Behold My Drunken Monkey Claw Review Fist!
I am a master of old-school kung-fu. My eyes have oft witnessed the glory of Enter the Dragon and Seven Samurai. My entertainment center overfloweth with gems such as Super Ninjas and The Last Dragon. My fingers have conquered Yie-Ar Kung-Fu and Karate Champ. Who dares stand before me? Who dares to challenge my unbeatable Drunken Monkey Claw Review Fist style?!
Ah so, it is Microsoft with Kung-Fu Chaos! Crazy characters? Familiar tunes? Fighting combos galore? Multiplayer madness? Yes, I will accept the challenge!
Director Shao Ting has gathered a cast of crazy kung-fu karacters to star in this new party brawler. To complete it, you'll fight through various scenarios, defeat evil ninjas and stay alive long enough to make the film a colossal hit. Sounds simple, yet oh so complex. Like a finger pointing away to the moon...
The first thing you'll notice about Kung Fu Chaos is its awesome soundtrack. Carl Douglas' classic Kung Fu Fighting opens the game and is followed up by familiar tunes including the original theme from Enter the Dragon. Even the Bruce Lee debacle didn't have that!
Kung Fu Chaos consists of several modes to satisfy your every chopsockey need. First up is Ninja Battle, where the majority of the single-player game takes place. Each level consists of certain objectives to complete. Most of them involve killing as many enemies as you can before time runs out, but others may have a bit of a twist, like saving the stuntmen and avoiding the cows that are thrown out of a window or throwing life preservers to the ninjas overboard and avoiding the seals. Performance is graded on a system of five stars, with most scenes requiring a minimum of three stars to pass. More kills means more stars, easy as that.
Then there's Battle Game, which is where most of the multiplayer mashing takes place. But what makes this mode interesting is the ability to record a "movie" of the performance. Not just your average replay, this recording comes complete with all kinds of movie effects like close-ups, new camera angles, cut-aways and slo-mos. Now you too can create your very own B-movie!
Championship mode covers a slew of events and awards points based on how you place. Interestingly enough, there are five ways to play (after you've unlocked all of them, of course). Playing by Lives or Kills is easy enough- just have the most at the end of the round to win. Playing by Style will make things more interesting, as the winner will be determined by the greatest variety of moves. The winner of the Mojo option will be the one who can hold the "mojo" for the longest amount of time, and finally, Wooden Man will be decided by the one who can destroy the most wooden men in a limited amount of time.
The last main mode is Mini-series, a set of three unlockable scenes unique to each character. There's also a Freestyle mode for practice and a Rehearsal mode that serves as a training ground for players to learn the game. That's more martial arts than a Kung-fu Theater marathon!
The level design range all across the board. One of the cooler levels has you running from a rampaging T-Rex and fighting on a raft, while another has you leaping (complete with wires!) from crumbling building to building. Then there are the lamer levels, like "princess hot potato" and "hit the fish with a turtle." I guess like with old kung-fu flicks, you gotta take the good with the bad.
Like snatching the pebble from my hand, Kung Fu Chaos' fight system is extremely simple, yet more complicated than it looks. Go through the training and you'll learn that each character is loaded to the fist with an endless string of combination maneuvers. They've also got a unique special move that can be executed after performing three successful taunts. This invincible attack will crush enemies to a bloody pulp, leaving nothing behind but a fond memory. Looks like the developers fell asleep watching Ricky-Oh! again.
Even with all of the combo possibilities, games can easily devolve into button-mashing madness. Often, it's a race to acquire that special move, with all characters going after that killer final attack. The limited gameplay depth can be stifling. With Kung Fu Chaos, what you see is what you get.
But what you get is quite a lot. Kung Fu Chaos is loaded to the brim with a ton of unlockables that will keep you going 'til the ninjas come home. Modes, levels, costumes, characters and options; it's all there. Mini-series mode will even yield cast bios that give you the lowdown on each of the game's stars. You'll also be able to check out each character's very own "kata."
And speaking of characters, Kung Fu Chaos certainly has assembled an interesting lot. There's the Lone Wolf and Cub duo, Chop & Styx, Cleopatra Jones' long lost sista, Lucy Cannon, Monkey (the Monkey God) and a variety of others. All that's missing from this classic lot is a Drunken Master and Shaolin Slammer.
One of the characters, however, almost makes me want to No Shadow Kick this game out the window. The "director" Shao Ting is the most annoying and utterly stupid character I've seen in ages. He's loud, obnoxious and has the worst voice ever. Luckily, the developers came to their wits in time and tossed in an option to mute the guy and even take his "direction" out altogether. And if you're good enough, you might even be able to actually kill the idiot. Ah, sweet vengeance.
The delivery of Kung-Fu Chaos is solid all the way. The graphics are smooth and colorful with a good steady framerate, and despite the annoying director, the sound gets you into an old-school mood the whole way through.
After the credits have rolled and the last evil claw-wielding bad guy has been defeated, Kung Fu Chaos proves itself to be a worthy opponent. Its style and abundance of butt-kicking goodness provide enough fun for the whole ninja clan, though it's a little light on depth for the more hardcore fighters. I guess this answers the age old questions - Who is the meanest? Who is the prettiest? Who is the baddest mofo-lowdown around this town?