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My sister bought the Playstation 2 version of Kung Fu Panda for my nephew and after a few hours of playing on it I was hooked. Cinema game releases are usually disappointing and do not live up to the hype.
Since it was a child's film I thought that it would be a standard child's game but Kung Fu Panda is actually really good fun to play requiring very little thought at all. It is nowhere near the hardest game I've played but, in my opinion, it brings back the true meaning of computer gaming which is to have fun for a few hours.
As you'd expect this game is based on the story line of the film. This game follows the adventures of Po, a clumsy Panda that turns from a noodle chef to a Dragon Warrior panda-ninja.
Playing as Po, the aim of the game is to save your father and fellow Furious Five members. The final bout is against the great Tai Lung, whereby Po needs to use all the skills he has amassed throughout the game, to restore peace to the village.
****Controls and game play****
This game is a 2 dimensional side-scrolling platform and the controls are ideal for this genre of game.
The directional pad (if you're right handed) or the A, B, X and Y buttons (if you are left handed) is used to move Po forwards and backwards as well as making him jump and turn in to the panda 'ball'.
All the fighting moves are performed using the stylus and the touch screen. TO begin with you are limited to basic swipe attacks, which are performed by touching the touch screen with the stylus and then dragging the stylus in the direction you want to attack.
Once you've made contact with the screen, the game momentarily pauses and gives you time to ensure you are on target before the attack is made. Po's attack reach is limited, and while the temptation is to draw longer lines on screen to kill enemies further away, this has no effect.
During the early stages of the game the combat controls work really well and can't be faulted, however once all the fighting capabilities were unlocked I found there were some issues, and whilst not a real problem they are a frustration. For example there were sometimes problems differentiating between the Spinning Feather Blossom move (used to glide across big gaps) and the Iron Claw move (a short dash skill to kill enemies). Even though the game momentarily pauses when the stylus is placed on the touch screen it does not always pick up the correct move.
As you rescue each member of the Furious Five, Po obtains a new special move including;
i) Leaping Monkey. This lets you grab hold of enemies in midair and use them to jump to platforms or collect items. When you used in combat you can grab enemies, launch them upwards and then hit them before they hit the ground.
ii) Mantis Fury. This allows Po to throw objects at high speeds, turning regular items into missiles that can knock down doors and enemies alike.
iii) Viper Crush. This allows Po to grab an enemy and squeeze it out of its armour, momentarily stunning it so it can be dealt a killing strike.
iv) Spinning Feather Blossom. This is a gliding and attack combination move that's useful for jumping long gaps.
v) Iron Claw. Po briefly turns in to Tigress and then deals out a number slashes with its long claws.
This game is very straightforward and completing it relies on jumping over things as they come hurtling towards you, catching items that come your way and throwing them back to where they came from and killing enemies. There are no puzzles to solve although there are times when items need to be placed on 'touch pads' to open doors (if you can call this a puzzle).
It is a shame that this version of the game does not allow the player to run in to the background like a full 3 dimensional game since it would add another dimension. I think that the manufacturers have missed a trick here since the processing capabilities of the DS are well up to the job.
The graphics are stunning. They are clear, crisp and very colourful with no noticeable pixel problems.
This game has scrolling 3D backgrounds to give the world a sense of depth, although it is a 2 dimensional game.
The sound is great and, just like the graphics, crisp and clear.
In addition to the sound effects there is a lot of voice over work including that of the narrator and the Furious Five. Whilst the stars of the film do not lend their voices to the game the person providing the voice of Po in the in-between level cartoons really does sound like Jack Black.
This is a very easy game, and as such ideal for gamers of all age groups (from the very young to the very old) and all abilities (although seasoned gamers are likely to get bored very quickly).
There are no multi player options available for the DS version of this game.
Due to the 2 dimensional game play I realise that it would not be possible to have a 2 player co-op mode, but it would be possible to have a 2 player bout or slug fest between the characters of the movie.
This feature, with the possibility of going online, would have increased the longetivity of this game and, in my opinion, made it a game worth keeping.
This is a very short game that can be completed in just a few hours, which I found went very quickly. The attractive graphics, and good sound makes it highly addictive and it will be difficult to put down.
I don't think that there is any replay value in this game once the story mode has been completed, therefore I would recommend renting it rather than buying it, unless you are a great fan of the Kung Fu Panda merchandise and think it would be a good keep sake and collectible to retain with the DVD.
****Price & availability****
Kung Fu Panda is widely available from both online and offline retailers. The price seems to vary greatly and at the time of writing it is available for £14.99 (excluding P&P) form Play.com and £20.33 (excluding P&P) from Game-Stock.com.
If you are going to buy this game new then I would suggest doing a bit of shopping around for the best price.
Kung Fu Panda is a 2 dimensional platform scrolling game that is good fun to play. The audio and graphics are superb and really complement each other which all makes for an enjoyable and addictive game.
In the early stages of the game the touch screen combat controls work exceptionally well although once all the features are unlocked the DS does seem to get a bit confused. This is a frustration rather than a major issue.
This game is ideal for gamers of all age groups and all abilities although seasoned gamers are likely to get bored very quickly.
This game can be, and is likely to be, completed quickly. Once the game has been completed in story mode I think that it would be left on the shelf collecting dust, therefore I would recommend renting this game as opposed to buying it unless you are thinking of keeping it as a collectible.
Based on the DreamWorks Animation high-octane martial arts movie Kung Fu Panda, Kung Fu Panda the Game takes you on an action-packed adventure through the movie and beyond. Battle against Tai Lung and his minions, navigate awesome environments, and overcome dangerous obstacles on your quest to become the legendary Dragon Warrior.