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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Fighting

 

Publisher

Microsoft

 

Developer

Studio Gigante / House of Moves

 

ESRB

M (Mature)

 

Released

Q1 2003

 

 

- A game for the nuance fighters
- Training mode actually comes in handy
- Solid presentation

 

 

- Insanely long combos that are hard (or impossible) to perform
- Could be termed a turned-based tactical game

 

 

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Toa Feng: Fist of the Lotus

Score: 6.9 / 10

 

tao feng fist of the lotus xbox review          tao feng fist of the lotus xbox review

 

I guess when I read that Toa Feng: Fist of the Lotus (TF) would feature limb damage, I had something else in mind, particularly after the print ads started popping up. I’ve long advocated that extreme sports games feature realistic injuries , but so far no one has taken up the gauntlet. Sure, there has been a move to replicate road rash, etc. but no one ever breaks a bone, which is why TF had me anticipating how “limb damage” was going to be implemented. If you’re expecting compound fractures you’ll be disappointed – and that may just be the beginning of your disappointment.

If you’re looking for button-mashing fun, forget it. I’m not sure I should use this term but TF is a “thinking man’s fighter.” It’s like playing an extreme hand of poker,

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complete with kicks to the face and pile drivers. It’s almost turn-based. Matches typically turn into exchanges of combos. If you don’t grasp this fact, you’ll be trounced by the AI. In games like Dead or Alive 3, Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO, or Mortal Kombat 4 amateur players can often win matches by rapid button presses. They may not win as easily (or as spectacularly) as a nuance player but at

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least there’s some fun to be had. Unless you’re hardcore into the fighting genre, there’s not a lot to get out of TF because actually executing combo moves takes a good memory, incredible concentration and quick reflexes.

The simplest combos are about 3 button presses. Longform Combos can be as long as 11 (depending on the character) making the Training mode mandatory if you want success rather than an armload of frustration. Playing TF over the last two weeks I’ve probably been able to perform only four or five Longform Combos – spread over the 12 available characters. And only during training mode. During an actual match I could get as far as the fifth or sixth button press before fumbling and loosing any momentum I’ve built up. Also, where’s the creativity? The issue of combos becomes moot when battling human opponents – unless they’ve put in a lot more practice. And it should be noted that, like most fighters, TF is a ton of fun with human opponents, so with that in mind, it might be worth a rental if your house is party central.

 

tao feng fist of the lotus xbox review          tao feng fist of the lotus xbox review


TF also features Chi Attacks, which are powered by successfully pummeling your opponents. Once the Chi meter is filled, you can unleash character specific specialty attacks. A Chi Attack can knock the balance in your favor, especially if the attack mostly stuns them and you can try out a combo move. The energy from the Chi meter can also be funneled to heal yourself.

Besides Training, the other modes include Team Battle, Tournament, Versus, Quest and Survival, which are all self-explanatory. Quest mode tasks you with acquiring pieces of “sacred treasure” by beating members of the opposing faction. Actually, there’s a back-story to all this but you’re unlikely to care. You’ll get as far as the Pale Lotus/Black Mantis, ying-yang factions and start playing.

The 12 playable characters (at the outset) are your typical assortment of miscreants and heroes, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Whether bloody or bruised or flipping off walls to cause serious hurt, they look good, but why, oh, why do the female characters wear clothing that would rip away in a strong breeze? There is sex appeal – undeniably – but I’m finally at that point in my life where I question the need for all the 38DD jiggling and revealing clothes. Besides which, why don’t they ever come free?

But let's get back to limb damage…

When you receive limb damage, your punches or kicks – depending on which limbs are damaged – are reduced in effectiveness by 50%. Yipee. Forget about broken bones, dislocated joints or even limping. TF looks and moves great, with some brilliantly destructible environments and smooth animation (unlike the first fighter from Microsoft, Kakuto Chojin, which is brutal according to most). So why couldn’t there be visible physical injuries?

If you’re looking for a more turn-based and strategic fighter that requires a bucket of skill, Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus is the answer. However, if you like fighters that are elegant like freight trains playing chicken – raw power and accessible – then skip it.


- Omni
(April 19, 2003)

 

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