Review: Rag Doll Kung Fu

Original Article Here

Video Games. A medium unlike any other, it’s the only place where people are actually free to interact with the media in a way not possible with things such as TV and print. Because of this. It?s the perfect place for people to try something new and innovative. Enter Rag Doll Kung Fu…

Two years in the making, dedicated Lionhead games designer Mark Healey has released a game that’s wacky, different and is, of course, quite fun. How much fun you’ll get out of it is depending on you, but thanks to the people at Valve, the game is accessible to a wider audience than perhaps it would normally get through its Steam platform. But, of course, you’re here to find out whether it’s worth investing your cash in the game. Well, read on…

Rag Doll Kung Fu is a budget game; let’s get that right out of the way. No need to think it was going to be a big-budget blockbuster with all fancy gimmicks and whistles. However, it doesn?t see this as a disadvantage – on the contrary, it actually adds to its charm – the game doesn’t take itself too seriously at all, and in fact sends itself up quite well in the (hilarious) cut scenes produced, filmed and even starred in by Mr Healey and his pals. – If you fail to laugh during the “Six Stellas and a Kebab” technique you’d better pinch yourself!

The main thing the game does have is a ragdoll physics engine. This forms the main part of the game. Players are in control of the character in a way which is not unlike a puppet, by building up “Chi” (moving the mouse) and then basically, clicking and dragging a body part to move it to position, while right clicking will make an attack with said limb. Of course, the models are all affected by gravity and the like, so basically the fighting system is wonderfully different to most other games in that, if you’re skilful enough, you can pull of a heck of a lot of moves. Flying kick? No problem. Somersault into a head-butt? Yup, although it’ll take a little practise to perfect it! Although at first it takes a little getting used to, but once you do you?ll find that, somehow, it makes sense. And this game could not be controlled any other way.

Graphics are quite pretty for such a game, the backdrops do give that Japanese Kung Fu feel, and the characters do look very quirky. A stroke of genius, however, is that you can create your own skins in your favourite image editing program and then import them into the game – and yes, it is hilarious seeing yourself being bitten in the nether-regions by a vicious dog on a chain (one of this game’s many fun weapons!)

However, bear in mind that the Single Player is very short, even for a budget game – this reviewer completed the whole of the SP mode in one sitting over the course of 90 minutes. Mark Healey has thoughtfully provided some secrets to unlock in each level, which in turn unlock various SP mini games, but most of these are minor distractions, and it’s probably only the Ninja Onslaught that’ll keep you trying to beat your own score. Multiplayer is, like the rest of the game, quite fun: the server browser leaves a little to be desired (a clearer menu would have been nice) – but once you get on a server, and manage to gather your bearings, it can be quite fun and VERY manic trying to get your hits in faster than the other people around you, and with a full compliment of eight players it gets VERY difficult to see your own player. A final minor gripe with the multiplayer is the camera – ESPECIALLY with more numbers – it seems to be the same camera for nearly everyone, zooming out at very inopportune moments, and making it quite hard to keep track of your character.

However, if you want to try something fun and different, you can do a lot worse than buying Rag Doll Kung Fu. Its fun may be short lived, but you’ll have a hell of a giggle while it lasts!

Final Score: 75%

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One Response to Review: Rag Doll Kung Fu

  1. […] Video Games. A medium unlike any other – it’s the only place where people are actually free to… […]

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