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Encyclopedia > Kung Fu Master
Kung Fu Master
Developer(s) Irem
Publisher(s) Irem, Data East
Release date(s) 1984
Genre(s) Beat 'em up
Mode(s) Up to 2 players, alternating turns
Cabinet Standard upright, mini-upright, and cocktail
Arcade system(s) CPU: Z80 main,M6803 Snd, 2x AY-3-8910, 2x MSM5205 (=Irem-M62)
Monitor Raster (Horizontal) 4:3
Input 4-way Joystick, 2 buttons
Ports NES, PlayChoice-10 and others

Kung Fu Master was an arcade game developed by the Japanese company Irem Corporation in 1984 and manufactured under licence in the United States by Data East USA, Inc. of Santa Clara, California. It was released in Japan as Spartan X and credited "Paragon Films Ltd., Towa Promotion", who made the movie Spartan X (Wheels on Meals) upon which it was based. The movie (itself based on a novel), was directed by Sammo Hung who co-starred with Jackie Chan, playing the hero Thomas. The game contains more elements of Bruce Lee's Game of Death. Screenshot from Kung Fu Master running on MAME This work is copyrighted. ... A video game developer is a software developer (a business or an individual) that creates computer or video games. ... Irem (アイレム) is a Japanese video game console developer and publisher and formerly a developer and manufacturer of arcade games as well. ... Video game publishers are companies that publish video games that they have either developed internally or have had developed by a video game developer. ... Irem (アイレム) is a Japanese video game console developer and publisher and formerly a developer and manufacturer of arcade games as well. ... Data East (データイースト dēta īsuto) was a Japanese video game company, also known as DECO (Data East Corporation, データイースト株式会社 dēta īsuto kabushikigaisha). ... 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... This is a listing of computer and video game genres with brief descriptions and examples from each genre. ... Screenshot of Kung Fu Master (1984, Irem). ... This arcade cabinet, containing Centipede, is an upright. ... An arcade system board is a standardized printed circuit board or group of printed circuit boards that are used as the basis for multiple arcade games with very similar hardware requirements. ... CPU redirects here. ... Nineteen inch (48 cm) CRT computer monitor A computer display, monitor or screen is a computer peripheral device capable of showing characters and/or still or moving images generated by a computer and processed by a graphics card. ... Suppose the smiley face in the top left corner is an RGB bitmap image. ... For other uses, see Joystick (disambiguation). ... In computer science, porting is the adaptation of a piece of software so that it will function in a different computing environment to that for which it was originally written. ... NES redirects here. ... The Play Choice 10 was a stand-up arcade video game hardware unit, for which the unit owner could purchase up to ten arcade games. ... Centipede by Atari is a typical example of a 1980s era arcade game. ... Irem (アイレム) is a Japanese video game console developer and publisher and formerly a developer and manufacturer of arcade games as well. ... 1984 (MCMLXXXIV) was a leap year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. ... Official website: http://www. ... Film refers to the celluloid media on which movies are printed. ... Wheels on Meals is a 1984 Hong Kong film starring Jackie Chan and Yuen Biao as two men who run a fast food van in Barcelona and who both fall in love with a beautiful pickpocket. ... Daniel Defoes Robinson Crusoe; title page of 1719 newspaper edition A novel (from French nouvelle Italian novella, new) is an extended fictional narrative in prose. ... Sammo Hung (Chinese: 洪金寶; Hanyu Pinyin: ; Cantonese: Hung4 Gam1 Bou2) (born in Hong Kong on January 7, 1952) is a Kung Fu movies actor, producer and director. ... Jackie Chan (born on April 7, 1954 in Hong Kong) is a Chinese martial artist, actor, director, stuntman and singer. ... Bruce Lee in the film Enter the Dragon. ... Game of Death (死亡遊戲) was the film Bruce Lee had planned to be the demonstration piece of his martial art Jeet Kune Do. ...



The player takes the role of Thomas, a man in a martial arts uniform with slippers. Thomas's girlfriend Sylvia has been kidnapped by "Mr. X", and Tom must fight through five side-scrolling levels full of enemies to rescue her. Brutally summarized as "rescue girlfriend – hit people", the US and UK version opened with the clumsy phrase "Thomas and Sylvia were attacked by several unknown guys...."


The game was the first beat 'em up. It is cited as the inspiration for subsequent successes like Double Dragon, Final Fight, Captain Commando, and Streets of Rage. Screenshot of Kung Fu Master (1984, Irem). ... Double Dragon title screen (arcade). ... Final Fight ) is a classic beat em up series from Capcom. ... Captain Commando, as he appears in . ... Streets of Rage (known in Japan as Bare Knuckle) was a popular beat em up series developed by Sega. ...

If you insert a coin, the player yells "Huah!" In the game he only yells if jumps and kicks simultanously.

The first level involved nothing stronger than standard Kung Fu henchmen and knife throwers (must be hit twice), but subsequent levels introduced dwarves, killer bees, fire breathing dragons, snakes, and butterflies of death. Fans of the game particularly appreciated the hobbling motion of the injured characters and decried the difficulty presented by the knife throwers. Completing the second level was notoriously challenging. Each of the five levels ends with a different boss who must be defeated before Thomas can climb the stairs to the next level. The first two bosses are ordinary men armed with a baton and honed boomerangs, respectively. The third is a giant, the fourth a magician and the fifth is Mr. X, a versatile Kung Fu master. Each level must be completed within a fixed time. The timer starts at 2000. If it falls below 330, you hear an acoustic warning. If a boss defeats the player, the boss laughs. Although there are 5 bosses, there was only room for 2 different laughs. Note: Thomas actually never moves. Only background and enemies do. In computer and video games, a level (sometimes called a stage, course, episode, round, world, map, wave, board, phase, or landscape) is a separate area in a games virtual world, in modern games typically representing a specific location such as a building or a city. ... Alternative meaning: Kung Fu (TV series) Kung fu or gongfu (功夫, Pinyin: gōngfu) is a well-known Chinese term used in the West to designate Chinese martial arts. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...

Once the player has completed all five levels, the game restarts with a more demanding version of the Devil's Temple, although the essential details remain unchanged. You can see on which house the gamer is. For every completed 5 levels, a dragon symbol appears in the upper right corner (max. 3, then blink).

Level details

The pagoda is the Buddhist temple 'Pope Jusaw' in South Korea. You can see inside and outside in the movie Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey (Game of Death documentary). In the movie, Bruce Lee has 4 companions. The pagoda is guarded by 10 karate-guards at the outside. On each level inside, one member of Bruce Lee's team dies. The 5 levels not only feature 5 different fighting-styles, but the steps for finding your own way.

Level 1: Right-to-left. Enemies are Grippers (men who charge Tom and grab him, draining his life bar. Usually come in large numbers) and Knife Throwers (men who throw knives high or low). The boss is Stick Fighter (His high attacks miss if Tom crouches, and all attacks miss if Tom is directly next to him.) In Game of Death, this level is called 'Hall of the Tiger'. The boss is Master of the Escrima (Filipino stick fighting-style), played by Dan Inosanto. As Bruce Lee died, before filming level 1 and 2, this level is the 3rd. Originally, it was planned an expert kicker/ student of chi with no weapon on level 1. Screenshot of Metal Gear Solid. ...

Level 2: Left-to-right. Enemies are Snakes, Dragons (kick them before they breathe fire for lots of points), and Beehives (jump attack), followed by Grippers and Knife Throwers. The boss is Boomerang Fighter (throws a boomerang, high or low). In Game of Death this level is the 'Red Area' (level 4), with the Hapkido-fighter played by Ji Han Jae. It was planned a boss with fast and direct attack on level 2 which is called 'Floor of the Preying Mantis'.

Between levels 2 and 3, and 4 and 5, Mr. X offscreen taunts Thomas while Sylvia is tied to a chair.

Level 3: Right-to-left. Enemies consist of large numbers of Grippers, Tom Toms (small men who can surprise Thomas by jumping on his head), and Knife Throwers. The boss is Mr. Big (An orange giant). The Giant is Kareem Abdul Jabbar (who appeared as a villanious opponent of Bruce Lee's character in Game of Death). On A Warrior's Journey (2000) Kareem is on the 5th level. On original Game of Death (1978), Kareem comes even after level 5, at the outside of the pagoda. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (born April 16, 1947 in New York City, New York) was a successful high school, collegiate, and professional basketball player. ... A cartoon villain. ... Bruce Lee in the film Enter the Dragon. ... Game of Death (死亡遊戲) was the film Bruce Lee had planned to be the demonstration piece of his martial art Jeet Kune Do. ...

Level 4: Left-to-right. Enemies consist of killer moths, Tom Toms, and Grippers. The boss is the Black Magician, a hunchback who casts fire, summons Dragons and bats, and cannot be hurt with shots to the head. His fire can be attacked, and only a crouch-punch hurts him). Game of Death: Master of Illusion.

Level 5: Right-to-left. Grippers, Tom Toms, and Knife Throwers come at Thomas in droves. The boss is Mr. X himself (a decent karate master, but a glitch forces him to walk into your crouch kicks). On Game of Death there was a document instead of the girl. She was held elsewhere. Note: The yellow suit of Bruce Lee wears Mr. X in the game. So, Thomas fights against Bruce Lee, or himself.

Rumor and Secrecy

Fight Sylvia - False. Word was, after completing the game 50 consecutive times, a secret match against Sylvia would replace Mr. X. Some sites claim it's true, but has been verified false. TwinGalaxies article (This should only work on the Playchoice-10 version)

Matrix Kick - True. Considered by some a glitch, Tom can do a reverse jump, able to kick enemies behind while evading them. Executed while moving one direction by jumping and turning around at the same time. Nearly impossible without an emulator.

Bonus Hugger - Mixed. In some places, the secret's description is to jump-kick twelve enemies in a row. The actual bonus is that every twelve enemies, the 12th will be worth a whopping 5000 pts if jump-kicked, but only if it is a hugger.

Movie Origin? - True. A game-cameo listing mentions as follows...

"The Japanese name of this game is Spartan X, and is based on a Jackie Chan film (Wheels on Meals in the U.S.) Thomas and Sylvia are characters in the film as they are in the game. (Credit: Mark Kelly) Status: TRUE: Verified by FO. Source: Nintendo Database. "


The game ran on an Irem M62 platform controlled by a set of 3 PCB using a 3.072MHz Z80 CPU main, and an 894.886 kHz M6803 for sound, The horizontal 4:3 screen used a 512-colour raster display. Accommodating one or two players. it was controlled by a 4-way joystick and two buttons: Punch and Kick, respectively. Sound: 2x AY-3-8910 (General Instrument) tone, 2x MSM5205 (Oki) noise (mono). Close-up photo of one side of a motherboard PCB, showing conductive traces, vias and solder points for through-hole components on the opposite side. ... One of the first Z80 microprocessors manufactured; the date stamp says well before July 1976. ... Motorola 6800 Microprocessor The 6800 is a microprocessor produced by Motorola and released shortly after the Intel 8080 in 1975. ... Suppose the smiley face in the top left corner is an RGB bitmap image. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with General Instrument AY-3-8910. ... General Instruments Microelectronics was a division of General Instruments Corporation. ... Oki (隠岐国; -no kuni) was an old province of Japan which consisted of Oki Islands in the Sea of Japan, located off the coast of Izumo and Hoki provinces. ...

A successor was planned: Super Kung-Fu Master (1985). A prototype was made, but tested badly. Roms not dumped yet. Probably a collector owns it and doesn't want to ruin the PCB.

Via a dipswitch, the arcade-owner can enter the number of lifes (normally 3) and difficulty (easy/hard) and faster decrease of the life-bar. Additional there is a test, a freeze and an invisible option. Then you can walk through grippers without danger.

Emulated first on 27.3.97 (Ishmair's KunFu Master Emu V0.0000001A, DOS Version, doesn't work on modern PC's. MAME Version since 0.23 (02.06.97) then wrong colors and only sound samples, instead of emulating sound hardware. Mame is a highly successful Broadway musical. ...

The game has ~ 10,000 lines of assembly code and 28 ROM's (incl. graphics 177 KB),main Code 2x 16 KB.

Rights ownership

Data East, the Japanese parent company of Data East USA, Inc. got into financial difficulties in the early 1990s. In 1994 Data East USA was transferred to Sega in settlement of significant debts. Data East Corporation was declared bankrupt on June 25, 2003. Data East (データイースト dÄ“ta Ä«suto) was a Japanese video game company, also known as DECO (Data East Corporation, データイースト株式会社 dÄ“ta Ä«suto kabushikigaisha). ... Seinfeld was a pop cultural phenomenon during the 90s and became one of the most popular TV programs ever. ... 1994 (MCMXCIV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated as the International Year of the Family and the International Year of the Sport and the Olympic Ideal. // Events January Bill Clinton January 1 : North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) goes into effect. ... Sega Corporation ) is an international video game software and hardware developing company, and a former home computer and console manufacturer. ... The examples and perspective in this article or section may not represent a worldwide view. ... June 25 is the 176th day of the year (177th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar, with 189 days remaining. ... 2003 (MMIII) was a common year starting on Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Sega sold the pinball division of Data East USA to Stern Pinball of Melrose Park, Illinois. Data East's intellectual properties were acquired on February 2004 by G-Mode, a Japanese mobile game content provider. None of the Data East arcade games are in production. This article is about the arcade game. ... Stern is the name of two different but related arcade gaming companies. ... Melrose Park is a village located in Cook County, Illinois. ...


It was ported to Atari 2600, Atari 7800, Amstrad CPC, Apple II, BeOS x86, Commodore 64, DOS, Java, Linux, Nintendo Entertainment System/Nintendo Famicom (as simply 'Kung Fu'), PlayChoice-10 (Arcade, nearly the same as NES-Version), Game Boy, Sega SG-1000, Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Windows and the recently made 8-bit Gameking console, under the name of Nagual. Some of the 8-bit conversions offered highly degraded performance, sound and image resolution. The NES version was ported and published by Nintendo, and sometimes they are erronously credited as the creators of the game. The Atari 2600, released in 1977, is the first successful video game console to use plug-in cartridges instead of having one or more games built in. ... The Atari 7800 is a video game console released by Atari in 1986 (a test market occurred in June 1984). ... Amstrad CPC 464, with CTM644 colour monitor The Amstrad CPC was a series of 8-bit home computers produced by Amstrad during the 1980s and early 1990s. ... The Apple II was one of the most popular personal computers of the 1980s. ... BeOS is an operating system for personal computers which began development by Be Incorporated in 1991. ... For the hip hop group, see Commodore 64 (band). ... ‹ The template below has been proposed for deletion. ... Java is an object-oriented programming language developed by James Gosling and colleagues at Sun Microsystems in the early 1990s. ... Linux (also known as GNU/Linux) is a computer operating system. ... NES redirects here. ... NES redirects here. ... Kung Fu was released on the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1985. ... The Play Choice 10 was a stand-up arcade video game hardware unit, for which the unit owner could purchase up to ten arcade games. ... The original Game Boys design set the standard for handheld gaming consoles. ... Sega Corporation ) is an international video game software and hardware developing company, and a former home computer and console manufacturer. ... The Sinclair ZX Spectrum was a home computer released in the United Kingdom in 1982 by Sinclair Research. ... ‹ The template below has been proposed for deletion. ... The GameKing 8-bit handheld game console has been made by the Chinese company TimeTop since 2003. ...

Other ports (mostly different):

  • Kung-Fu Master (MSX, ASCII Mass Tael, 1983! even before Arcade-Version)
  • Kung Fu (Karate?) ZX Spectrum (Bug Byte, 1984/85? 1st port on Homecomputers)
  • Jackie Chan- The Kung-Fu Master (Arcade,1995)
  • Kung-Fu Master (IAC/Irem Arcade Classics) for jap. PS/SS (1996, I'Max) 1:1 port
  • Kung-Fu Master DX (EmuDX,2005)
  • Kung-Fu Master (on cell phones)
  • Kung-Fu Master 3D (WIP, see Discussion) 2005

MSX official logo Sony MSX 1, Model HitBit-10-P MSX is the name of a standard for home computers in the 1980s. ...

External links




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