With most normal Kung Fu related games, I’d made the standard Matrix joke with the whole “Whoa, I know Kung Fu” line, but I was sorely mistaken when it came to playingKung Fu Strike: The Warrior’s Rise. This fun, yet incredibly challenging, game from Qooc Soft games details the good General Loh and his quest to take revenge for his father’s murder. He follows the trail through the war torn countrysides of China, all the while fighting against the rebel uprising that seems so dead set on just making him dead.
The game’s action-packed focus is beautifully handled in its arena stylings. Most levels consist of Loh entering an area and confronting the onlookers, who jump in from the distance and rush to the fray. As Loh moves around though, the camera generally stays locked in one spot looking onto the fight, though it can move in some cases and follow the general around as he takes on boss characters for the level. Fighting and taking on the enemies though is heavily reminiscent of classic 2D beat-em up games, just reset into a new 3D world. Players will use a combination of kung fu moves, jumping attacks, and special Chi attacks that send enemies flying across the screen. Loh can also use his excellent skills to deflect, block, and roll away from attacks to keep the fight constantly moving around. At times you’ll need to keep and eye on your enemies though and break through their defense before they deflect your attack and bring some pain back on you.
That’s not to say there aren’t some glaring issues during the fights. The primary thing that kept me at a constant disadvantage was the deflect/block ability, which seemed to work half of the time. The Zen Room of Emptiness, as it’s called in the game, was perhaps the most frustrating piece of this disadvantage – one of the only way to defeat the men using bo staffs is to deflect the attack and then follow up with a string of your own. However, when the 3 other staffs are slapping you in the face and you’re mid-combo on the other guy, I found it nearly impossible to actually switch from attacking to deflecting.
Defeating enemies rewards players in a variety of ways aside from the whole “one less guy trying to beat me into submission” thing. Beaten enemies will sometimes throw out items as they fall, which include health recovery items and money. Bosses will sometimes drop scrolls containing new moves and abilities for our hero. The accumulated money can then be spent on those scrolls, revive items, and others throughout the game. It sometimes takes a chunk of change though before you’re able to buy anything, but at last you can play levels multiple times for new ranks and some extra cash.
One thing I must say are the graphics, in their cel-shaded glory, actually make the game quite enjoyable. There is a lot of color and action on-screen at all times, and the cel-shading in the game makes everything pop a bit more vividly. Granted, it also made the asskickings I received more vivid as well, everything just looks awesome. The sound is pretty generic though and I didn’t really find myself pulled in by it.
Aside from all of that great stuff, the game can be ridiculously hard. I’m talking classic NES-era hard. The game automatically puts itself on hard from the get go, but even on easy I died numerous times. Expect to get your ass kicked. Repeatedly. It did get frustrating a few times with how soundly I got beat, but it did make me want to win all the more, so maybe its a ploy to get us further into the game. Who knows. You have all been duly warned though.Note: Kung Fu Strike: The Warrior's Rise was reviewed on Xbox 360. A digital copy of the game was provided by the publisher/developer.