This week I’m going to look at a game that I feel is a little underappreciated – Kabuki Quantum Fighter. Published by HAL who also brought us Kirby, everybody’s favourite pink ball of joy, this game is a lesser known title for the NES but that doesn’t mean it’s bad by any means. Human Entertainment, the developer, is much better known for the Clock Tower series and their Fire Pro Wrestling Series and this is probably why games like Kabuki Quantum Fighter and Monster Party have been somewhat overlooked in my experience.
The game starts with your main character who is a descendant of Kabuki actor transferring his brain into binary in order to fight a computer virus. As your character does this he is physically projected to look like a Kabuki actor. Does it make sense? Not really. But they had to find a way to create a reason for their past period character to be placed in such a futuristic setting and it works so they can be forgiven. As with a lot of games from the 8 and 16 era sometimes it’s best to just accept it and enjoy the gameplay more than the story. As for the gameplay, it’s pretty fun and challenging. Your main attack for dispatching does is by whipping your hair at them. Sounds a bit odd but it’s incredibly satisfying to basically headbang your way to victory. There are a bunch of other useful attacks you gain throughout the game but none of them feel as fun. As for the rest of the gameplay you get a futuristic platformer world which looks nice enough and has a ton of personality which for me makes it a little special compared to other platform era. The difficulty level is a challenge with a lot of jumps requiring precision timing and accuracy. For some this could be off putting but for me it’s rewarding when you finally manage to get past a particularly frustrating section. Boss fights in Kabuki are varied and visually interesting, providing an exciting end to each level. The music in Kabuki is almost purely 8-bit metal. As an accompanying soundtrack it works perfectly with the game. Sure, it’s a bit simplistic in places but for Kabuki it works well. The boss theme does however fall a little flat and doesn’t quite build the level of suspense that the fights deserve but the intention is definitely noticeable.
Upon revisiting Kabuki and writing about it I’ve realised there are lot of complaints that I have about the game. More than I thought I would, in fact. There are lots of issues with Kabuki Quantum Fighter but a game doesn’t need to be perfect to be enjoyable. When it comes to NES games this is something you kind of just have to accept and to get the most from Kabuki Quantum Fighter you need to look past it’s flaws. It’s definitely one of my favourite games and it’s well worth playing as one of the more overlooked NES titles out there. And, on the plus, it’s not all that expensive to pick up.