Is there room in the market for another 3D fighting game? The co-creator of Mortal Kombat thinks so. Full review.
By Rick Larson
Tao Feng has had some pretty mixed reviews to date. This game had some major hype. As I got into the game I thought I had made a horrible buy. But after many hours of playing I ended up completely addicted. I was amazed at how the game evolved... `
Patience is a virtue, but even the most patient gamer will be cursing at this game. Tao Feng is not a game that you can just pick up and master. When you first start playing you'll be surprised at how challenging it is. The first few rounds will be tough, but nothing most of you won't be able to handle. It's easy to get into - the controls are pretty straight forward. Each limb is assigned to a face button. The Chi and taunt are placed with the black and white buttons. The triggers are given the roles of environment interaction and throw reversals. You'll be able to do some basic attacks and combos pretty quickly, but it won't do much good in the long run.
After defeating the first few combatants in quest mode, you'll suddenly get smacked with the biggest can of whoop ass you've ever seen. Out of nowhere the A.I. decides to take some virtual steroids. The result is pretty defeating. When this happened to me I was ready to lay some smack down of my own on the developers. That is when I remembered John Tobias's main goal of this game: to stop any form of cheap button mashing. Knowing this I forced myself to continue.
I found myself fighting the final character for over an hour trying to beat him. During this time I'd thrown my controller into my wall a few times, but after about twenty to thirty tries I finally managed to get him. When choosing my next character the same thing happened again...
To make it even more frustrating, these characters only used around four different attacks. For a game that claims to have nearly a hundred moves for each character I found this rather disappointing. The fighter would use a throw, an unblockable move, and two different combos. The worst part of this was it would always start with the unblockable attack to begin a combo.
In Tao Feng, if you don't block the first hit you can't block any in the whole combo, so it can get pretty nasty. The A.I. would pull off combos ranging from six to twenty-five hits, which would utterly decimate my character. Eventually, I found myself actually starting to turn the tide. I had found the light at the end of the tunnel.
After ten hours of gameplay I finally started to get combos and blocking down. When I say blocking I don't mean actually finding out how, I mean doing it at the right time. If you block too often your arms will break so you need to know exactly when it's necessary.
The combos in this game have to be timed perfectly. One slip up can turn a match around. If you pay close attention you will notice that the A.I. will block until you finish an attack and then it will tear you apart while off balance. Learning the system is the key to mastering the game. As soon as you see an opening you have to take it and whip out a massive combo to devastate your opponent.
The throws are easy to pull off but end up looking like you just did one of the coolest moves ever. Exile has the coolest throw I've seen. He picks up his adversary and breaks their back over his knee. Then he just looks around with an evil grin on his face as he tosses the character off like garbage.
The difficulty and combo system give Tao Feng a lot of depth - it completely sucks you in. Knowing that you have accomplished such a huge task gives even more pride while tearing an opponent to pieces. The longer you play the better you will get, plain and simple. It just takes time.
The environments of this game are spectacular. Not only is the scenery greatly detailed but it is also completely interactive. Opponents can be smashed into any objects spread across the levels. This is a great way to weaken the limbs of enemies quickly. It also causes a tremendous change in how the scenery looks when you're done. The level starts out gorgeous and then ends up looking like the big shooting scene in The Matrix.
The environments also allow you to perform moves of different objects. Lets say you are pinned against a wall, and you have Exile coming after you. All you have to do is press back and the right trigger to run up the wall and jump at your opponent. This can also be done on poles and trees which are spread across levels. One of the more noticeable interactions is where Divinity gives a little erotic dance on the pole right before she beats your face in.
The character designs themselves are some of the coolest and most imaginative I have ever seen. Each fighter has so much detail put into them that you can actually see veins going up their necks and muscles tighten as they flex. Iron Monk's body is silver and gold, with a gold faceplate. At the end of his long ponytail their is a blade that is used in his Chi attacks. The first time I saw him in motion, I was very impressed indeed.
All the characters can be turned into a lump of blood and bruises. This is one of Tao Feng's most defining features. I knew that the characters were going to be battered but I had no idea to what extent. They ended up being much more mangled than I had expected, but it really looks great! You can actually see the character slowly deform as you fight, and the cut scenes give you an even better close up view of the carnage that was inflicted.
Adding to the character destruction is the ability to cause limb damage. Instead of actually breaking the limbs they seem to fracture. If your arms or legs go into limb damage they can still be used but only deal half the damage they normally would. So if your character breaks his legs and normally relies on leg combos you had better hope that you can get your Chi meter up to heal it.
The sound is very well done. I wasn't to happy when I found out there was no custom sound track option, but the music is very well done and fits the game nicely. The voice acting is also very effective. The narration is top notch as it explains what is going on and why you are fighting. The other fighters themselves say very little, but what is said is also effective.
The storyline is deep and enjoyable. The two rival clans (Pale Lotus and Black Mantis) are searching or the elixir of immortality. To do this they must find some ancient artifacts, to find the temple where it's held. There are several subplots also added. Many of these are quite erotic and I found myself questioning why they were ever put in the game. It didn't hurt overall though.
One thing I was a bit disappointed in was the lack of secrets and modes. There are only a couple of 'unlockables' such as new levels and a new character, but that's really it. I was also hoping there would be several modes to play around with but we are basically left with the normal quest, versus, team battle, and tournament mode. Oh well...
(See Latest Videos & Video FAQ Here)
|PLEASE DO NOT DIRECT LINK TO ANY MEDIA FILE ON KIKIZO|
|Various scenes and characters feature in this direct feed video sequence from Tao Feng.||1.00min||8.29MB||MPG|