48k disk £12.95
Karate games are all the rage nowadays and CHOP
SUEY from English Software is one of several such games which have
recently hit the market for Atari computers. Following in the
tradition of their arcade counterparts, these games offer a
head-to-head confrontation against an opponent in true 'blood and
guts' style. Unlike Datasoft's BRUCE LEE, which was basically a
platform game in disguise, CHOP SUEY is a true sports simulation and
it gives you the chance to tackle a human or computer opponent in
the combat arena without the risk of doing yourself any physical
The action takes place on a box-type stage,
watched by an eager audience sitting in several rows of seats in
front of the stage. The intro tune is quite nifty and sounds as if
it's being played on one of those old music-hall pianos, giving the
game a certain theatrical atmosphere. After choosing your game
options - computer or human opponent - it's on with the action. Both
players are extremely detailed and look the part in their karate
suits, with customary black belts (naturally!). All the actions are
joystick implemented, and English Software are to be commended for
not overcomplicating matters with additional keyboard options.
Strength bars at the bottom of the screen indicate
the players' current status in the form of a pain barrier. When they
change colour from red to orange you are at your lowest ebb, and one
good blow from your opponent will drop your player to his knees,
gasping for breath. Animation is superb as the players leap about
the stage delivering quickfire combinations of kicks and punches.
One small quibble is that the two players are identical, even down
to the colour of their suits, and it's all too easy, in the heat of
battle, to lose track of your player. You end up getting him
confused with your opponent, which doesn't do your pain barrier a
lot of good when you're desperately trying to avoid a killing blow.
Different colour suits would have been a good idea.
Points are awarded for various aspects of play.
How well you execute your move and whether it is defensive or
offensive determines the number of points you score. In turn, you
can only take a certain amount of punishment, and the game is over
when your pain barrier reaches 8 units. If you are playing the
computer and manage to beat it, you will get an automatic rematch
against a much tougher opponent. The price of victory, I suppose.
Just to keep you on your toes, you must also keep
a sharp eye out for oriental scorpions. These loathsome creatures
drop out of the air-vents in the roof of the stage at random
intervals. You must avoid them when they scuttle across the stage as
their bite is potentially lethal, depending, of course, on the state
of your pain barrier. In any case, a bite from one of these
certainly won't do you any good!
English Software are onto a winner here. It will
be interesting to see the opposition (INTERNATIONAL KARATE from
System 3 and YIE AR KUNG-FU from Imagine), but CHOP SUEY will surely
give them a run for their money. Graphics and animation are
first-rate and, perhaps more importantly, it's an easy and fun game
to play. Well done, English Software!