Chop Suey

Reviewed by Jim Short


Issue 19

Jan/Feb 86

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English Software 

48k cassette 8.95
48k disk 12.95
1 player 





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 damage.

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!