Kung Fu Rider – Falls Flat

I knew what I was getting into when I order Kung Fu Rider from Amazon on the cheap a couple of weeks ago. I wanted to try to the game when it was originally released; seemed like an original and innovative gaming experience. Move support was a bonus.

Unfortunately the game was panned. When you see a Metritic score of 36 (45 Critic Reviews) you know there are some issues with a game. Not only was Kung Fu Rider considered awful, it was considered an extremely poor use of the Move controller, which was sort of the point.

You may be asking yourself, WTF is wrong with me? Why did this poor bloke pick up such a piece of shit for a game? Well, I have never been one to have my opinion formed by the pundits, and I go back to that previously mentioned original and innovative gaming experience. I like different games. Not necessarily different games that suck, but in this case the price point was low enough that I figured I would see if I could get some enjoyment from Kung Fu Riders with the kids.

Let’s get this out of the way – the concept is brilliant; however the execution with the Move controller is extremely poor. The game is repetitive (a real grind if you are after some of the Trophies). The graphics are best described as on par with the Dreamcast. In fact, I would say Kung Fu Rider is akin to Crazy Taxi or even Space Channel 5 (Dreamcast – i.e. Kung Fu Rider is very much off the beaten path).

Some of the motion controls with the Move are a pain in the ass to pull off, mostly because of button placement and unresponsiveness. Collection detection is poor; I would say more than 50% of my crashes are due to WTF experiences, leaving me scratching my head wondering what I did wrong.

Except for the language, this play-through video series (I think there are 11) was similar to my experience playing with two of my three boys. The oldest refuses to play – not sure if he has decided the game is too cartoonish (he likes Crazy Taxi so maybe that is not it) or he looked those Metacritic scores and decided to let the score form his opinion (too bad; need to break him of that).

Trophies
The Trophy list is one of the worst I can remember seeing in a game. Some of the Trophies feel like outright luck, while some of the others are going to require a ton grinding.

I’m currently sitting at 47% complete, with four Trophies left.

CHAIRMASTER (hidden – Gold): Attain S rank on all missions. I’m currently going for this one using the co-op mode with my 9 year old son. My 4.5 year old also ‘plays’ but not really; as long as he is having fun, and he is, that is sort of the point.

I’m flabbergasted there is not a Trophy for completing all the levels. My guess is that we will give up on this one before we manage S ranks in all the levels. Really depends on how long I can refrain from cussing, and how long it takes for my boys to give up on the game, moving along to something else more interesting.

BUSINESS NUISANCE (Silver): Destroy 100 red signs. Major grind. I think I have somewhere between 25-35; have not bothered to check my records.

MEDAL COLLECTOR (Silver): Obtain all collectible medals. To me this one is going to be a major grind, and maybe not worth the effort. On the first bonus level, there is a medal on top of a van. Only problem is that for me, it looks impossible to reach. I have wasted at least 20-30 minutes of my life trying to get that 20th medal. Then there are the other bonus medal levels to tackle. I hear ‘screw that’ in my head as I am writing this article.

CHAIN MASTER (Bronze): Achieve a 30 chain. I may be able to eventually get this one, but the controls are so frustrating and the collision detection is so substandard, that it feels like it will take a minor miracle to earn this one. Due to all the issues with the game, this one could have easily have been a Silver.

Summary
Is the game as poor as the ratings indicate? Yes. Is it a hopeless cause? Nope; if you can get past some of the issues, you may be able to find some enjoyment. As I said, the kids are having fun, which is the real point to me.

Kung Fu Rider should have been a PSN title, not a full retail rump. If you pick it up, expect the worst, hope for the best, and look for it as cheap as possible. I actually ‘completed’ the game (i.e. received Rank D or higher in all the main levels) at the 3 hour and 11 minute mark, and that was probably after spending 30-45 minutes in the medal free play levels.

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