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Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style (PlayStation) artwork

Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style (PlayStation) review

"First thing I want to clear up is that this game goes by aother name in the United Kingdom, over here it is known as Wu Tang: Taste the Pain. Just wanted to make that clear OK! "

First thing I want to clear up is that this game goes by aother name in the United Kingdom, over here it is known as Wu Tang: Taste the Pain. Just wanted to make that clear OK!

Now, the first four player beat 'em up on the Playstation comes with some reservations. If you're expecting four player Tekken then this will disappoint as it has none of Tekken's smoothness or fluidity. However viewed as a reasonably entertaining stab at a four player fighting game on an aging console it fits the bill nicely. If you're a fan of great hip-hop then it becomes a must buy for the soundtrack alone.

Based on the now scrapped ''Thrill Kill'' game engine, this features more blood, guts and violence than the Mortal Kombat series! For those of you who don't know, the Wu Tang clan are a group of West Coast Rappers who draw inspiration from Oriental myths and legends about the fabled Shaolin fighters of China. Of course the Shaolin Temple really exists so all the fighting techniques are based on real kung fu styles, but some of the characterisation takes a more mythic slant. The game sees you take control of the various clan members such as Old Dirty Bastard (Drunken Fighter) or RZA and trek through several quests to save your mentor who has been captured by the evil BAD MAN.

The best thing about the game is the story mode which allows you to fill your 36 chambers by performing certain tasks, like a hit combo or several throws in a row. This unlocks new costumes, characters, artwork and game modes. It adds a lot lot of depth to the gameplay as you cannot fight the end boss until you have filled all 36 chambers. The four player mode is chaotic and entertaining for a while, though the lack of a jump button can make escaping a good kicking quite hard if you've been cornered. The death moves are hilarious, heads get booted off, limbs sliced about, faces impaled…mmm nice. It is rated an 18 (UK ratings), but a parental lock means kiddies can play a no-gore version.

Gameplay 7 There is good variety in the fighting styles. A surprising amount of variety exists between fighters, and there are reversals and combos included in all players movelists. However what lets the gameplay down is some very bad character balance. The mark of a good beat 'em up is that all characters have strengths and weaknesses against certain other characters. In Wu Tang however certain fighters who are armed with long range weapons like GZA are exceedingly tricky to beat with unarmed fighters. The lack of a jump button as I mentioned earlier is also a big downer and again can make fights very frustrating. The AI in the single player game is abit unbalanced to, some fighters are very difficult to win Story Mode with and the Final Bosses can be annoyingly hard.

That said, the game structure is pleasantly different, there are lots of secrets to unlock and it can be very rewarding in two player mode with two experienced scrappers.

Graphics 6 The graphics are a bit scruffy, but fit the mood of the game fairly well. The arenas are down and dirty back alleys and quite atmospheric if a little dull, interactive scenery would have livened things up no end. The character models are fairly basic, not even really as smooth as those in Tekken 1, let alone Tekken 3. That said they move smoothly and flow nicely. The CG movies are a bit basic, but the character artwork you can unlock is good quality and make you think maybe this would have been better as a 2d fighter.

Sound 9 Well if you like the Wu Tang Clan as I do then you will love the sound track! Several wickedly funky tracks are included and I reckon they make this game a worthwhile purchase for that alone. If your tastes run more to Limp Bizkit than Ol' Dirty then you probably wouldn't be reading this review at all!

Replayability 6 Frankly this isn't one of the games I get out and replay often. Even in multi-player its appeal does wear off after a couple of months and it only tend to make an appearance now as part of Fighting Games Night (a games night devoted entirely to playing beat 'em ups if you were wondering!. The single player story mode is quite deep, but you may find it more of a chore than a pleasure wading though it with some of the less effective characters.

To Buy or not to Buy, that is the Question? Well if you can find it cheap and you are a fan of the Clan then it comes highly recommended. Otherwise, this is one Playstation Beat 'em Up you may want to give a miss.

falsehead's avatar
Community review by falsehead (March 08, 2004)

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