Posted on September 19, 2012 AT 06:00am
I like a good beat ‘em up game like anyone else, whether it’s a classic side-scroller like Streets of Rage or it’s more third-person-styled such as God of War or MadWorld. When a game comes along that not only makes a chore out of the genre, but mocks the intelligence of the fan base, it can truly leave a vulgar taste in my mouth. Such is the case of Qooc Soft’s first foray into video games: Kung Fu Strike: The Warrior Rises.
Taking place in ancient China, warrior General Loh is set up into a trap of betrayal by his own brother. Exiled from his kingdom Loh must search for Master Mo and set up an attack against the rebel forces, who have transformed his kingdom into a place of greed and violence. From his training and his battles Loh discovers all he needs to take down his brother, avenge his father, and bring peace once again to the empire.
Kung Fu Strike is set up throughout twenty-eight levels, with each level being as painfully similar as the last one. You control Loh as you battle against warriors, ninjas, and other big entities in a very small square area, throwing punches, kicks, and various combo attacks. At times you are told to throw a specific attack that breaks an enemy’s block technique. Your special attack has you going Bruce Lee on your foe, punching and kicking multiple times in the blink of an eye.
As the game progresses you earn cash that can be used to buy upgrades such as extra health, special techniques, and clothing that can help deflect bigger attacks. Sadly you are only given the choice to use three of these items at a time, so you need to be wise when it comes to which one you can choose. You can also earn some extra help in the form of two other warriors, monks, or other people that can battle it out with you on the arena floor, so long as you have the right amount of cash to spend for them during the level.
Kung Fu Strike‘s second issue becomes apparent either the second or third level in: it’s extremely repetitive. Each level has you simply beat up a number of different enemies in the same fashion. Granted there are some opponents who have something like throwing stars or exploding needles that you can deflect back at them, but for the most part the game get duller the deeper you dive into it. It also doesn’t help when the number of warriors that attack you at once rises to ridiculous levels.
This leads me to the third problem in the game: its difficulty spikes to unforgivable levels in the blink of an eye. During the second half of Kung Fu Strike I noticed that the opposing warriors start attacking you in larger numbers, which made it hard to get even a small attack on them. The difficulty was also evident in the later boss battles, where I found myself taking almost half an hour to beat them, compared to a mere couple minutes in the first boss battles. The final boss against the Queen is the most unforgiving, as she has the ability to regain health and her attacks are impossible to deflect, even if you are in the middle of attempting a super combo attack. It’s one thing to up the difficulty gradually as a game progresses, but when it gets harder at the drop of a safe from fifty stories up it’s just asking for trouble.
I do have to give it to Kung Fu Strike for its overall look, though. In some occasions it made me feel like I was watching a comic being brought to life. While other titles like Asura’s Wrath and the recent Dragonball Z games do up the ante in the anime/manga appearance, for a new independent company to be able to copy that sort of style and make it look good is no small feat.
Kung Fu Strike will take you roughly three hours to defeat, and that’s without taking much-needed breaks for your hands to heal from all that button-mashing. There is a co-op mode that lets you and a friend take on a few different levels together, but a part of me wouldn’t want to subject anyone to this sort of gameplay.
- Nice manga-like graphics
- Early boss battles have nice challenge aspect
- Fight style reminiscent of old-school kung fu movies
- Levels all feel the same
- Gameplay acts more like a chore than fun
- Difficulty skyrockets halfway through
This is Qooc Soft’s first game, and deep down I know they tried to make it as accessible as they could. Unfortunately Kung Fu Strike does more harm than good for the brawler genre, leaving gamers with mashed fingers and a sense of wasted time. If you need a title that has a good anime feel mixed with some badass fight sequences, then you’re better off playing something like Asura’s Wrath, a tale of vengeance that has the same amount of gameplay as Kung Fu Strike, only it’s cooler, more original, and will actually keep you on the edge of your seat.
FINAL GRADE: 3.8 (out of ten)
Review copy provided by 7sixty Games for the Xbox Live Arcade
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