Tao Feng: Fist of the Lotus

Overview

The fighting genre has been pretty sluggish this year, with little to no releases for the genre, the Xbox was in need of one. Microsoft seeing this opportunity took it by signing the Co-Creator of Mortal Kombat John Tobias to develop the latest Microsoft release - Tao Feng: Fist of Lotus - a bone crunching adventure that is lacking some depth.

Gameplay

When you hear the phrase ’Co-Creator of Mortal Kombat’, a lot of things come to mind, but mainly this is going to be one bloody action packed fun game. Not only is Tao Feng a bloody game, it has taken the phrase "bone crunching" to a new level. Now throughout your fights your bones can be torn apart and this will effect how effective your attacks are.

Tao Feng: Fist of Lotus takes place in Metro China (actually known as California), where two ancient sects, the Pale Lotus and the Black Mantis battle for dominance. Both sides are trying to recover some ancient artifacts that grant immortality. Basically the whole story comes together when you get into the quest mode. Each fighter has a peace of the artifact, in which they put up as a "wager" when they fight you.

The game modes of Tao Feng include Versus, Quest, Survival, Team Battle, Tournament, and Training. I would definitely start the game out by going through the basic training to learn at least the basics of the game, and then if needed the advanced training. Some of these modes are pretty self-explanatory, but I will go through some of the key modes.

The Team Battle mode probably being the key multiplayer mode in which you and a friend select up to six different characters in order of who will fight. The team that eliminates the whole other team is the victor. This is actually an interesting multiplayer mode that can stir up some heated battles. The tournament mode is a pretty easy mode, you set up a tournament with up to eight fighters and who ever wins the most points (by winning fights) is the champion.

Tao Feng doesn’t exactly play like you would expect it to. Instead of having individual rounds for the fights, you are given three sets of health bars and whoever drains them first loses. So the whole fight is cumulative, which means that there isn’t much time for breaks. With a total of twelve fighters, each with there own unique set of moves, you will find it best to find a character and stick with him for the long haul.

What Tao Feng ultimately comes down to is poor execution in the actual gameplay department. The fighting system just doesn’t seem to be very fluid, and is one that can become tediously boring. As you go through the game you will find that there is going to be a lot of time waiting for the computer to leave an opening and then shooting out a quick combo, and then again waiting. It all boils down to knowing a few combos and just using them, over, and over, and over again.

The sound of a fighter is always an important ingredient, and luckily Studio Gigante does a pretty nice job of it. The background music goes throughout the levels match to the environment that you are in, which is a nice feature. Along with the background music is voice acting a lot of it. There is also 5.1 Surround Sound support which I am always for. The only poor portion of the sound is that you cannot throw in your own custom soundtrack.

Graphics

The one thing that Tao Feng does correctly is its graphics. This has to be the highest point for the game. The character models are probably the most noticeable of the games graphics. Each character has their own unique look to them. Let’s just say some of these characters aren’t the prettiest things in the world, but in a graphical standpoint look very good.

The environments stay on the same nice path as the characters. The environments are extremely detailed and look excellent. Although the environments are still pretty two dimensional, Studio Gigante did a pretty nice job of making some extremely detailed and interactive environments.

All in all there isn’t much to complain about when it comes to Tao Feng’s graphics. The one minor flaw that seemed to happen every once in a while was slowdown. This is really the only thing that is holding back the game’s graphics, and luckily it is only a minor flaw.

Fun Factor

Tao Feng is a game that has a lot going for it. Being developed by the Co-Creator of Mortal Kombat, along with amazing visuals, and being heavily advertised by Microsoft, you would expect the game to be a lot better. Even with that being said the game still is lacking some variety and a solid fighting engine. Things just get way to repetitive, and the lack of any supernatural kind of powers, makes the game even less interesting. Not all is bad though, this is still a decent fighter that you can definitely have a good time with, you just have to be patient.

Overall

Even with the major gameplay flaws, Tao Feng is not a bad game by any stretch, but a game that could definitely use some work. If you are looking for a fighter then go check it out. I am not sure I would recommend it as a purchase, but Tao Feng makes for an excellent rental.

The owner and editor-in-chief of Darkstation.com. I've been apart of the website since 2002 and purchased the website in 2010. Owning and running Darkstation is a dream come true. I love video games and I love writing and talking about them even more.