Retro Coin Op Synopsis
If there’s one lesson to be learned from video games, it’s this: Never steal a kung fu master’s girlfriend. It can only end in violence. Happily, the bad guys of Kung-Fu Master hadn’t learned that lesson yet, so gamers were treated to this fast-paced, side-scrolling action game.
At the start of Kung-Fu Master, quick-kicking Thomas was out for a pleasant walk with girlfriend Silvia when a group of “several unknown guys” attacked. Silvia was kidnapped, and an evil master named Mr. X soon claimed responsibility. If Thomas wanted his girlfriend back (and he did), there was only one path, and it led straight through Mr. X’s lair, The Devil’s Temple.
The game followed Thomas as you guided his progress up through five floors of The Devil’s Temple. On each level, you moved sideways across the floor, punching and kicking the many purple-shirted baddies that stood in your way. Higher floors brought more threats, including magic pots filled with snakes or dragons, deadly moths, and several very angry little people. Each floor also featured an end-of-level boss—a staff-wielding fighter, a boomerang thrower, a giant who looked suspiciously like Mr. Clean, a wizard, and finally Mr. X himself.
Kung-Fu Master’s appeal was simple: with one joystick and two buttons, you got to save a beautiful woman by beating the mess out of hundreds of people. With that macho premise, Kung-Fu Master became a huge hit, providing the building blocks that Double Dragon, Final Fight and every other side-scrolling fighting game would build on in later years.