Ever wanted a game where the characters actually look like they have been duking it out rather than pillow fighting? Ever wanted a game where the fighters could be wounded or crippled? Well these are two of the things which this title boasts.
The Co-Creator of the Mortal Kombat series, John Tobias, created Tao Feng, In the MK games after the end of the match you could rip or humiliate your opponent with a fatality, this hadn’t been done before. The MK games distinguished themselves on the 16bit machines having darker and more realistic characters and more violence. The most recent MK games in my opinion have been quite lack lustre so at first glance I wasn’t sure if this was something to boast too much about.
The story of Tao Feng is based around two warring clans: the Pale Lotus (The Good guys) and the Black Mantis (Not so good guys). Each clan has 6 warriors each with a varying style of combat. In the “Quest mode” each fighter of a sect has to collect a piece of an artefact which when taken to the North pole (God knows how they got there) grants them access to meet an Immortal enemy.
I’ll start with the most important thing about this title, the fighting system it boasts about. The buttons are familiar enough - two buttons for punch, two buttons for kick, hold back for block. Each char has two alternate stances three types of throws and Chi move, which I will explain. Right, down to business. My first main bug with this game was the limb damage system. The fact that I had been waiting for a game to do this well maybe added even more disappointment on how this was done. This is how the system works: Fighter A attacks fighter B who is blocking A’s attacks, B gets a warning saying “Limb Damage” and after this if B gets hit without blocking he will fall to the floor and a cut scene will occur. In this cut scene either B’s arms or legs will be damaged. This Cut scene totally interrupts the flow of the fight, which I found very annoying. The fight will then carry on with a huge notice saying punches reduced 50% which I thought was quite ugly. Just to make this more annoying they can still punch or kick even string a combo together even though the limb is supposed to be damaged? And the 50% reductions are pretty unnoticeable. In this game attacks and combo’s that you pull off raise your Chi meter, which you can use to heal your damaged limbs, or you can perform a Chi attack. Each char has 3 different attacks some of the effects on these moves I have to say are very cool. My problem with this Chi system is that it’s almost like a cheap guaranteed hit although they are weak but all you have to do is press a direction and press the button to pull them off. And the only way to block them is by interrupting the opponent with an attack or your own Chi move.
The next thing that bugged me about the game was the difficulty of pulling off the longer combo’s, it’s practically impossible to pull them off correctly in a fight although the computer can with ease and there is no real way to stop them continuously pounding you which, trust me, gets very frustrating very quickly. Also, I liked the feature of each char having an alternate stance, sounds good doesn’t it? But! It’s practically impossible to pull this off and hit them with the new moves and combos at your disposal in this stance and when you’re knocked to the ground you will go back to your original stance, so after a while I just didn’t bother anymore.
In the levels you can do a jump off wall manoeuvre and also chars can swing round poles with the R button. These were cool at first but it does get frustrating when you’re hit with them as they are quite damaging and also quite cheap. What I will say is that the game play element is a lot better in the versus mode which I suppose it is in any game but due to the A.I being made of all things evil, its nice to fight someone who won’t unleash a 6 hit combo at the drop of a hat. Also this means you can have more fun in the environments rather than being just thrown around them.
The “Quest mode” is basically a glorified arcade mode like any other fighter out there, I say this as each fighter of the enemy sect has a piece of the artefact which when you defeat them you get (No cut scene mind you). You have to do this with each fighter of a sect, which actually becomes very tedious quickly due to the fact that, as there is a problem with the combo system, the fights are sometimes so unfair I pulled them off by pure luck. Due to the fact the computer can pull off the moves at it's disposal with ease they sometimes seem tougher than they really should be. Getting hit by a long combo a few times and not being able to stop it becomes very annoying and this was just on the normal setting. I can play the Tekken’s and Street Fighters on the hardest setting and still beat them but with this game I just got frustrated and couldn’t be bothered with it anymore.
What I will say about the game is that the visuals are fantastic; the characters are done very well. Only thing that I found with the chars was that I didn’t have a particular favourite, they aren’t very appealing. One of the best features with this game was that after 6 rounds of fisty cuffs the characters do look like they have had a right beating with cuts, bruises scratches. Let’s just say no one comes out of the fight looking like a winner. Also the level design is very good. Many varied locations with distinctive parts and destructible parts to them. My favourite was the Roof level as half way through the fight it will start to rain. This may seem like a simple feature but it really adds to the fight, making it a bit more dramatic.
For the first day of playing it I was quite happy with it. I just think overall there isn’t enough to do in it. There is only one unlockable character who is a boss type char as far as I know and lets face it who ever plays as those chars? Who’s ever Bison in Street Fighter or Ogre or whoever the boss is in the Tekken’s? There is one extra stage to unlock. And it’s so hard to get just these two things I didn’t bother. So overall is this worth purchasing I hear you ask? My answer is… No. I think this game is more suited for a rental as you can marvel at the graphics and environments and the versus matches but you will start to get tired of the game, quickly.
Very good visuals, good level design, fighters look damaged.
The fighting system, the difficulty, not much to do besides fight.
Average game, adds nothing to Genre
by theMANwithTHEcheese 2003
Average game, adds nothing to Genre
by theMANwithTHEcheese 2003