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Kung-Fu Live


Like the Panda, but completely useless.
Iím a self-proclaimed kung fu junkie and love the recent resurgence of the genre in cinema; District 13, Black Dynamite, heck even Kung Fu Panda. I jumped at the chance to review Kung-Fu Live for the Playstation 3. Created as a downloadable title by Virtual Air Guitar Company, itís designed to use the Playstation Eye (remember that peripheral?) to transport your body and movements into the game. The ridiculous narrative puts you into the role of comic book shop geek thatís transported by a kung fu comic book into a martial arts god. However, this also had the side effect of releasing a massive evil into your world and itís up to you to put a stop to it before the world ends. Iím sure thatís probably the daydream of every single comic book employee. The nice thing about the storyline is that it never takes itself seriously and that definitely plays well to the kung fu crowd.

kung fu live scanned chop karater

Unfortunately, the execution of the gameplay is completely half baked and just a testament to how poor the Playstation Eye is compared to Microsoftís Kinect. The game supposedly scans your body and is designed to track movement thus making the character on the screen become a kung fu hero. But you will spend most of your time throwing punches and kicks that donít do anything. The Eye also didnít understand multiple kicks and punches in succession and would only register one or two rather than a combo. Movement control also feels restrictive and the Eye often lost track of me when I went too far left or right. The game offers a faster method of movement in the form of backflips or the Power Punch, but the camera gain had problems registering the movements. It also became repetitive to do repeat those movements over and over just to move across the screen.

I tried the game in three types of lighting; low light with a projector room, high ambient light in a TV room and high natural light in the TV room. Playing in low light is absolutely terrible and only exacerbates the control issues. The best lighting is actually natural lighting, from a source behind the camera. I had my best results with the game playing in natural light, but it was still extremely frustrating. The difficulty of the enemies also doesnít help as they fall back on a cheap blocking tactic to stop all of your attacks. This wouldnít be terrible if the game actually worked correctly, but it only makes the game more frustrating to play. Itís even more fun when you die as you get to repeat all the enemies that you ďtirelesslyĒ killed after throwing 1000 punches.

kung fu live electricity super power

Thereís also a local multiplayer mode included in the game. I got a friend to play with me for about 20 minutes, but we both thought the lack of tracking was pretty useless. You certainly wonít be reenacting scenes from Mortal Kombat. There are a handful of trophies to earn including achievements for finishing the story, beating 150 enemies or using all the super-powers in a single fight.

Graphics

The visual style of the game is great and fits the comic book / kung fu genre extremely well. The urban levels look particularly good, especially some of the rooftop scenes. Scanning your own image is also a quirky, fun way to insert yourself in the game, despite is being a pain in the butt to setup.

Audio

Similar to the graphical style, the voice work, music and sound effects all tie into paying homage to the kung fu genre of movies. The only annoying aspect of the audio would be the repetitive lines of the voice actors, but thatís more of a testament to the developers making the game impossible to play and forcing restarts due to poor camera tracking.

Conclusion

Sadly, this gameís finicky, terribly frustrating control setup makes the game impossible to recommend, despite the entertaining story and general solid presentation. Playing the game isnít for the easily winded either. I consider myself in relatively good shape, but I got a tougher workout trying to get punches to register than in my cardio class. Anyway, do yourself a favor and skip Kung-Fu Live on the Playstation 3. The frustration isnít worth the $15 entry fee. I only hope the developer can do a better job with the game using the Kinect control system.



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