Yie Are Kung Fu is ugly, short and limited but it plays smooth and can give you a surprisingly good gaming experience.

User Rating: 6.5 | Yie Ar Kung Fu NES
The Good: Perfectly smooth controls; gameplay is full of pleasant details that were recycled in many fighting games released later.

The Bad: Ugly; only two or three different music tracks; short.

Never released in Western shores, Yie Are Kung Fu is one of the first games Konami made for the NES, in 1985. It's a one-to-one fighting game that took advantage of the one-screen-game model (a standard at the time inherited from Atari's 2600) to bring some cool gameplay features and give life to it.

You're in bare hands and you must fight five opponents, each with their own weapon or special ability (throwing shurikens, spitting fire, swinging chains and so on). After having these five opponents defeated the game will start all over again from the beginning, with different colors in the backgrounds and same--but faster--enemies. And that's it. Although the formula is quite simple some details make the game worthy of a look.

Controls run smooth and fast, and the fighting itself is much more about good positioning and timing than mashing buttons--what makes it better than some modern games :). Aside that precision in the playability, the game experience become more pleasant as good small features come out: hitting your opponent makes the game freeze a little, giving you the feeling of one well-aimed blow; you can kick high or low and punch in a middle height, and using all of these to defend yourself from enemies projectiles is amazing--it feels even better in the Bonus Stage; using flying kicks and bouncing in the walls is fun; and hitting Mu on the fly (because that enemy really flies) feels just like hitting a Shoryuken in E. Honda's Sumo Headbutt. Another good feeling you get when you play is hitting an enemy passing behind you, since your battle field is not limited by your enemies' body--forerunning Fatal Fury about this 'double layer' fighting system in a simple way.

Yie Are Kung Fu looks and sounds as simple as any other game back in 1985 but it still can be fun because of its good playability. Also, it can teach one or two lessons to fighting games developers nowadays.