Title: Kung Fu Chaos, NTSC
Publisher: MS Game Studios - Just add monsters
Released: Feb 2003
Players: 1 to 4
This is a nicely styled innovative one to four player beat um up. Using comical super deformed 70’s stereotypes of martial artists, the game places you as an actor staring in a film by Shao Ting, to pass a stage you need to get viewer stars ratings based on performance. This game covers many innovative “original” scenes from many blockbuster movies including Jurassic Park, Indiana Jones and Titanic but with ninjas.
This title oozes style, from the false grain and discoloration of the intro down to the comical broken english. Visible camera locations, the wires from the harness showing on long jumps, set mishaps all seamless integrate into a wonderful backdrop. Combine this with day dream tutorials and bizarrely interesting director quotes it makes for a nice polishing.
The charters themselves have interesting moves but they all seem to have identical effects, for this type of game that’s not a bad thing. The members of this game range from a samurai and ninjas to a overweight super hero and a shotgun wielding lady. Each one is cast to be the star of the movie, in the mayhem it all works. I would have liked it if they had more than 2 or 3 insults, since using them is essential to the gameplay.
The control is basic with a few combo moves, easy to just pick up and play but with the blocking breaking can become difficult. After knocking down a enemy you can build a super points by insulting them with the left trigger, with three you can unleash a super move to clear away multiple enemies by pressing the right and left trigger together. To make things more interesting you normally need to be moving across highly interactive scrolling movie locations while earning those stars.
While the core of the game is battle, this is broken up with odd but entertaining mini-game. A level has you throwing the ugly princess in a demented hot potato doge ball game. Another has you saving extras by bouncing them on a trampoline. While another has you throwing life preservers to drowning ninjas avoiding the playful seals. These strategically placed diversions are a welcome change in the gaming.
The level designs are well laid out in most levels. They are highly interactive with throwable objects as well as button traps and collapsing sections. It can be frustrating at some points trying to kill the ninjas while running to make the next platform. The downside of this is unless you kill or knock the enemy off the screen yourself, you will not see a ratings increase.
The computers AI can be annoying at times when level movement prevents you from finishing a enemy and getting a ratings boost. The computer opponents will become increasing more difficult as your ratings go up making the fifth star quite elusive on some levels.
The amount unlockables really give a incentive to return for those stars. It has unlockable characters, costumes, levels, modes in multiplayer, theater options. These are mostly tied to playing the “Ninja Challenge” <the normal one player mode> mode’s ratings.
This game does not just shine as a single player, the four player is outstanding. This includes team play or single player in the “battle game” <standard battle> or play a “Championship” game covering all the game levels <including minigames in fast forward>.
It has a 70’s ish soundtrack suits the game quite well. If that’s not your style any soundtrack you have stored on the hard drive can replace it.
One of the most bazaar extras are the “Final Cuts”, in battle game you can save the mayhem. And watch the directors cut of your scene with twisted director commentary. It throws in the dust and scratches and frame glitches with the special film effects. While this has been part of most racing titles, you don’t see it very often outside of racing titles.
This game in many aspects reclaims feel of classics like Final Fight and Double Dragon, doing it with a lighthearted approach. It comes out as a well balanced beat um up with a well thought out design, by adding in the 4 player makes this an outstanding title. Some may consider this type of game tedious, even with the mini game levels.