Wu Tang: Shaolin Style
Get ready for a little flava in ya fighting. The Wu are on the loose in their very first fighting game, Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style--it'll make sure no one kills the thrill.
It's A Tang Thang
What happens when you take one of the most controversial rap groups of the decade and pair it with one of the most controversial games of the decade? Find out as Activision takes Thrill Kill and adds the attitude and style of the Wu-Tang Clan.
That's right--all your favorite rappers from the Clan are here, including RZA, Dirty Bastard, and Method Man, along with a crew of others. And yes, Activision has taken the original Thrill Kill engine, done away with some of the raw edges, and used the remaining core to create Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style. So what you should get is one hard-ass tough-hitting fighting game that's better than the original Thrill Kill in scope and depth, yet retains a brutal and sometimes controversial flavor.
VIEW TO A THRILL KILL
Even if the Wu-Tang were not attached to this game, you would still have a very cool fighter on your hands--and with the thematic musical styling of the Clan in the background of each fight, your ears will also be treated well. The graphics have definitely been improved since the original Thrill Kill (see "Sneak Previews," October '98), and the moves are faster, more accurate, and less defensible, which means the fighting engine has also been greatly enhanced. Wu-Tang takes traditional Shaolin and adds lots of style for you this fall.
NO BUSINESS LIKE SHAO BUSINESS
Each of the Wu-Tang has their very own style of fighting, which follows the traditional Shaolin style while incorporating elements of rap into each fight. Inspectah Deck, for instance, strikes with his fingers at strategic locations on an opponent's body, then recoils and quickly strikes again, while GZA uses a microphone attached to a lethal chain to wield the "liquid sword"--a metaphor for the power of words. Indeed, the only word you'll be able to utter if GZA is on his mark is "ouch."
Download Wu Tang: Shaolin Style
This game was not put together for your benefit. They should've just been straight with us and called it 'Wu-Tang: When Marketing Departments Collide'--apparently it was 'inspired' by the hip-hop group's love of kung-fu movies...but really it's a way of taking a mediocre fighting game and slapping a license on it. The thing is, that's part of the problem. I don't think a game has ever made me feel uncomfortable before--but this is the first time I've genuinely felt that things have gone a bit far. I'm not being an old fart, or overly righteous--but seeing Method Man plant his foot on his opponent's chest and then swinging his sledgehammer like a golf club against his head is, frankly, just asking for trouble. It would get bad press for the action alone...but the fact that it's a 'real' guy means that it's going to attract the wrong kind of attention. This is the first game ever where I don't feel I could defend the content...and that's bad. It's not even a particularly good game either. It's probably the closest we'll ever get to Thrill Kill, but the fighting engine ain't great. It feels too much like an 'extreme' wrestling game, and the net result is that you get that 'detached' feeling from the action. The four-player mode will no doubt get the most play-time from most people...but it gets old really quick.
At least you can finally see what the fuss over Thrill Kill was about (and you'll certainly see the bloodshed that made EA balk). But if you look past the guts and silly marketing tie-in, Wu-Tang is actually a decent four-player game. Sure, the button-mashing gameplay makes for a shallow experience (despite scads of moves). And things get sluggish in larger arenas. But Wu-Tang's a fun diversion that'll likely get more attention than it deserves.
I know plenty of you out there are starving for a Thrill Kill four-player gore-fest, but believe me when I tell you that you can get it all out of your system with a one-evening rental. Sure this game has an impressive list of moves and combos. When you start the chaotic four-player game, however, most of the action deteriorates into a button-mashing orgy. Wu-Tang is worth checking out, but it probably won't hold your attention for too long.
I think where the line draws for me is the fact that these are real people (gangsta rap supergroup Wu-Tang Clan) committing pixelized acts of violence onscreen. As a fighting game. Wu-Tang just isn't that exciting or fun. It's a lot of button-mashing mayhem and a lot of gratuitous violence. Maybe that does it for some people, but not me. You don't actually need to know any of the moves--just button mash like crazy and you'll be fine.
At first glance, one might be tempted to overlook a fighting game featuring members of a popular hip-hop/rap group, simply dismissing the game as a novelty that will only appeal to the most hardcore of fans. A lot of people did indeed scoff when Activision announced a fighting game based on the highly popular Wu-Tang Clan. There have been many attempts to capitalize on a pop-culture icon in the past and most have failed miserably (sorry to all two of you Shaq-Fu fans out there). But underneath the hip-hop exterior, you just may find a decent fighting game.
Utilizing a modified version of the now-legendary Thrill Kill engine, Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style features one to four players battling to the death in a variety of three-dimensional arenas. All of your favorite Clan members are here, including RZA„ GZA, OP Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon the Chef, U-God, Mastah Killah, Ghost Face Killah and the Method Man. Each character has an alter ego, boosting the total number of selectable characters up to 18.
There are a total of 10 arenas located around New York City and various areas of China where you can show off your Shaolin style. The non-linear Story Mode launches your Clan member of choice in a quest to conquer the 36 chambers of death, an integral part of the Shaolin style on which the Wu-Tang Clan bases its philosophy.
The majority of the moves are done in a standard fighting game fashion-quarter-circles and halfcircles followed by button pushes are the order of the day. There is a surprisingly substantial amount of moves to learn for each character, including a variety of throws, combos and special moves.
At this point in time, the control is pretty tight, but the responsiveness could be tweaked a little. Unfortunately there is no analog control, and it's a bit difficult to change your focus on an opposing player. The game is still very playable, but it would help if you know exactly who you a re trying to attack.
What good would a game based on hip-hop artists be without some decent background music? Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style features some classic tracks from the Clan, and it also includes three brand-new songs exclusive to the game. This will be the Clan's only new release of 1999--an extra incentive for the die-hard fans. Even better news is that since the game is expected to get an M rating, all of the musical fare will be completely uncensored.
Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style is sure to turn (and decapitate) some heads when Activision releases it later this year. The novelty factor will sell the game to the niche crowd, but fighting fans should give it a fry as well.
- MANUFACTURER - Paradox Development
- THEME - Fighting
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-4
All right all you Wu-Tang fans out there, Activision has created a great hip-hop/rap based action fighting game -- the first videogame made specifically for a rap group. All nine members of Wu-Tang are in the game, searching the depths of Shaolin on a quest to learn each of the 36 chambers in order to save their kidnapped master. The search for the 36 chambers is long and includes a lot of blood and body parts flying everywhere.
Each member has his own fighting style: RZA has a pair of ninja swords that he uses to make chop suey out of anyone standing in his way. GZA comes through with a bladed microphone which he uses to hit with liquid swords. O.D.B. is just being himself, a master of the "Drunken Style" art of kung fu. Inspectah Deck hits with short and quick attacks to kill his opponents before they know what’s happening. Raekwon has mastered the art of Shaolin Shadow Boxing -- no kicks just one punch after another, pummeling anyone who wants to step up to the challenge. Masta Killa yields a long-bladed knife that slices and dices so quickly, you don’t know where it’s coming from. Ghostface Killah and U-God use brute force; Ghostface uses an ancient form of Wu-Tang grappling and U-God uses his gold plated fists to seriously damage enemies. Finally there is Method Man. Meth swings a gigantic sledgehammer to flatten his foes.
To get the full effect of this game, make sure you put in the code to turn on the blood and high-violence. If you don’t unlock the game, you will not see any blood, body dismemberment, or any of the fatalities. You will be playing the low-violence mode, which is the defaulted mode for this game.
In story mode, your journey begins in New York and you must clear level after level, mastering each of the 36 chambers. To earn a chamber, you must first complete a task. Each chamber has a different task. After completing groups of chambers, you unlock different things. You can unlock new fatalities, different game modes, alternate costumes, that sort of thing. After New York, you travel to China where you can also try to earn your chambers. In order to fight the main boss and save your master, you must have completed a certain number of the 36 chambers.
Although the story mode is fun and challenging, Activision has finally made the purchase of a Multi-Tap worth the money. Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style allows up to four players to fight at once. You could team up for 2-on-2 action, or 3-on-1 is always fun. Whichever one you choose, you are sure to experience total bloodshed and finally get back at one of your friends for scratching up your Wu-Tang CD!
A practice mode is also included so you can learn each character's unique set of moves and put them together to make up your own combos that can quickly eliminate your foes.
Graphics & Audio
The graphics in this game are great. Each character has an alternate costume you can change him into, so you won’t get tired of looking at the same clothes on your fighter round after round. A lot of the moves leave a trail of light, which looks kind of neat. There are a lot of visual extras included in this game which can only help it out. The full motion video in the story mode is good, but the fatalities bring back memories of Mortal Kombat. Bodies being pulled apart and heads blowing up -- I couldn’t even tell you which one is my favorite.
The soundtrack for this game includes tracks put down by the Wu-Tang Clan. So you get to listen to Wu-Tang while you fight. How can it get any better? During and after each battle, each member talks trash. During battle, you might get a battle cry or two, but after most of the fatalities, you are given a short line of wisdom. The sound effects in the game are really good.
If I wasn’t a fan of the Wu-Tang Clan, I don’t think that I would like the game very much. But Activision did a great job of putting this game down. The controls are basically Tekken-like and were fairly east to pick up. I like the idea of the two to four player versus mode, which adds to the replay value of the game. The story mode gets boring after a while, but had me hooked until I completed 36 chambers for all nine members. I feel that this game is one of the best multiplayer games available for the PSX with the endless game play, exclusive Wu-Tang tracks that are only available on this game, and all the blood and gore. So, if you love gore and rap music, this game is for you. If you don’t like blood and rap, I suggest you try something else, ‘cause this one’s not for you.
In my book, this game is almost a classic.
Protect ya neck, kid--the killah bees are on the swarm, and they're headed to the PlayStation. Wu-Tang is a new fighting game that features the much-talked-about Thrill Kill engine (the four-player bloodbath that Electronic Arts nixed) and the fiercest rappers from the Wu-Tang Clan, including Dirty Bastard, The RZA, and Method Man. Wu-Tang's ready to triumph with up to four-player batdes, 10 arenas, and three play modes including practice, versus, and story. Can you conquer the 36 chambers and become a Wu-Tang master? Find out this fall.
Snapshots and Media
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