Shao-Lin's Road (known in American arcades as Kicker) is a martial arts platformer developed and released by Konami for arcades in April 1985.
Similar in theme to another Konami arcade game released in the same year, Yie Ar Kung-Fu, players manuever their kung-fu fighter around the screen, kicking their opponents. Unlike Yie Ar Kung-Fu, which uses fighting game mechanics, Shao-Lin's Road is a platformer that features a multi-tiered open arena with henchmen characters fighting alongside the boss characters.
Players control Lee, an apprentice of a secret form of Shaolin kung-fu martial arts who was attacked by the enemy Yamucha gang. He must venture through five stages (each with their own unique three-tier layout) to eliminate the five group leaders, kicking all the henchmen who stands in his way.
A year after the original release date, the game was ported to the Commodore 64, Amstrad CPC, and ZX Spectrum. The game was later included in the 1999 PlayStation compilation Konami Arcade Classics and the 2007 Nintendo DS compilation Konami Classics Series: Arcade Hits. It was also released as an individual purchase for Microsoft's downloadable Game Room hub on the Xbox 360 and PC.
Along with normal henchmen (wearing purple pants), there are special henchmen (wearing green pants) that throw special power-ups (in an upwards arc) when they are defeated (as long as Lee does not currently possess a special ability). Depending on the color of the power-up, Lee temporarily gains a special ability:
- Purple Power-Up - Gives him a spiked ball, which can be kicked through opponents and can be maneuvered left and right using the joystick. However, Lee cannot kick while the ball is being maneuvered, leaving him open to attacks. He can "catch" the spiked ball for another kick and can perform a jumping "slam" instead of a jump kick while holding onto the ball.
- Yellow Power-Up - Instead of kicking, Lee fires two fireballs (one to the left and one to the right). While useful in ranged combat, Lee cannot perform quick close-range attacks (and is an easier target for enemies above and below).
- Green Power-Up - A glowing ball surrounds Lee, acting as a barrier. Lee, however, is not completely invincible, and can still get hit by enemies if the player is reckless.
At the start of the round, the first Power-Up dropped by the special henchmen is Purple. Then, the Power-Up dropped cycles between Yellow, Green, and Purple. Once the time of the ability expires (except when Lee kicks a spiked ball off the screen), Lee throws the same power-up away from him (in the opposite direction that he is facing). If he's lucky and manages to catch the Power-Up (as it's traveling in a farther arc), he regains the special ability.