Game Spotlight: Kung Fu Strike: The Warrior's Rise

In 1972 Shaolin monk, Kwai Chang Caine came into our homes and taught us that while the ancient combat arts of Kung Fu were swift and deadly, the wise man seeks a peaceful solution when they are confronted by difficulties... In 1993 Texas Ranger Sgt. Cordell Walker came into our homes and taught us that while the ancient combat art of Kung Fu is swift and deadly, the wise and moral man seeks the peaceful and morally correct solution when they are confronted by difficulties -- though he kicked serious butt when he had no choice... In 2012 Kung Fu Strike came into our homes and taught us that peace is wonderful, morality is divine, but kicking your enemy in the head with mad Kung Fu skills sure feels a lot better!

Taking its inspiration from ancient Chinese tales of revenge and retribution and adding a dash of over-the-top martial arts and old-school arcade fun, Kung Fu Strike for Xbox LIVE features 28 stages of fast-paced combo-based fighting that blends powerful punches, high kicks and perfectly timed blocks to pull off devastating combos, all thanks to a fluid combat system that turns brawling into an art form.

Launched on September 5th, and priced at just 800 Microsoft Points, the fast-paced arcade-style classic fighting lands the first punch, with the second punch in the form of DLC on the way in October -- but we can already tell that the DLC will be a no-brainer as the base game is one of the best fighting arcade games to come along in a very long time!

The game sports as its key features the skill-based gameplay around which it was built, allowing players who take the time to master the moves the ability to earn much higher scores and more gold, which is pretty important because you need that gold to unlock more powerful abilities and items to further customize your style of play! The inclusion of online leader boards seems like a given in this modern era, but it also helps to breed competition between players while adding plenty of replay value to the game -- which features online and local (split-screen) multi-player fun.

What fascinates us the most about this title is that it is a complete departure from the normal fighting arcade game in that it starts out challenging and then just keeps getting even more challenging! As a general rule with this sort of game, once you have mastered the fighting moves, it is presumed to be a cake walk to the end, but that is not how Kung Fu Strike plays out -- because the deeper you go into the game and its story, the harder each level becomes. And don't think that easy difficulty will save you either!

The word is that in October the game will get DLC “Master Levels” that basically require you to find a human partner to team up and play with, because completing the levels solo is nigh on to impossible. But no worries since the game's intense Versus Mode should let you evaluate potential foot buddies by fighting them in the game before inviting them to play it with you...

The odd thing for us was the fact that the game received an ESRB rating of T (for Teen) and a PEGI 16+ rating -- odd because it just did not seem to be that level of intensity for an action-adventure / brawler / beat 'em-up game...

A Little Game Play Action
When you first run the game you are placed into a dedicated tutorial level that delivers a concise and easy to follow review of the moves, helping you not only to learn them but to learn when they should be used at their most effective, with the tutorial level pretty much covering all of the attack and evasion moves, leaving just the basic defensive and special moves to be learned in the following levels. While there are plenty of levels to work your way through, one of the best features in the game is the ability to win new moves in level play AND in re-playing levels! You are going to want to replay levels though, because in addition to defeating the enemy in each level and using special moves (some of which are unlocked on specific levels) you are also graded on your performance in completing each level, and so you will want to return if just to get a better grade.

A surprising variety of challenges and a refreshing mixture of enemies leaves nothing to be desired for except perhaps more time to kick serious butt in this destined to be an arcade classic Kung Fu romp! We give this one two-thumb's up and an hooah!

More info can be had at the game's official website:

Posted: 12th Sep 2012 by CMBF
Kung-Fu Strike: The Warrior's Rise, Xbox 360, XBLA,