When the PC Engine was first released in Japan, China Warrior (or 'The Kung Fu' as it was known in the Land of the Rising Sun) was put forward as a showcase for its graphical prowess.
Technically the first game on the system (it was released as 'Hudsonsoft Volume 1' in Japan), it sent shockwaves worldwide. Screenshots appeared of massive, flicker-free sprites beating the hell out of each other across a variety of landscapes – what was not to like?
Well, quite a lot actually. Yes, the game looks amazing – even today the size of the characters is quite impressive, and they animate pretty well, too. Unfortunately the gameplay is as shallow as a puddle. You have a couple of offensive moves and that’s it. It’s pretty challenging – frustratingly so at times – but also painfully repetitive and things get dull incredibly quickly.
The range of enemies and backgrounds tempts you to play further, but once you’ve seen everything you won’t return, as it isn’t actually that enjoyable. It can be best compared to Sega’s Altered Beast – but even that is better, which isn’t saying much.
China Warrior is an interesting tech demo for the PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16, but isn’t worth 600 points. If you feel in the mood for some fighting action, invest in Streets of Rage or Final Fight instead.
They both offer more enjoyable gameplay and will have you coming back for more weeks after purchase – China Warrior will only 'entertain' for a fraction of that time.