leap to floating pieces of land, run across falling bridges, activate hidden levers and switches, ride the backs of wild creatures over dangerous terrain, and or even jump into a huge cannon and make yourself a human cannonball.

You also have your martial art skills at your disposal to protect you from would-be opponents. You can use a series of jumps, punches, low kicks, side kicks, roundhouse kicks, flying kicks and back flips to avoid immediate danger as you make your way through your quests. Further on in the adventures you’ll gain access to swords, bombs, spin-o-copters and other weapons of that sort.

You’ll also have some helpful little items to help further aid you on your mission. Along the way you’ll find keys that unlock doors leading to new treasures and secrets. You’ll also find power-ups which help you to gain new abilities. Teleport devices are hidden throughout the island to help you get on your way a little faster and you’ll want to collect as many gold coins as possible. When you’ve collected 100 gold coins you are rewarded with one extra life.

Akimbo also gets hungry quite often, so you need to keep him well fed or else his food indicator will slowly decrease and he’ll starve to death. Nothing a few local fruits, berries, and other tasty sorts of foods can’t fix.

Though Global Star Software’s 3D side-scroller appears to be simple in nature, you’ll find that it has a learning curve that will keep even the advanced gamer coming back to play again. I initially thought that I could walk through this game with little or no trouble at all. After all, I’d played a ton of side scrolling games of this type and this didn’t seem to be any different from all the rest. Or so I thought. I’ve found myself either being felled by oncoming quick and nimble moving creatures, miscalculating simple jumps to nearby mobile floating piece of lands or even accidentally slipping off the edge of a cliff, usually resulting in me plunging to my untimely death straight into oblivion.

I just cannot put my finger on it. I’ve played games that require much more skill and concentration than this. I’ve pulled out my entire "Super Mario Brothers repertoire" and still I find myself failing at even the simplest of obstacles. Perhaps I’m losing my touch. (NOT!!) But whatever the case, I’ve found myself coming back again and again to prove to myself I can beat this "simple" game. (Note: It took me two days to get off the first stage). In this trying and humbling process however I’ve come to appreciate the simplicity of the game and most of all it’s highly addictive gameplay.

Bottom line, Akimbo: Kung-Fu Hero is definitely a title for all ages and challenges all levels of gamers. It’s got dazzling graphics plus a gameplay engine that seems very familiar and has some added cool new twists that help push it over the top to gaming greatness. Above all though it’s just plain fun! No doubt this game sums up to a well-earned 4 solid GiN gems. And the fact that it’s value software means that you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to get it.

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