Date: 12-17-2010 01:02
Author: Chris Engle

PDC profile: Chris

Kung Fu Live is an interactive fighting game, that puts you into the world of martial arts. The PlayStation Eye tracks you and your movements, inserting them into the game to be used in cut-scenes and as attacks.

Learning the Art of Kung Fu
The game features a story mode, which is presented a set of comic books. The game takes a snapshot of you, and through these colorfully drawn pages, draws you into the life of Kung Fu. Your character is hired to work at a shop, and while the owner is out, you pick up a book which sucks you in and teaches you Kung Fu. After learning how to play the game, you’re spit out of the book and the story continues with you locking up the store, only to be ambushed by a group of thugs looking to steal a valuable painting that houses a deadly secret. When this deadly secret is unleashed onto the world it is up to you to stop it. But enough about that, let me get to my experience.

The first thing I noticed is that each level is separated into its own comic chapter. Each time you decide to play a chapter, it takes a number of photo snapshots of you before displaying the comic. The screen will show you a pose it wants you to mimic and you get about 5 seconds before it takes the picture. With these photos of you, it inserts them into spots of the comic’s chapter, I found this pretty hysterical just because of how cheesy it seemed. But moving on, the actual fighting was surprisingly fun. Unlike other motion detection games where it tracks different body parts individually, Kung Fu Live simply follows the outline of your body. You can run, kick, duck, jump, jump kick and do almost anything and everything to fight. There are 4 special moves where if you have enough ‘Chi’ and execute the correct pose for the attack, then you’ll perform the attack. It was my experience that the game was pretty fun. I had a blast just randomly jumping and kicking/punching my opponents. I ended up finding myself trying to perform various moves from movies, but if you were watching me you’d probably just laugh. I was curious as to whether I could use an object to fight with too, like a bat, I figure I can as long as it stands out from the background but I haven’t tried yet.

Quick Play Mode
The Quick Play mode plays exactly the same, it tracks the person who is moving in front of the camera. The only difference is that it features 6 sub-choices within it; a multiplayer mode and 5 other modes like One on One, Shadow Warriors, and more. The multiplayer mode is pretty fun, the main person who is fighting gets to stand in front of the camera and fight however they want, but up to 4 other people can pick up a controller to fight as the AI. I find this much more fun rather than having 2-4 people crashing into each other, as that’d just be problematic. Other choices include ‘Mayhem Designer’ which allows you to customize the enemies you fight and things like your special attacks. ‘One on One’ allows you to face one enemy at a time, each one being more difficult than the last. I assumed this mode is endless because I can’t stay alive very long. ‘Shadow Warriors’ pits you against the enemies with the very same name, but it seems to be the same as One on One. So it basically is just fighting a different enemy and lasting as long as you can. ‘Inkling Onslaught’ is yet another “beat up as many as you can” mode with yet again, a different type of enemy. But I won’t reveal to you what they are as that’d be spoiling part of the story. The final choice is ‘Giant Slayer’ which pits you against extremely large and tough giants.

Camera Detection
Using the PS Eye can be a bit of a hassle for various reasons on this game, but mostly for these 2 reasons. Firstly, you need quite a bit of space, I ended up needing more than I thought I would. Secondly, you need to stand out from the background. Not only did I have to turn on the lights just to get good enough lighting, but I also needed to remove anything dark from behind me or covering it with a lighter color. Then, because the color of my skin blended with the color of my wall, I had to wear a long sleeve shirt and jeans. With that said, anything else that’s on the camera screen, such as an overhead fan, shouldn't be moving or else it’ll cause problems. This sort of thing gets addressed when starting up the game when the camera attempts to auto-adjust itself the best it can. The final thing that annoyed me is that distance I had to stand back from the camera made viewing the game on my 26 inch TV very hard. The only way to fix this problem is to use a large enough TV or set the camera a good distance behind the TV.

The Bottom Line
Despite all of the annoyances I faced just to set the game up, it’s very enjoyable. I found myself worn out within 10 minutes of my first play, due to being slightly out of shape. After about 3 days of playing the game, my body is pretty sore, and so I suggest stretching plenty. But with simply being able to use my body, I have to admit, I had a blast playing the game. With a story mode and 6 Quick Play choices, you can’t really go wrong with this game or its price, unless you don't have a decently sized play area or a room that you will blend into. With that said, I would definitely recommend this game to anyone who can meet its requirements and is looking for game that will get them out of the chair to exercise.

Kung Fu Live was developed by Virtual Air Guitar. The game is priced at $14.99 and was released in December 2010 on the PlayStation Store in Europe and North America. I have put in about 5 hours of play and only stopped because of physically exhaustion.

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