I got China Warrior in 1989 and loved it. I wouldn't compare it to Altered Beast. It was more of a competitor for Kung-fu on the NES. I really like the game and still play it sometimes for nostalgic purposes to this day. This review was abysmal.
China Warrior is about as pathetic a brawler as you'll ever play.
- The characters are large.
- Boredom sets in quick thanks to the simplistic combat and repetitive enemies
- Poor hit detection is aggravating, as are the unfair bosses
- Choppy character animation makes paper flipbooks seem smooth by comparison
- $6 buys you 12 short levels of boring badness.
China Warrior for the TurboGrafx-16 is what you'd get if you replaced the monsters in Sega's Altered Beast with fighting monks then set out make the graphics, audio, and gameplay 10 times worse. In the game, you control a Bruce Lee look-alike that automatically walks to the right while robed monks, flying ghosts, and bouncing boulders constantly sail toward you. The large characters will impress you for a second or two, after which your eyes and ears will endure a steady diet of ugly backgrounds, almost nonexistent animation, and Chinese music drowned in static. Monks will occasionally strike a pose, and snakes will sometimes coil up in front of you. However, most enemies simply walk by and nonchalantly dole out damage by colliding with you.
Boredom sets in quickly partly because the same handful of enemies are recycled constantly throughout the game's 12 short levels, but also because your actions are limited to jumping, ducking, kicking, or punching in response to the hazards that appear. There are minigames in WarioWare games that are more substantial than this. Each level is basically a gauntlet meant to deplete as much of your health meter as possible before you reach the boss waiting at the end of the stage. The bosses look meaner, have more attacks, and take more damage than regular enemies. Unfortunately, the game's pathetic excuse for boss fights is to have you mash the kick button and hope that luck brings you victory because their attacks can easily pass right through your own. Their recovery period between attacks is also much shorter than your recovery period. On top of all that, the hit detection is woefully unpredictable throughout the game. For every attack that lands, another will pass right through an enemy or nail him when he is well beyond the reach of your fists.
If, for whatever crazy reason, you liked China Warrior on the TurboGrafx-16 and are itching to play it on your Wii, you'll at least be happy to learn that the Wii has no trouble emulating the game. Of course, it's hard to imagine anyone liking a game that's as boring and broken as this one. There's so little to the game that it almost doesn't qualify as one. A game suggests that there's some kind of point to the proceedings, some kind of reward for trudging through this nonsense. The only reward you'll get is the realization five minutes in that no one is forcing you to play this dreck, and that you can simply turn it off. It was a waste of money when it was first published for the TurboGrafx-16 at $50, and it still feels like a waste of money now that it's priced at 600 Wii points ($6) on the Virtual Console.