Kung Fu Chaos update

We take an updated hands-on look at Microsoft's upcoming Xbox action game.

Microsoft recently visited us with an updated version of Kung Fu Chaos, its upcoming Xbox action game. The game seems far more polished than the 557709last time we saw it, and showed a significant amount of refinements to its gameplay. We had a chance to take the game for a spin and were pleasantly surprised by the way the game is coming together.

The roster of character is made up of a colorful cast of acting hopefuls Lucy Cannon, Monkey, Ninja Fu Hiya, Master Sho Yu, Chop & Styx, and Xui Tan Sour. You'll also find three unlockable characters, Captain Won Ton, Candi Roll, and Shao Ting, who are cut from the same zany cloth as the main characters. The game's cast includes over-the-top archetypes of ninjas, kung-fu movie heroes, a Pam Grier-esque tough girl, and of course, a martial arts monkey. The cast has gained quite a bit of personality from earlier versions of the game, and the characters seem to suit the game's loopy premise well.

The game now offers 6 modes to choose from: ninja challenge, battle game, championship, variety, freestyle and rehearsal. Ninja challenge is the game's single-player story mode, and it lets you take one of the game's eccentric cast members through a series of "film shoots" and take on other members of the cast and boss characters. The shoots are done in a variety of locales that change dynamically as the fight progresses, which forces you to balance beating the living daylights out of your opponent with avoiding an insane number of environmental hazards. Battle game, championship, and variety offer various multiplayer games for up to four players that range from standard brawls to playing through some of the minigames you'll encounter in the single player game.

The gameplay has been tightened up considerably and is helped by better camera placement. You use the A button to jump and the B to grab and throw your opponents as well as objects around you. The X button is be a standard attack, while the Y button serves double duty as both a fast attack and an "interrupt" maneuver, which is essentially a counterattack. The right trigger makes your character block attacks, while the left trigger makes your character taunt. Despite the rather simplistic nature of the control setup, the game actually seems to have a good number of combination attacks to be found by pressing different buttons. You'll also be able to perform a special attack by holding down the X and A buttons--a special attack that's considerably slower, but is much more powerful. Pressing the Y and B buttons triggers a spin attack, and pressing A and B makes your character perform a running attack. However, our favorite gameplay mechanic at the moment is the super move you can pull off after taunting. Taunting itself is quite useful once you get the timing down. While you can taunt whenever you want, if you taunt your opponents just after you've knocked them down, you'll earn a small star that will float above your character. If you collect three stars then you'll be able to perform a super attack that usually does heavy-duty damage on everyone around you.

Visually, the game is suitably hectic, and most levels feature forced scrolling and copious amounts of deformation in them that can be hazardous to your health. The framerate stays high even in the face of craziness like a massive boat splitting in like the Titanic or a T-Rex thrashing about behind you. The characters are highly detailed and sport a cartoon-like look that seems appropriate enough.

From what we've seen Kung Fu Chaos, is coming together pretty well, and from what we've seen of the gameplay, the game seems like it could be pretty fun. Kung Fu Chaos is currently scheduled to ship next spring. Look for more on the game soon.

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