Real Talk By: KJ
The Shaquille O’Neal Lead series takes a big turn in direction. Can the genre transition from 1 on 1 fighter to side-scrolling beat-em-up succeed? There’s no hiding the fact Shaq Fu (SNES/Genesis) is one of the worst games in existence. Enter: A Legend Reborn. What was once an Indiegogo campaign, is now a reality on PS4, XO, PC, and Nintendo Switch. Will this crowd-funded revival “Settle The Score of 94”?
Shaq Fei Hung voiced by the man himself is on a quest to uncover his true origin. This journey is filled with interesting foes and unique design choices. Motion comic cut-scenes tell the story. Fu takes big jabs at celebrities and pop culture in general. This makes for some interesting boss fights and dialogue exchanges between Shaq and enemies. Pay attention to background music as some lyrics are laugh-out-loud ridiculous. Some of the subject matter is borderline M Rated. The comical approach taken throughout makes some of its glaring flaws easier to deal with.
Visuals are unimpressive. Muddy Textures, and many environments lacking noticeable detail. Minus The Cover Star, many character models just look flat-out ugly. Given the cheap price tag its easier to come to terms, but it is still a let down. Early test footage used to pitch A Legend Reborn looked significantly better.
Fighting is a mixed bag. Combining normal attacks with your shoe will make for some powerful payoffs. Shaq’s footwear goes supersize (Battletoads style), sending baddies against the screen, or far into background areas. The basics work. You’ll accumulate Health, Energy, and coins when defeating enemies or smashing crates. The energy makes it so Shaq can perfom a forward charge, useful for evasion. Villain types include: Basic Thugs, Ninjas, Subpoena Throwing Lawyers, Zombified Bros, and much more. Enemies will try to surround the player. Stop them with your skill-set. Coins will drop from enemies but it only counts towards your level score. It’s a flashy arrangement of Martial Arts, but no upgrades of any sort, and this where the disappointment lies. Players must stick with the same moveset from start to finish. Another let down is the lack of any multiplayer. Definitely feels like a missed opportunity given the genre in use.
With Shaqtus mode engaged, O’Neal wears a full-body Cactus Suit. During these segments, players can launch unlimited/powerful needles until all enemies are defeated. As Shaq Diesel, players equip metal armor with super speed and fast punching abilities. Good to have even a bit of combat variation in a game where it’s almost nonexistent.
It seems as if this Fu was released prematurely. Zero multplayer options, or extra modes to speak of. Admittedly there are some areas which posed a challenge, but overall the average gamer will beat everything in under 3-4 hours. Honestly, all the Shaq fan service crammed into the game works well, and really they should have capitalized further. Comical Gold Bond references, there’s even an Icy Hot pick-up which can put life and energy at max. The makings are here for a legitimate comeback but the asking price is far too high for what’s available.
Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn Gets
2.5 out of 5
+ Solid Humor (Voice Acting/Music)
-Limited Shaq abilities