STAFF REVIEW of Kung Fu Strike (Xbox 360 Arcade)

Monday, October 1, 2012.
by Brent Roberts

Kung Fu Strike Box art Remember classic Kung Fu movies from back in the day? They usually had a plot line that was less in depth than a story on the back of a cereal box and you could find better acting from homeless people begging for money, but one thing that these movies did very well was provide intense action fight scenes that quickly became the highlight of any film. With other fighting games found on the Xbox Live Arcade, Kung Fu Strike tries to cement itself as a serious contender for the fighting crown. So can this $10 arcade fighter go the rounds and fight off other competition such as Street Fighter, Mortal Kombat, Soul Calibur, and more? Well let?s find out. Round 1..... Fight!

The first round begins and already Kung Fu Strike is starting out behind the eight ball. By providing limited to no story, Kung Fu Strike gets caught with a roundhouse to the gut as it fails to keep the gamers caught up in the reason for all this fighting. There are no stories about having to defend your temple and honor against an onslaught of Kung Fu competition, no stories about rouge fighters and their love interests that turn into revenge. Instead you get a story that is so poorly developed that removing it completely would actually benefit the game entirely. There are storyboard style scenes that precede every level, but there is nothing that makes you shout at the TV about defending your honor or even care that you're playing this game to begin with. How nonexistent is the story? Well here's a better example of a good story line:

"Fighter's house burned to the ground, family died, he's the sole survivor on a quest for revenge, fighter finds very tall building and has to fight through various rounds to reach the top, fighter reaches top, big brawl ensues, fighter wins and avenges family, the end."

That story right there would be a better fit to this game instead of the limp wristed experience you do get to play. To put it plainly, Kung Fu Strike's story is about as exciting as watching paint dry. So as we end round 1 of this fight, Kung Fu Strike is already shaping up to be like its old school movie counterparts in the plot category.

Round 2 begins and this time Kung Fu Strike comes out with fists of fury by implementing a very simplistic fighting style gameplay. At your disposal you have only a few buttons: X - attack button (this is the button you will mash over and over again for hours), A - jump attack (if you find yourself pinned against a wall or corner, this could be the only thing to save your life), B - Deflect (think of this as a parry and stun defensive move where if timed right you can increase your health). With such a rudimentary system for fighting, your thumbs will be beating the absolute s*** out of the X, A, and B buttons so put your controller on notice; if you have buttons that have suffered years of abuse and heavy gaming, then putting it through its paces with Kung Fu Strike just may be the knockout punch that kills your controller. As round 2 ends, Kung Fu Strike's very straight forward fighting system shows that this game won't go down without a fight. Now let's take a breath and head into the start of round 3..... Fight!

As the bell sounds for round 3, we notice that Kung Fu Strike tries hard to incorporate iconic image scenarios from past movies. You have your temple fights in the courtyards, monasteries, and more. Unfortunately these tend to lack in any sort of substance and with other fighting games hitting with harder punches in the graphics and sound category, Kung Fu Strike tries hard but ultimately in the end falls flat on its face with a lack luster performance. This also exposes just how similar to an old Kung Fu movie this game really is. All the sound effects sound almost identical, just like the old movies. All the poor dub work doesn't really play into account, since there really isn't much if any spoken words. And while movies can take you to exotic landscapes and fighting arenas, Kung Fu Strike takes to you constant enclosed areas of mediocre graphics.

As the final bell sounds for the end of round 3, Kung Fu Strike is in a lot of trouble. Not only has the story actually hurt the game, but right before the bell sounded to end round 3, Kung Fu Strike got hit below the belt with the lack of online multiplayer. Do you have friends that like classic Kung Fu movies? If you do, make sure that they come over to your house, otherwise you will forever tread down the path of the lone warrior. Now the results are in, and after this intense battle does Kung Fu Strike stand strong? Not a chance. You can find more interesting stories on cigarette packages and better graphics in first grade art class. The controls are simplistic, however that means your controller will be abused harder than Tina Turner. It looks like Kung Fu Strike needs a few more years of training if it wants to compete for the fighting crown because as of now, the competition just beat Kung Fu Strike senseless.

Overall: 6.5 / 10
Gameplay: 7.0 / 10
Visuals: 6.0 / 10
Sound: 6.0 / 10


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