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Product: Kung Fu Chaos
Company: Microsoft Game Studios
Website: http://www.xbox.com
Estimated Street Price: $49.99/£39.99
Review By: Byron Hinson

The Features

Microsoft hasnít had a lot of luck with some of their more recently released first party titles over the last few months, what with the dire Sneakers and the amazingly bad Kakuto Chojin. Now we have the next first party release from Microsoft, Kung Fu Chaos. So have things gone bad yet again for Microsoft Game Studios? Letís hope not.

Kung Fu Chaos is a funny and broadly appealing brawler game, inspired by the '70s Kung Fu movie era. You fight as one of nine characters (three of which are unlockable), whose looks, moves, and taunts are derived from the movie icons they represent. Your quest for movie stardom places you on the dynamic set, and when the cameras start to role, you fight with over-the-top, Hong-Kong-style combat, including leaps, flying limbs, and multiple-opponent-style action.

  • Fight in Kung Fu style, complete with smack talk: Pummel friends with slick combat moves, and add insult to injury with viciously hilarious taunts.
  • Choose from an array of wild and crazy characters: Characters are a witty reprise of classic 70's movers and shakers and traditional martial arts film icons. Nine characters are available to choose from (three are unlockable), each designed to look, fight, and hurl abuse in his or her own kick-butt manner.
  • Battle it out in film set environments: Work your way through 21 diverse levels. The moving film sets provide dynamic and interactive environments for fighting.
  • Enjoy fun and easy gameplay: Kung Fu Chaos provides a rewarding and humorous fighting experience for everyone from first-time players to non-fighting gamers to experienced video game fanatics. Characters possess a discoverable and diverse set of fight moves that can be mastered for added fun and competition.
  • Listen to funky tunes: Featuring hallmark songs such as "Kung Fu Fighting," "Enter The Dragon," and others.

Six Gameplay Modes:

  • Ninja Challenge: Choose an actor, and fight your way through a clan of mysterious evil ninjas on a series of spectacular movie sets. You must play Ninja Challenge to unlock levels and characters for the other modes of play.
  • Battle Game: Choose a character, and fight against your co-stars on the sets and in the scenes of your choosing. You can either choose to fight against the A.I. or against up to three other players on a single Xbox.
  • Championship: Choose a character, and fight against your friends or the computer through all three scenes of a single level. You can either choose to fight against the A.I. or against up to three other players on a single Xbox.
  • Mini-Series: Choose a character, and get ready for a wild ride! Each character's journey is different, and you never know which scene or options you'll wind up with. You have to win in each scene to advance to the next.
  • Freestyle: Fight in an open arena against the A.I. or with up to three players on a single Xbox. This is the perfect place to perfect your Kung Fu technique.
  • Rehearsal: Learn the basic battle moves to improve your Kung Fu technique.

Gameplay

Review Quotes
"Kung Fu Chaos is yet again not going to be used as a stand out title, and for a first party game this is another disappointment when Microsoft should be trying to both show off the power of the console and creating great first party games like Nintendo do"

Kung Fu Chaos is a multiplayer game at heart, whilst the single player game is ok, the game does supposedly need to be played with a group of friends to get the most out of it. The idea of the game is quite original; you take the role of one of nine different martial arts characters, once you have picked who you want to be you will be staring in a movie made by Hong Kongís finest action director Shao Ting. You get to use sets from all kinds of movies as you keep fighting and fighting to try and make the movie Shao Ting is shooting, the best it can be.

The game controls are not too difficult to remember or get to grips with either, they are very simple indeed. B grabs people, A jumps, X & Y are your fighting attacks while the right trigger is to block and the left is for the important taunting aspect of the game. Each of the characters has a couple of special combo moves too, but these are easy to figure out. This is a bad point, the game is supposed to be a fun party game, lots of different moves would add to the learning process, but with each character just having a few special moves there is nothing to learn and you just end up doing the same moves over and over again.

So onto this tauntingÖThis is the harder part of the game to master. Once you knock your enemies down you get the chance to taunt them, this stops your enemy from getting up quite so easily and also gives you one star, if you manage to collect three stars you get to press both trigger buttons together to perform what is called a super move, these are quite good to watch take out a number of enemies in one go. The downside of the taunting system is that once you figure out how to do it easier, the game will become far too easy for you to complete.

So how does the game decide who is a winner? Well unlike a lot of fighting games, the person who dies the most wonít necessarily end up being the loser. The winner is based on who killed the most enemies during a level or who is the last one alive, but it is very rare that you will win the game that way, as there are so many extra lives available in the game.

The levels are full of falling obstacles, things to jump over, all of this while you try and fight and survive at the same time. All this looks good, but it is a pain when playing as the camera can move around so much that you really do find it hard to see where your character is. The strange thing here is that as it is aimed as a party game, the more people who play the harder is gets to see what is going on and there is also little replay value on the game as all of the environment effects are the same over and over again so you know exactly what is going to happen and where. The good part of Kung Fu Chaos is that there are a lot of options for the multiplayer side of the game, such as having bots, free for all, and playing through the championship mode together if you wanted to.

Graphics & Sound

Review Quotes
"Microsoft hasnít had a lot of luck with some of their more recently released first party titles over the last few months, what with the dire Sneakers and the amazingly bad Kakuto Chojin."

Kung Fu Chaos is yet again not going to be used as a stand out title, and for a first party game this is another disappointment when Microsoft should be trying to both show off the power of the console and creating great first party games like Nintendo do. The animations of the characters are not as good as they could be, but the designs of them are suitably wacky in the style based around those old Japanese fighting movies.

The backgrounds however are pretty good, some are full of animation and the collapsible sets are very good to look at when you watch the game instead of play it. The sound in the game is also not as good as it should be, we have the great ďKung Fu FightingĒ soundtrack, but you can only hear this for a short amount of time before it can start to grate. The voice over work is ok, and suits the game well but there isnít much of it to comment on.

Final Comments

How It Grades
Controls: 62%
Gameplay: 55%
Presentation: 60%
Graphics: 60%
Multiplayer: 55%
Sound: 70%
Manual: 70%
Interface: 65%
Price/Value: 58%
Overall: 60%

So what we have here is a party game that is actually better to play as a single player game, I had some high hopes for this title when it was first announced as it looked like it could be both fun and funny at the same time, but while some parts are fun, it isnít actually very funny at all! So this is defiantly a renter but donít buy it expecting the fun to last too long.

Specs & Package
Overall Score 60%
Version Reviewed Kung Fu Chaos (PAL)
Release Date Out Now
In The Box? 1 Kung Fu Chaos DVD-ROM
1 Set Of Instructions
The Good Points Some good backgrounds
Ok soundtrack
The Bad Points Too hard to see what is going on in 4-player mode
Not very much fun
Xbox Live! Enabled? No
Widescreen Support No
PAL 60 Support (Europe) Yes


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