1 player, horizontal game
Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
Okay, how's this: For some crazy reason, your boss at the video-game company wants to put the unstable mutagen Rynoleum into the next batch of games. Acting on your conscience, you steal the toxic waste, haul it home, and put it for safekeeping in the freezer. Unfortunately, you've been contaminated into a six-inch-tall, naked, green version of yourself. Worse, your groceries have gained sentience, and are now planning to take over the world! Can you fight through your leftovers, cure yourself, and stop this plan cold?
That's KUNG FOOD for the Lynx, the video game with a plot that's an instant finalist in the "Goofiest Idea of 1992" award. You play the samaritan in the refrigerator who kicks, jumps, and punches through five levels of killer groceries and other hazards to save the day. You start with three lives, and can take a limited number of hits, but the vegetables still outnumber you. There are no continues, but power-up icons along the way will help even the odds. Sure, it's silly, but it's no weirder than ninja-trained terrapins, right?
There's no surprise here -- KUNG FOOD is your generic "beat everything in sight" video game. You walk left to right, up and down, and after a few steps encounter a pack of hopping peas, potato men, or ice demons that have to be destroyed before you can go any farther. You take hits pretty easily, and there's not much warning that you've been hit, so watching the health gauge is very important.
There are a number of small quirks that may bother some players, however. Controls are a little awkward; button A and the control pad activate punches and kicks, which is tolerable, but it's impossible to turn quickly in the heat of battle. Actually hitting an opponent requires a fair amount of precision, and, depending on where you're standing, it's possible to be hit by an enemy who you can't hurt. Working around these limits isn't difficult, but veterans of video street battles will be caught flat-footed at first.
The graphics on KUNG FOOD are among the most elaborate ever on a Lynx title. There's great use of color, detail, and animation, and some fairly elaborate opening and closing sequences, which mesh together with a consistent level of high quality. Game sounds are pretty good and match the action appropriately, but the background music and title theme are repetitive and grating. Fortunately, pressing OPTION 2 lets you turn the music off while keeping the sound effects.
Take away the story, and KUNG FOOD comes across as a very average fighting game that breaks no new ground. The game's controls and minor quirks may irritate some players, but fight fans with Lynxes should look past the silliness and give the title a try.
GAMEPLAY: 6 GRAPHICS: 8.5 SOUND: 5.5 OVERALL: 6.5