Posted in: Game Reviews by Archive Authors on May 9th, 2003
Rumblin’ time is here for the Xbox videogame console and Tao Feng from Microsoft may have just have you whooping it up with great combos, slick graphics, and interesting game characters. New this month, Tao Feng is Microsoft’s answer to the Tekken series which calls the PS2 home.
Developed by the guys that brought you Mortal Kombat, players can select fighters from one of two factions in the game: the Pale Lotus and the Black Mantis. Each of these sects has strong …ighters which use several different fighting techniques to get the job done. You, as the player, will spend time discovering new moves and honing the skills you have acquired in battle to smash, break, and tear down all who come before you.
One thing can be said for sure about Tao Feng, and that is that it’s a pretty decent looking title to look at whilst you are playing. Even though the game does not run in HDTV like some other Xbox titles do, the way the visuals appear might have you thinking it is running in a higher resolution. Smooth, deep colors, highly polygonal characters, and polished textures are all standard issue here, and the effect is quite pleasing on the eye.
One of the great features with Tao Feng is the ability to smash and break objects on the map while you are mixing it up with an opponent. Wood splinters, glass breaks, lamps and statues fall and crumble when an enemy is thrown or beaten into it. Going hand in hand with the impressive backgrounds is the nice lighting and particle effects that show up here. Sunlight, shadows, fire and other atmospheric effects are done quite well and make for a truly interactive level.
Players with the home theater hookup can look forward to some great audio to be coming from Tao Feng as it is presented in Dolby Digital. The thudding blows and shattering furniture all sound crisp and clean on a standard HT setup. The sub-woofer gets a special workout when the characters launch into combo attacks and Chi attacks.
Music and speech are of the standard fare and are middle of the road for a fighting title such as this. The taunts that the in game characters use are funny sometimes though, so there is some interesting things to be heard during the heat of battle.
Players can mix it up with some creative looking characters like Master Sage, Wulong Goth, Vapor, Jade Dragon, Divinity, Iron Monk, Divine Fist, Exile, Geist and several others. There are special attacks and even some variations of the above fighter that can be used in battle.
Fighting is pretty straight forward with players executing moves with a series of combo button presses, yet, it never really rises much above just basic button smashing. Tao Feng does have the option of letting the player use an Arcade Stick to do battle with, and so using on might have better results over the standard S-Controller button layout.
Each character can do a special attack, known as a Chi Attack, while they are in a match with an enemy. While you fight, the Chi meter fills and when it is full, you can unleash a devastating attack on your opponent. Each character has a Chi attack which is specific to them, so the results are varied and fun to explore. The framerates seen here are quick and fluid and quite polished for a console fighter.
All of the fighters can take significant damage and one of the key features to Tao Feng is the ability to cause Limb Damage on your opponent. The HUD display will flash when your enemy is about to receive Limb Damage, and if you execute the next series of moves correctly, you can cause them to lose the ability of a limb. This helps tremendously in allowing you to win the match as your enemy will no longer have use of that limb.
You can, of course, use a full Chi meter to heal a broken limb rather than unleash a Chi attack, and here is where careful strategy comes into play. Using the right combination of mid, low, and high attacks at varying distances coupled with Chi attacks will finish the battle with minimal damage to you.
Up to two players can get the fight on in Tao Feng, yet there is no LIVE support for online play. Online would have been a perfect feature for a title like this but players will have to content themselves with inviting over another friend and only having the one on one.
Even so, Tao Feng is a good fighter and certainly one to experience on the Xbox. The slick graphics, nice framerates, interactive fighting arenas and battle options, are all good reasons to spend some time with it this summer.