Publisher: Color Dreams
Total time played: 1.5 Hours
Short review: A short find and seek action game with clunky controls and repetitive music
Interesting links related to Master Chu and the Drunkard Hu
To my knowledge Master Chu and the Drunkard Hu is the only game that mentions alcohol or being drunk in the NES library. I would venture to say the name alone is why the game could not get the NES seal of approval and was forced to be released as an unlicensed game. Even the great Punch-Out was forced to sensor the game for its NES release. Vodka Drunkinski from the arcade game was changed to Soda Popinski on the NES.
Several years back I passed up buying Master Chu and the Drunkard Hu at a local game store and then proceeded to lose about 4 eBay auctions trying to buy it. Last week a friend from my hometown saw it in a store and asked if I had it. By the time I saw the message he had left the store. I happened to be in town about a week later to help my brother and dad build a wooden fence at my brother’s house. When we finished the fence I drove to the store and picked up the game for a better than eBay price.
I came home and cleaned the cartridge and tried it out. I had never played the game before and didn’t know what to expect. When Round 1 began I was caught off guard by the awkward controls. A shoots, B waves a fan to block projectiles (I never once used this) and UP jumps. It took a while to get a handle on the controls.
I moved from the left of the screen to the right while shooting my projectile at snakes and bats. Certain places I would shoot would make a red and white yin/yang symbol appear. Other spots would reveal a scroll which powers up your projectiles until you get hit by an enemy. There was also a book that provides an extra life, a walking man that fully refills your health, a small pearl which replenishes two health points and a necklace which provides invincibility in exchange for around 10 seconds of the most annoying fingernails on a chalkboard type sound effect I’ve ever heard in a video game.
I played the first stage for a few minutes and reached the end of the screen and nothing happened. I ended up turning the game off figuring there was something I was missing. I eventually read online that the goal of each Round is to collect 8 of the yin/yang symbols. Once this is accomplished a door appears and the character is automatically transported to it no matter where on the screen he is at the time the last item is collected. The door leads to a boss. Each boss is beaten simply by shooting them while avoiding projectiles. All of the bosses seemed to follow the same pattern and take about the same number of hits to kill. In fact, every boss in the game can be beaten by being patient and waiting on the floating platform until the boss walks under it, drop down and shoot while the boss has his back turned. When he turns around, jump back to the platform and repeat. Once the boss is dead you need to shoot around the room to find the hidden key to complete the level.
The final two rounds (rounds 9 and 10) of the game are nothing but boss fights. In the earlier boss fights if I got hit a few times in the process it was no big deal as health regenerated after each level. The final bosses are still pretty easy, the difficult part is fighting so many in a row and your health is not regenerated between matches. Although, if you are lucky sometimes the bosses will drop health when they die.
Each of the stages is also about the same difficulty. There are a lot of cheap hits where the enemies hit you before you know they are there. The hardest part is finding the arbitrary places where the yin/yangs are hidden. Some stages feature set pieces of blue or red yin/yangs that look identical to the ones you collect, however you can’t pick these up.
Collect the red yin/yangs but not the blue yin/yangs.
The game I could most closely relate this to is Milon’s Secret Castle where everything is hidden and only becomes visible when you hit the secret spot with a projectile. I think Milon is probably a better game even though I haven’t played it in years.
Master Chu is not that hard and can be beaten in 15-20 minutes. But, the arbitrary hiding of the items you collect, clunky controls, repetitive music and uninspired boss fights make the game below average. It isn’t absolutely horrible but it also is not very memorable.
I should also note, the last review I completed for Krazy Kreatures stated that I would probably never beat another unlicensed game…little did I know the very next game I beat would also be unlicensed.