Save 35% on a Eurogamer yearly subscription this Black Friday!


Three's a crowd.

Exploding Fist or IK? Not a mishap in the perfume branding factory, but a high-kicking battle for the C64 fighting crown. With both games released within the space of a few months, predictable arguments raged as to which was better. System 3's IK sequel silenced these disputes, squeezing a third fighter on-screen and including a bonus section based around the ancient art of wielding a dustbin lid. Debate over.

IK+ is a fighting game without special moves (unless you count the infamous "trousers" manoeuvre), released at the divergence of the genre. Another title released in 1987, Street Fighter, would lead one-on-one fighters in a very different direction. But in place of fifty-combo fireball slaps, IK+ delivers the simple goal of landing foot or fist on your foe; a glorious brawl of brain and brawn, as you attempt to outwit the two human or computer controlled adversaries.

Crucially, the controls are perfectly responsive. In this vital area the game is the equal of any modern fighter, with every move registering the moment it's executed by the joystick. The ability to rapidly respond to circumstances, such as being able to bust out a counter flying kick and nail a mid-air opponent, is also a treat. Similarly, moves can be 'cancelled' mid-frame in favour of a more useful one.

Whilst the game has excellent AI, nothing compares to facing off against human opposition. Tactics (or, sometimes, the lack of them) become paramount. It's all totally balanced and nothing is ever unfair. Although life for the guy in the middle of the kung-fu sandwich can sometimes feel a bit tough.

Superior to the 16-bit versions, the C64 original has no equal and continues to provide a worthwhile challenge. For relieving frustration, it certainly beats trying to karate chop the kitchen working surface.

9 /10

Will you support Eurogamer?

We want to make Eurogamer better, and that means better for our readers - not for algorithms. You can help! Become a supporter of Eurogamer and you can view the site completely ad-free, as well as gaining exclusive access to articles, podcasts and conversations that will bring you closer to the team, the stories, and the games we all love. Subscriptions start at £3.99 / $4.99 per month.

Read the reviews policy

Sometimes we include links to online retail stores. If you click on one and make a purchase we may receive a small commission. Read our policy.

Jump to comments (18)

About the author

Peter Parrish

Peter Parrish



You may also enjoy...

Supporters only

Comments (18)

Comments for this article are now closed. Thanks for taking part!

Hide low-scoring comments

Buy things with globes on them

And other lovely Eurogamer merch in our official store!

Eurogamer Merch
Explore our store