Kung Fu Chaos
I finally came across Kung Fu Chaos by Just Add Monsters (these days known as Ninja Theory). It was the first title on my Xbox want list back in 2003, actually, so it’s about high time, too. Regardless of my high expectations, they were easily surpassed. The game is delicious.
You may not know KFC, since it came and went with little fanfare, despite generally positive reviews. It’s a humorous beat ’em up where you face from one to a gang of opponents at a time, usually in scrolling environments. The game is set in the set of a cheap 70s kung fu flick. There is no plot; you act out fighting scenes, with the director yelling all the time. There is a bunch of minigames, too.
It’s amazing how much top-notch presentation can add to the whole. From the moment the game boots up, you’re feeling like you’re watching a kung fu show. The interface is grainy and scratchy like cheap film, and you really can’t help but smile when Kung Fu Fighting begins pouring out of the speakers.
Based on two sessions with the game, KFC is pure feel-good. Even when you’re losing, it’s funny, and there’s an abundance of neat stuff, like the minigame where you have to throw a difficult princess at the other contestants to make them fall of the poles you’re all standing on. So far the stages haven’t repeated themselves at all. The basic gameplay is more varied than the old-school scrolling beat ’em ups this game is based on.
I don’t even like the character design, but the game still holds a huge appeal. Catching falling stuntmen is great fun, there’s no way around it!
Battlefield has always sounded like a lot of fun, and with the 360 and Live, I’m finally able to take a bite. I’ve now played around five hours of it on Live and a couple of hours of the singe player campaign.
It’s a great game with a couple of really nagging things, more on which below. It’s a shame there are only two online game modes – Conquest and Capture The Flag – but BF really seems to be built on Conquest, anyway.
The game looks good – I’ve been impressed by most of the maps. The physics don’t feel right, which is a shame. Seeing a helicopter blown out of the sky is neat, but when the pieces tumble on the battlefield, making little sound and ricocheting all over the place with no weight to them really takes the edge off the experience. “Oh right, we’re playing a game here.” I also can’t understand why tanks can’t overrun small trees and fences. Surely it can’t be that hard to implement?
For a Live-game, it’ crucial that there are players on the servers. I haven’t played in a game with fewer than 17 participants, with most up in the 20-24 category. There have been zero issues with lag. The game has been downscaled from the PC version, but the scale feels just right, at least with mostly full servers.
I like the way the armies speak their pre-recorded reports in their own languages. It’s no roleplaying, but it does add to the overall feel a lot to hear Chinese in your headphones. On the whole, though, the audio becomes tiring due to the constant bass-overloaded explosions and shots. The music fits the bill rather well and gives some structure to the cacophony.
There is one thing I’m really irritated about. Electronic Arts has completely neglected us poor people with old-school, standard-definition TVs. BF2 uses tiny type and interface elements. which are nigh-invisible on my 32″ SDTV. Thankfully there’s an option to switch the interface colors to colorblind-friendly choices, which makes the essential data a little better visible.
Related to this is the fact that you can’t adjust the game’s brightness, contrast or gamma. This is a shame because I need to crank my TV’s options quite a bit to make the game playable – it’s very dark.
Also, I can’t use my whole 4:3 ratio TV screen. The game forces itself to a wide-screen format, which does bug me.
Along with Kung Fu Chaos, I also bought another secondhand game – Call Of Cthulhu: Dark Corners Of The Earth. I’m a fan of Lovecraft and especially the pen and paper roleplaying game on which this videogame is based – at least I think so, based on the game’s logo.