Developer: Just Add Monsters |
Publisher: Microsoft Game Studios
Players: 1 to 4 Player Game |
Release Date: 02/24/03 |
Genre: Fighting

I like the Xbox. While some claim it is an overpriced paperweight and DVD player, I have enjoyed quite a few of the games released for the system. And with Xbox Live, you have a service that neither Sony or Nintendo can touch. But there is one thing Microsoft has failed to do consistently–make good First Party titles. If you look at each of the big three in the console world–Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony, you will see something that Nintendo and Sony do that Microsoft fails to understand… make consistently good First Party titles. The latest title to be given the “why the heck did MS release thisâ€? is Kung Fu Chaos.

The premise of the game you are one of nine 70’s Kung Fu action heroes trying to win the leading role in the director Mr. Ting’s latest movie. At first, this sounds like a fun idea. The introduction begins with the Everyone was Kung Fu Fighting song. But the fun soon ends. As the game begins, and you see how terrible the gameplay is, you will quickly be looking for a different title to play.

This is yet another party game for the Xbox. If Fuzion Frenzy and Whacked! weren’t enough, we now have Kung Fu Chaos. While the gameplay is slightly better, you won’t be fooled for long. KFC is based on a few simple combos and taunts. X and Y are heavy and light attacks, A jumps, right trigger blocks, and B grabs. By hitting buttons together at the same time–for example X and Y–your character will perform a combo attack. After performing one of these combos or another attack that knocks the enemy to the ground, quickly perform a taunt by pressing the R trigger. This will give you a start. Once you get three stars, you can perform a Super Attack move that will kill just about anyone.

Sadly, the gameplay is very repetitive. You do all the same moves over and over again and move forward in Mr Ting’s latest scene. Fortunately, not all scenes are pure action. Several of them involve throwing an item or person at enemies, catching stuntmen, avoid being knocked off by a rotating pole, etc. However, once you have played the first 10 levels, you have seen everything there is to see.

This is where the four player mode is supposed to come in. However, if you already know how to mater taunting an opponent and your friends don’t, you will dominate them. Once everyone figures out how to fight correctly, the player who can get their hits in first will win the spotlight.

The camera, while mostly static, can be a big headache. There are several points in a level where the camera will not go to where you are. It just so happens that a group of enemies will appear or the set will start to fall apart and if you don’t get to where the camera is centered, you can kiss at least one life goodbye.

Graphically Kung Fu Chaos is a mixed bag. After playing for only a short amount of time, you will see that the title does not take advantage of the hardware. The PS2 could easily pull off any of the graphics in this title. The characters themselves are simplistic but colorful. Developer Just Add Monsters appears to be going for a very simplistic design without any visual bells or whistles. They succeeded in this. But I would have preferred to see more details in the environments and characters.

Overall, Kung Fu Chaos is just not a lot of fun. At E3 2002, the game looked enjoyable. I tried to like the game. I wanted to believe Microsoft could finally release a good party game. However, in the end, I am concerned with the titles they are choosing to develop. Perhaps this is just a learning curve the company will have to go through. They always say the third time is a charm. However, now that Microsoft has proven that even the third round of their Party games have failed, it is time to stop making them. Hopefully by concentrating more on Xbox Live titles and less on the crap games, the Xbox will be able to succeed. If not, I guess there is always a chance we will see Fuzion Frenzy 2, Whacked! 2, and Kung Fu Chaos 2… oh boy lets hope that doesn’t happen!

By Kaleb Rutherford – 03/24/03
ESRB Details: Blood, Mature Humor, Mild Language, Violence

Screenshots for Kung Fu Chaos