Platform: Xbox ESRB Rating: T for Teen (Blood, Mature Humor, Language, Violence) Players: 1-4
Movie director Shao Ting decides to make a comeback with Kung Fu movies. He then hires a bunch of actors whom you get to play as. Will the movie be a success or a failure? That?s determined by how well you play. Kung Fu Chaos is a party game exclusively on Xbox, similar in scope to Power Stone or even Super Smash Brothers. Being one of the few party games on the Xbox, (and a great price too) I picked it up. When I first played it, I wasn?t too impressed. I played it once, and put it back on the shelf. Not surprisingly, it was when I tried playing with a few friends that I really started having fun with it. Afterward, I started having more fun in single-player as well, unlocking various levels and things. The game is full of humor and pokes fun at old kung fu movies. I got a few laughs out of it, but I didn?t think it was really that funny overall.
The main gameplay goes like this: you have four characters beating the heck out of each other while they move through the interactive environments. Fighting is simple. There?s a fast weak attack, a slow strong attack, and a throw. You can pull off various attack combos easily. There?s a blocking button, as well as a taunt button. The interesting thing about taunting is that you get a little spark of light above your character?s head every time you successfully pull off a taunt. Once you get three of them, you can use your character?s special attack. Each character has his/her own special attack that works differently. The environments are pretty well interactive. There are lots of items to throw, ranging from chairs to people. There are also switches to set traps for opponents among other things. Most stages are constantly moving as well. If you get left behind, you?ll most likely fall off the stage or die in some other way. There are also some fun minigames to play. In one game, you must stand outside an open window holding a trampoline, trying to catch as many stuntmen as you can ? but watch out for the cows! In another, you have to throw an ugly princess at your opponents to knock them off of pillars without falling yourself. There are others that are worth mentioning as well, but I?ll leave those for you to find. This is largely a multiplayer game, however the single-player part of the game is fairly entertaining as well. At first it may be boring, but it?s worth giving a second chance. Completing the single-player modes is necessary to unlock more levels, characters, costumes, etc. for use in multiplayer. The main single-player mode can probably be completed in a few hours, but to unlock everything in the game, you will need to spend a good deal of time with all the other modes. I usually don?t have the incentive to spend a whole lot of time playing this game by myself though, so I\'m not sure if it\'s really worth unlocking everything.
The characters are ugly and deformed, but I think they?re supposed to be that way. Everything still looks pretty good though. The visuals aren?t mind-blowing, but they don?t need to be, because they capture a certain style that fits the game well. One thing I like is that you can see strings attached to the characters when they?re making a giant leap. In the Titanic-based level, there are cardboard cutouts instead of real passengers on the ship. It?s the subtle things like these that really add to the character of the game, and make it fun to look at.
Music-wise, we have some classic songs like ?Kung Fu Fighting? by Carl Douglas, and the theme from \'Enter the Dragon.\' The best part is the custom soundtrack option. Any Xbox game that supports this feature gains a few extra points in my book. There are lots of cheesy sound effects, and the voice acting is terrible. They do this to be funny, but it?s usually just annoying. Sometimes I?d like Shao Ting to just stop shouting. Not all of it is bad though. I have gotten a few laughs out of it.
I haven?t encountered any glitches, framerate drops, or anything else worth noting. Everything has gone smooth so far.
As mentioned in the gameplay section, the controls are pretty simple, and can be picked up easily by most people. There are a few attack buttons that can be used in different combinations, a block button, a jump button, and a throw button. Combos are easy to pull off, and rely on good timing more than anything else. Button-mashing is more than possible, but I don?t think it?s as effective or fun as actually knowing what you?re doing. There isn?t much to memorize ? no unique movelists or anything like that. Instead, the same button combinations work with each character. Overall, the controls are comfortable, and fit the gameplay well. The game menus are fairly simple and easy to navigate through. There?s nothing really eye-catching about them, but they?re not bad either. They serve their purpose at least.
Everything in this game is comedic, and isn?t meant to be taken seriously. With that in mind, there are still a few things worth noting. Though it?s only supposed to be a movie enactment, you can ?kill? people. When someone is killed by a special attack, they sort of ?explode? and we see a puff of red pixels for blood. It?s also possible to be killed by spikes and other means. It?s really not as graphic as it sounds. ?Legend of the Drunken B******s? is the title of one stage, and it?s not edited. This also happens to take place in a bar, implying that alcohol is used. There is a bit of innuendo, such as the director trying to look down someone?s dress. Some of the female characters could use some more clothing. There?s some underwear and cleavage to be seen. I really don?t understand this. The characters aren?t very attractive. There is a level with zombies, though they are supposedly just people in costumes. There are some possible racial stereotypes that may be offensive as well.
Kung Fu Chaos is a fun multiplayer game. The single-player experience can be dull, but I?ve found that to be the case for most party games out there, since they are intended for more than one person. It has some annoyances, but it?s overall a very fun game to play on occasion, or with a few friends. It?s one of the few party games out there for Xbox, and it?s a pretty good one. Since it can be found for under $10, it won?t hurt to pick it up and give it a try.