Kung Fu Chaos
by Microsoft Game Studios
A sense of humour is all too rare in games software. The classic LucasArts adventure games managed to squeeze it in but since then, it has been in short supply. Kung Fu Chaos attempts to change all that though as it succeeds in recreating a tongue-in-cheek game that is based on the Kung Fu films of the seventies. Essentially the game is a beat 'em up but it has been created in such a way that gamers who don't usually like games of this nature might want to take a look.
The game has six modes but the Ninja Challenge is the main attraction. Director Shao Ting is attempting to launch his comeback with Kung Fu Chaos, a film that will be choc full of crazy Kung Fu action. The film is broken up into 20+ sequences and these sequences are interspersed with tutorials. Of course a Kung Fu film couldn't be great without class martial artists and there are eight wacky characters for you to choose from. These characters include Master Sho-Yu, Xui Tan Sour and and Captain Won Ton. You can pick any of these characters to perform these sequences with (although initially Candi Roll, Captain Won Ton and a mystery character are locked). Your performance in the sequences is rated in stars (out of five). Three stars will be enough to unlock the next sequence. The sequences are not all crazy fight scenes though and you'll find yourself playing crazy games such as throwing a tied up princess at your enemies in attempt to knock them off a small, raised platform. Some of the scenes are time limited for that extra bit of drama.
The other game modes on offer include Battle Game which is a 1-4 player free for all mode. Championship sees you taking part in 12 rounds of Kung Fu fights against either the AI or human opponents. Mini Series lets you pick any character in order to complete their 3 specific challenges. Each character has their own challenges. Freestyle is an unlimited sparring mode and Rehearsal is a mode where you can learn the basics and advanced combo moves. Mini Series and Championship have to be unlocked by doing well in the Ninja Challenge mode.
As a beat 'em up Kung Fu Chaos actually stands up rather well to the competition. The range of blocks and combo moves on offer is satisfactory. In a novel twist to the gameplay, you have to ability to insult your opponents. Holding down the left trigger whilst you are attacking will heap insults onto your opponent. These insults serve two purposes. They help to keep your opponents down longer and they also add a power up to your special super attack. When you have 3 power ups you can perform your super attack. Each character has their own super attack and each of them are devastating. As you can see it pays to insult in Kung Fu Chaos.
Graphically the game looks great. There are lots of variation in the film sets that you battle on and it's obvious a great deal of work has gone into making sure that levels always look like film sets which really helps the ambience of the game. The characters all animate superbly and the super attacks look great. Even in intense battles the framerate never wavers and the game remains constantly smooth.
The downside of Kung Fu Chaos is that it isn't subtitled. Level briefings and move instructions are given in text but that is about all. The messages that come from Shao Ting are not subtitled and the replays (which are narrated by Shao Ting) are not subtitled. This takes away some of the atmoshpere and I'm probably correct in saying that a lot of the games humour is unavailable to deaf gamers because of the omission of subtitles. It is good to see the taunts visually depicted though. It's still an enjoyable game but it's not quite the same experience that a hearing gamer would be able to enjoy.
Game Rating: 7.0/10