STAFF REVIEW of Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus (Xbox)

Saturday, March 22, 2003.
by Tony Ingrassia

Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus Box art Woo-Hoo! An XBOX exclusive fighter we can all be happy to call our own. Without a doubt fighting games will be compared to the big three no matter what (Mortal Kombat-DOA-Soul Calibur) but the gang at Microsoft Game Studios delivers a solid fighter with plenty of action, options, and punch. Easy to pick up and play, but learning those ever important combo's is the key to victory. Add in real time damage, interactive environments, interesting charecters, an cool use of "Chi", and Tao Feng doesn't disapoint.

Like most fighting games it's all about the combo's. The engine is solid, but not to different from other fighters. There are 6 game modes available, one of which is a training mode to sharpen your skills. The others include, Versus, Quest, Survival, Team Battle, and Tournament. Theirs a nice mix of locations, with interactive objects you can swing around or off of to punish your opponent. 12 interesting and diverse charecters are at your disposal, with alternate costumes and alternate stances (each charecter has 2 stances, simply put 2 styles of fighting), they even have a few taunts to really get under the opponents skin. Now the cool stuff, "Chi". Chi is a !&%$@#* ulated as you fight, the more devastating the blows the more Chi you receive. Once your Chi meter is filled you can unleash 1 of 3 special attacks. I'm not talking a cool move, I'm talking walls of fire and stuff. Ther is a nice little twist to your Chi, it can also be used, when full, to replenish your health and heal damaged limbs. Limb Damage, my favorite...If you attack an opponents, arms, legs, sholders, etc...repeatedly or hurl them into flaming barrels, glass panes and such, they will sustain gradual damage until they are unable to use the damaged limb. As the limb suffers damage, it will not be as effective when attacking, ie...if a leg is starting to get damaged, you will move slower. Be advised, Chi works just as well for your oponent. Real time bruising and bleeding on the charecters is perfectlly done without the cartoonish, IMO, blood from MK. The fights are round based which can be set in the options screen. As for the basic fighting part of the game, it's impresive. There are enough basic moves and combo's to get you started, the blocking techniques are achieved via the D-Pad, which takes a little getting used to, but once your comfortable with it works great. All the charecters attacks are based on 4 parameters, height, range, speed, and strength, so study your opponents carefully. All in all, the usuall fighting ingredients are here, bone crushing attacks, blood, bruises, and of course multi-player. The developers added just the right amount of "New" stuff to be loyal to the genre, yet make Tao Feng a unique game on it's own. Personally, Tao Feng moves past MK on the fighting lader.

WOW! The variety of locations from dank alleys to bright museum halls shows off the visual prowess of Tao Feng. The charecter models are perfectly balanced and fluid, bruised faces and hobling oponents never looked so good. Environmental effects such as fire and explosions hold there own with the XBOX's power pushing it to a smooth, fast, and beautiful experience. Copmplex moves by charecters render no clipping or "irregular" look to them. Kudos to the crew at Microsoft Game Studios and Gigante.

Well, as we have come a customed to, in game Dolby Digital does not dissapoint. What little voice acting there is is perfectly used and performed. Taunts get a little repetative, but acceptable. Echo's, flames crackling and impact sounds are perfect througout. The base soundtrack is also well blended into the game without being annoying.

Only 2 words..............XBOX LIVE!

Overall: 9.0 / 10
Gameplay: 9.0 / 10
Visuals: 9.0 / 10
Sound: 8.0 / 10


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