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Kung Fu Chaos

At first glance I suspected this to be just a clone of Super Smash Bros. All the screen shots that I saw and the one video I had seen all signs pointed at a 4 player fighter, but some investigation when a friend suggested the title told me that the game had a good single player mode. Excited, I sought out the title, and as luck would have it I was able to get a hold of the game. I soon went home and began an epic journey, discovering the roots of Kung Fu…

The game takes a little bit of it’s inspiration from Chase: Hollywood Stunt Driver and Stuntman. The game has you choose a character ranging from Old Man to Squirrels to Ninjas and lead them through different movie fight scenes. They’ve even got a female variation on Shaft. In the Ninja department, the game deserves at least a 6 simply because of the massive Ninja factor. They’re everywhere. Ninja fans should buy an Xbox just for this game if they’re really devoted to Ninjas.

…Anyhow, you select your character, and then a big budget director give objectives in order to complete the scene at hand. Most of the objectives involve destroying a certain number of Ninja enemies, but there are some variations from the standard formula, such as the occasional training level. One of my favorites had me catching stuntmen that were falling out of windows on a big trampoline type thing. It’s hard to explain it, but it was a lot of fun.

The levels play out through gaining stars to progress. Three stars are needed per level to unlock the next, and fortunately it’s not too difficult to get the stars needed to unlock the next scene. I’m not a pro on my Kung Fu movies though I’ve seen just about every Jet Li movie that he’s done, but a lot of the scenes seem to be remakes of movie fight scenes, just in a round-about way to keep Microsoft from having to pay licensing fees.

The fighting is pretty good. There are a few basic combos that you must perform, but most are little more than a 2-4 button pushes. As one who isn’t very good at button combos and such things, I was actually capable of performing most of the combinations, which was helpful. Fortunately there is a practice mode for those who can’t quite get the moves down.

One thing I must say is that the menus have a very cool style to them, and that the games introduction scene kicks ass, complete with Carl Douglas’s Kung Fu Fighting song. The menus and the films all have a crappy video style to them. They’re fuzzy and grainy like all the best martial arts movies.

The thing really kills this game though is that while it does have a fairly fun single player mode, it grows old. Most of the scenes do have some variations that keep them from getting boring, but I seriously did not want to beat on Ninja’s over and over again for over 25 levels. It grows old folks. The games emphasis is on the multiplayer, and believe it or not I don’t actually like to play most multiplayer games, and KFC’s multiplayer didn’t interest me in the least bit. The multiplayer modes include such options as four-player battles similar to those in Super Smash Bros. In all actuality, the multiplayer is just SSB, just with different characters and levels. There are lots of unlockable bits such as a few other modes and some characters, but they do little to help the game out.

The graphics are pretty good in Kung Fu Chaos. There are some camera issues in some levels, but most aren’t too hard to deal with. The characters all look really good, and so do the enemies. Most of the games levels have some sort of environmental interaction in them, and all the animations are smooth. There’s really nothing like throwing tables at people to make you feel good inside. The environments could have been a bit more detailed though in retrospect.

The music is a bit bland. Outside of Kung Fu Fighting, there’s very little exciting music. The director’s voice-over is pretty good and he’s got some funny lines…the first 20 times you hear them. The characters don’t say too much, and the rest of the sound effects are fighting noises.

Overall, KFC would have been better if it wasn’t what it is, a multiplayer fighting game. Perhaps I’m biased because I don’t like multiplayer fighters, but the single player isn’t enough to keep someone who isn’t interested in multiplayer occupied. If you’re into Super Smash Brothers, than pick this one up, because that’s basically what it is, just in a greener case and for Xbox.

7 out of 10

The author of this fine article

is an Associate Editor at Thunderbolt, having joined in February 2003.

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