Reviewed: November 23, 2008
Released: November 4, 2008
Not too long ago Activision released Kung Fu Panda on all systems prior to the film’s release. The film was a huge success and the original video game was quite fun to be honest. Now several months later with the release of the film on DVD, Activision releases its newest endeavor into Po’s world with the release of Kung Fu Panda: Legendary Warriors for the Nintendo DS.
The story of this adventure takes place after the events of the movie. Po defeats the evil Tai Lung in the original game and the film and everything returns to normal…kind of. Po becomes the Dragon warrior and it seems Mr. Big bad Kitty is not quite defeated. As revenge Tai Lung captures 4 of the Furious Five and it’s up to Po and Tigress to tale out the trash once and for all.
I never did play the original title for the DS so my comparison to it will be next to nil. I did however play the 360 version so I do have feel for the subject matter and the title’s interworking. With that said everyone get in the Kung Fu spirit as I review this newest venture into awesomeness.
Gameplay wise Legendary Warriors plays out closer to its original console counterparts in almost every way than the Spidey clone that the first DS title was. Kung Fu gets a facelift as things go 3D in this adventure platformer.
As I mentioned before, Tai Lung captures the majority of the Furious Five to steal their Chi energy to become powerful enough to get revenge. This is where you the player come in. You must play as Po and Tigress, in separate although sometimes reused levels to fight across in an effort to save your friends and deal with Tai Lung.
Each level has you fighting in a side scrolling fashion to the end fighting various bad guys and the occasional bosses that appear. The main difference is that Po is not alone in his fight. Players can choose to play as the slow but powerful Po or the fast graceful Tigress. Of the two Tigress is my favorite character to play…sorry Po back to the noodle shop for you.
Each character has light and heavy attacks, which can be strung together to create combo chains. By combining these attacks and defeating enemies you collect orbs to raise you Ki (or Multiplier). As long as you attack and defeat you foes without taking damage your multiplier will increase making you attacks do more damage. If you do take damage or let too much time pass your Ki gauge will drop.
Each character also has a special attack that they can execute after they have built up enough Chi. Chi is basically the stress level of each character that rises as they are attacked or attacking. Once the icon is filled players can activate the character’s special attacks. Players must tap the icon then trace the symbol that appears on the screen to pull of the move. Doing this is rather clumsy at best as it easier to do with a finger than with the stylus. If you do manage to pull it off then the character will perform an unblockable attack.
After the various burst of fighting, players can heal their character by pressing the R button. Doing so costs nothing, but if you do have to heal your multiplier gauge will drop. Time is of the essence and you need those orbs to help you get the best possible score. As you fight you also rack up a points score. You are then rewarded stars by hitting predetermined point levels. By collecting stars you then unlock abilities such as the 5X multiplier and more health.
Kung Fu Panda: Legendary Warriors also features to interesting features that players don’t see very often on a handheld title. The presence of an achievement system can be found in this title. While achievements are something the gaming community is no stranger to (thanks to Microsoft) it is a rather welcome surprise. The other addition is that this DS title is capable of syncing with the Wii counterpart of the same game. Doing so will unlock multiplier content on any Wii.
Graphically, Legendary Warriors is pretty impressive. The DS is not a system that is known for its graphics, but regardless of that fact this title’s graphics are very pleasant to look at. The environments are well designed and the level designs are pretty impressive. Occasionally some of the foreground objects will obstruct you view at times, mainly while fighting I found out. But all together I found everything from the environments to the character designs to be very pleasing.
Kung Fu Panda: Legendary Warriors is not only pleasant to the eye but the ear as well. The title is full of effective sound effects and the music that provides the player with a fun backdrop in which to fight to. Legendary Warriors does not include any voice acting so all of the story telling is done with static imagery.
Value wise, Kung Fu Panda: Legendary Warriors is a fairly short title. The DS is also known for its multiplayer capability, but this title lacks any such mode. On the plus side there is some replay value as the achievements will make the player replay any levels that they did not get all the stars for.
All in all I found Kung Fu Legendary Warriors to be a welcome addition to Activision’s Kung Fu Panda line up. While the adventure is a short one I found it to be enjoyable and fun. This title retails for $30 dollars at your local retailers. I recommend picking up this title for anyone looking for a fun fighter.