Tiny Review: Kabuki Quantum Fighter

In the vast ocean that is the NES library, it can be all too easy to dismiss a game at a mere glance. And from a distance, Kabuki Quantum Fighter shows every indication of being a B or even C-list game, and I suppose that in some ways it is (it was the first and only NES game developed by Human Entertainment, who would later find success with the Fire Pro Wrestling series). But the game nevertheless delivers an experience just as compelling as many of the big boys.

KQF plays out like a mix between Batman and Ninja Gaiden. You character’s primary means of attack is to whip at enemies with his long red hair, but by pressing select, you can cycle through an assortment of limited-use subweapons that are added to your arsenal after each boss.

The levels are intended to sport an “inside a computer” aesthetic to compliment the cyberpunk storyline, but most of the levels look more like rejected Ninja Gaiden backgrounds, which isn’t really such as bad thing. The game also feels like Tecmo’s classic series, which is pretty much the highest possible compliment I can give a game’s control. The only letdown is that the crouching attack is insanely short ranged, and some of the subweapons are quite useless.

The game is pretty tough at first, mostly because the levels rely heavily on a “hang and swing” platforming mechanic, which requires exact timing and precise button presses. However, once this mechanic is mastered, the game is actually somewhat easy due to frequent enemy drops of health and subweapon energy.

The game’s biggest shortcoming is it’s length. There are only about a half dozen levels that can be breezed through in about thirty minutes. Wisely, the developer limited the player to just two continues, but the game can still be beaten by an average skilled player in two or three attempts. Even as such, the game is most certainly worth tracking down, and it’s sad that the sequel (hinted at after the credits have rolled) never became a reality, because this could have been the start of a really cool series.

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~ by Krooze L-Roy on March 25, 2008.

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