Saturday, October 20, 2012

"Phantom Fighter", NES, 1988.

You can derive games from Hong Kong horror movies, but it does not necessarily follow that they will necessarily thus find a market among North American game consumers.


Phantom Fighter is the martial arts game with a big difference. It's the new action game that lets you chop and kick against ghostly enemies with supernatural powers!
* Over 100 Ghosts! * Dialogue! * Password Memory!
There's some wordplay in action here. Bigger kicks? Surely they can't mean that phantom-fighting endows yoga-like flexibility vs. training against more conventional opponents; they must therefore mean that you will enjoy yourself more fighting ghosts than other kinds of enemies (eg. mushroom-men, hopping-vampires, penanggalan). The big difference here is I suppose that the techniques employed against incorporeal phantasms aren't proton packs and power pills but good old chop-sockey. It's kind of like they're marketing the new genre mash-up, Revenant Boxing 4D. Spectre savate. Phantasm pugilism. Apparition tae kwan do. (Admittedly in many games ghosts are just unstoppable antagonists -- the worst has already been done to them, what are you doing to do, take their life away?) It does entail a different kind of gameplay from the typical "shoot the foozle with the blasto pistol" model; if you're using your fists, you've got to get right up in close quarters with them. I have to say I'd be a bit disappointed if my ghostly enemies lacked supernatural powers. The Retroist (what a good multi-purpose site name! I'm kind of stuck here when I run out of comic book ad scans) has already covered the obvious peanut gallery comments pretty thoroughly. Admittedly "Dialogue!" is a bit of a strange selling point, especially inasmuch as it's often to the detriment of action games, even when competently translated. This blog might be more interesting if I had time to actually play the games before writing about them, but who has time for that? (Me, 10 years ago.)