Fist II: The Legend Continues is the sequel to the classic The Way of the Exploding Fist, and it plays quite differently to its predecessor. It was once again developed by Beam Software (mostly by the same people who made Fist One) and first published by Melbourne House in 1986.
This game is more of a scrolling action game, with exploration and fighting game elements, rather than a straightforward one-on-one beat ’em up.
You control a lone warrior who is on a quest to find eight scrolls (aka Trigrams) in order to beat an evil warlock. You walk from location to location, climbing ladders, exploring caves, and taking on various opponents sent by the warlock to take you down. Once you find a Trigram you must then take it to a corresponding shrine and meditate to absorb its powers. This will also give you an extra life, which is good because you only start with one.
During combat, your life energy (and that of your opponent), is represented as a horizontal strip at the bottom of the screen. If this reaches zero then the game ends and you’re unceremoniously dumped back to the start of the game again. There’s no end game screen, and no title screen, which makes the game feel bare and unfinished.
The fighting doesn’t work half as well as in The Way of the Exploding Fist, and the life bar often drops from full to nothing in one hit. Opponents aren’t particularly varied. In fact: the first few opponents look identical to you, except they’re wearing a green baseball cap, which just seems silly to me. Why choose to do that with the very first opponents, when you really need to be impressing the player at that stage of the game? Not making them laugh at your laziness…
The scrolling is weird (you often have to wait for the screen to catch up as you move), and there are bugs that make defeated enemies re-appear, and also make it difficult to get past certain areas. Fortunately there are fan-fixed versions that negate these bugs, but Fist II is still a half-baked game that requires too much walking around doing nothing.
I’ve seen people online saying that Fist II is “brilliant” and that it has “one of the best C64 soundtracks ever“, and while these individuals are welcomed to their opinions, they really are talking absolute shite… Fist II is a serious disappointment after the excellence of the first game. Even the music in this is short, repetitive and annoying, which is surprising as it was written by Neil Brennan, who did the music for the first game.
Firstly: don’t listen to anyone online who says Fist II is “a classic” – it isn’t. Read the Zzap!64 review for some hard truths, all you mindless fanboys… And secondly: if you are going to play it: make sure you find a fixed version. Otherwise those bugs will knack you.
Note: A one-on-one ‘tournament’ version of Fist II – which I’ve also shown at the end of this set of screenshots – was given away for free on side two of the supplied cassette, and that too has serious problems. My guess is that it was the prototype for Fist II, before the developers decided to make it a different game. And when they realised that the main game wasn’t up to scratch, they decided to give it away for free as a sweetener. Which didn’t work. Both games leave a bitter taste in the mouth, to be honest.