Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus
Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus takes place in the near future of Metro-China where two Chinese sects, the Pale Lotus and Black Mantis, fight for dominance. Both groups are trying to gather together a collection of artifacts that will grant their owners immortality, and of course the best way to gain artifacts is to beat the hell out of each other.
Tao Feng is a beautiful thing to behold - a game that captures the physical poetry of martial arts and the human form in physical combat. Unfortunately Tao Feng offers little else for a gamer to enjoy. A clunky fighting system which doesn't seem to rely on tactics at all and camera angles that make gameplay at times both hard to master and frustrating to endure, hamstring what could have been a fantastic game.
The game offers several modes of play including versus, team battle, training and quest. In quest mode you pick a side and try to beat up the six members of the other sect with each of your six ' in other words you'll eventually need to win 36 battles. Once you do that you get to go up against the other side's head honcho in a battle royale. The 12 fighters you get to choose from, between the two groups, offer a variety of fighting styles and show-off the game's impressive graphics. But that all comes to a grinding halt after a few fights.
The fighting system is just too clunky to be enjoyable. The moves are impressive, but there is seemingly no sense when it comes to which moves out-class which. Instead you'll spend your time waiting for an opening and then unleashing a quick combo or two. Ad to this is the fact that the camera angle sometimes has to shift to work around the detailed backgrounds, but often the shift means a flip in the angle, making your fighter go from the right side to the left side of the screen and of course typically messing up any move you were in the middle of doing. That said, the fighting does have a few cool touches, like the ability to damage limbs and thereby reduce the damage an opponent can inflict with an arm or leg. The game also features a destructive background and the capability to flip off walls or swing around trees and launch an attack.
Although Tao Feng breaths a bit of fresh air into a otherwise stale genre, a fighting game can never be better than its fighting system and no amount of eye-catching graphics or cool features will make up for clumsy battles.