Kung-Fu Master, known in Japan as Spartan X, is a 1984 beat 'em up arcade game developed and published in Japan by Irem. It was later published in North America by Data East. The Japanese version was based on
the Jackie Chan movie Wheels on Meals, known as Spartan X in Japan, and credited 'Paragon Films Ltd., Towa Promotion', who produced the film upon which it was based. The game is considered by many to be the first beat 'em up video game,
and contains elements of Bruce Lee's Game of Death.
The player takes the role of Thomas, a man in a Keikogi and slippers. Thomas's girlfriend, Sylvia, has been kidnapped by criminals, and Thomas must fight through five side-scrolling floors full of enemies to rescue her.
Brutally summarized as 'rescue girlfriend – hit people', the US and UK version opens with the explanation, 'A kung-fu master, Thomas and Sylvia were attacked by some unknown guys. (Sylvia was kidnapped by them.)'
In this early beat 'em up, the player controls the main character, Thomas, with a joystick to move/jump/crouch and separate buttons to punch and kick. Either attack can be done from a standing, crouching or jumping
position. Punches award more points than kicks and do more damage, but their range is shorter. Human enemies encountered by the player include Grippers, who can grab Thomas and drain his energy until shaken off; Knife Throwers, who can
throw at two different heights and must be hit twice; and Tom Toms, short fighters who can either grab Thomas or somersault to strike his head when he is crouching. On even-numbered floors, the player must also deal with falling balls
and pots, snakes, poisonous moths, fire-breathing dragons, and exploding confetti balls. The temple has five floors, each ending with a different boss who must be defeated before Thomas can climb the stairs to the next floor. Thomas must
complete each floor within a fixed time; if time runs out or his energy is completely drained, he loses one life and must replay the entire floor. If a boss defeats Thomas, the boss laughs. Although there are five bosses, the game only
uses two different synthesized laughs. (The NES port uses a third, high-pitched synthesized laugh for the Black Magician, the fourth-floor boss.) Once the player has completed all five floors, the game restarts with a more demanding
version of the Devil's Temple, although the essential details remain unchanged. A visual indication of the current house is displayed on the screen. For each series of five completed floors, a dragon symbol appears in the upper-right
corner of the screen. After three dragons have been added, the dragon symbols blink.
More details about this game can be found on
This version of Kung-Fu Master (Spartan X) was designed for Atari 2600, which was commercially very successful video game console of second generation produced by Atari from 1977 to 1992. It was the first console that used removable memory modules with games. At the time of its greatest fame, more than 30 million units of this console were sold for about $ 200 a piece. To date, the game library for this console contains nearly 1,000 original games. More information about the
Atari 2600 can be found here.
3 different online emulators are available for Kung-Fu Master (Spartan X). These emulators differ not only in the technology they use to emulate old games, but also in support of various game controllers, multiplayer mode, mobile phone touchscreen, emulation speed, absence or presence of embedded ads and in many other parameters. For
maximum gaming enjoyment, it's important to choose the right emulator, because on each PC and in different Internet browsers, the individual emulators behave differently. The basic
features of each emulator available for this game Kung-Fu Master (Spartan X) are summarized in the following table: