Crowdsourcing can make dreams a reality… whether they have any right to exist or not. In 2014 a crowdsourcing campaign attempted to bring back a game franchise into the 21st century, in doing so took that game in a new direction, a game that inspired controversy among the community over its quality. In the success of its campaign, it proved that such legendary games can be reborn. So, it makes sense that this game is called Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn.
A young child is found abandoned in a river in China, he’s named Shaquille and grows up alienated because of his differences, Shaq is trained in the art of Wu Xing by a village elder, Ye-ye. But trouble strikes and Ye-ye is killed by the forces of the evil Wen-Yo-Lang, who has the diabolic plot of brainwashing civilisation with celebrities Shaq must now go on an epic quest, to defeat Wen-Yo-Lang and avenge his mentor and save humanity.
In moving into the 21st century, Shaq Fu has undergone some significant changes, Punching and kicking are still your go-to tools, but instead of being a Street Fighter contender, it’s a Street Of Rage style beat ‘em up. You unlock a wide selection of moves from the get-go, and as to be expected certain foes respond differently. Occasionally the player is given the ability to be outfitted with a robotic power suit, aptly named Shaq Diesel (a tribute to Shaq’s real life. Musical persona) and pick up weapons to make quick work of the opponents, that adds some variance to the onslaught. If you played a beat-‘em-up before you should be right at home here, even on the iPhone the game controlled well and is simple to pick up and go.
A Legend Reborn is a game that has double-downed on its humour, each one the text prompts is written with a comedic flair and there’s a lot of them. The game also is filled also with celebrity homages that feel like a deranged nightmarish South Park fever dream at times, with recognisable stars turning into hideous monstrosities for you to vanquish. Gone is the epic quest throughout The Second World, but now is a six-part trek through heightened, larger-than-life earth, from sunny Fiji to The Sunset Strip, they’re not as imaginative as the fantasy stages of the original Shaq, but still, have a high level of ascended observational details as its predecessor. Shaq himself provides a full rap song fully showcasing the creativity and comedy on display.
Shaq Fu the legend reborn keeps a lot of what makes the original so intriguing yet sacrifices a lot to become a fresh and enjoyable game in its own rights. It’s daring, but armed with wit, and a good combat system, managing to be easy to pick up and addictive. Shaq Fu’s chapter system makes it best suited for quick bouts of comedic combat on your daily commute, or taking a coffee break, or whenever you need to kill a couple of minutes. If you’re looking for a light-hearted fighting game or the continuing saga of Shaq, Shaq Fu is a legend you’ll want to return to.
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