Kung Fu Master 2 Arcade Prototype Discovered

arcadehero April 28, 2015 7
Kung Fu Master 2 Arcade Prototype Discovered

I recently ran a poll asking which genres you would like to see return to the arcade. While it wasn’t voted on by thousands (or even hundreds) the #1 genre you the readers would like to see comeback is the Beat ‘Em Up/Brawler. If you are into those kind of games then the arcade classic Kung Fu Master should ring an instant bell.

Late last year you might recall the discovery of an unreleased Sega arcade game from 1991 called Hammer Away. The finders were able to salvage the ROMs and for anyone with an EEPROM burner you can install the game on a System 18 board and enjoy. We might be able to enjoy the same thing here soon with a recently discovered IREM prototype, the unreleased sequel to the popular Kung Fu Master called Beyond Kung Fu. Here is the discovery video, in French; skip ahead to 1:26 to see the game.

On the KLOV Forums one user was able to provide a translation/breakdown of what the host is saying above:

#1 the board was acquired from an ex irem employe
#2 the pcb was the final game in the test location
#3 the original board is damaged and keeps rebooting
#4 before the board was damaged, they dumped the entire roms
#5 the roms were submitted to mame

also on the board the label “spartan 2” [no x], the reason this game was canceled from the info he got was they wanted a more american’ised version so they made “Vigilante”.

so from what he said the actual sequel is Vigilante.

Checking System16.com, it looks like this prototype was also known as Super Kung Fu Master at one point in time. It is interesting how they completely started over and went in the direction of Vigilante. I have not played that one before but you can see how it uses a similar formula to KFM but with an 80s street gang theme instead (kind of funny that you are trying to save Madonna to boot).

What are your thoughts on this one? Discuss!


  1. Azrial April 29, 2015 at 2:10 am - Reply

    Looks slick!
    Hopefully it’s added to the next MAME release, I’d love to play it. I was a big fan of the original, both in the arcade and on the NES where it was simply known as “Kung Fu” in the US.

  2. estoybien April 29, 2015 at 7:18 pm - Reply

    There is also a Spartan for the Game Boy (aka Kung Fu Master) and Spartan X2 for the Famicom only.

    • arcadehero April 29, 2015 at 9:51 pm - Reply

      There are but even this protoype was quite different than those releases.

  3. Joey May 24, 2015 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    This is fantastic, I was a huge fan of Spartan X growing up. Hoping some enterprising soul finds a way to get it working on real hardware.

  4. Bronco October 3, 2020 at 1:03 am - Reply

    is it already emulated?

  5. Andrew December 28, 2020 at 11:52 am - Reply

    I’ve not seen the roms in any version of MAME. This is a total lie. There are no details about this game except the publisher (Irem corp) and release year (1987). Both are seen in the video. But what about the rest – who knows? The romset name? Rom files (what’s inside that package)? Good luck in finding all the details. I’ve been attempting to look for rom, but even Google doesn’t know about this game!

  6. Joachim January 30, 2022 at 1:56 pm - Reply

    FINALLY! I thought this is a total lie, like Andrew did. It’s not a lie, but the game isn’t working! Beware of this rom if you ever find it; I don’t think the game will be fully emulated, because for now the game’s video and audio aren’t emulated properly. Protection hasn’t been reproduced properly either. Service mode doesn’t work. Most of the graphics are missing, audio sounds like washed in old washing machine, so I’m sending GOOD LUCK message to MAME Team! I’m impatiently waiting for this game to be run properly!

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