Invincible Tiger: The Legend of Han Tao

Quite often, when people discuss the Xbox Live Arcade Titles, you’ll hear phrases like “looking through rose-tinted glasses” as you realise a game you loved ten years ago just isn’t all that nowadays. In the case of Invincible Tiger, depending on your available technology, you can literally find yourself viewing the world through cyan and red-tinted spectacles.

Invincible Tiger: The Legend of Han Tao is a side-scrolling beat-’em up without too much scroll. Each level is set, for want of a better description, in a multi-tiered arena and sees you fight off wave after wave of martial arts menaces. Playing as Han Tao, one time kick-ass legend and now a drunken has-been, you’re trying to retrieve the Star of Destiny which has been stolen (along with it’s attractive red box packaging) by the Evil Overlord.

As you fight, using a combination of buttons to pull off various combos, you will come across enemies in possession of a soul mask. Defeat them and the mask is yours. While in possession of a mask your health with slowly regenerate, which is nice, but if you can get three of them and make an offering at a dragon statue you’re granted the kung-fun equivalent of a smart bomb which will destroy every enemy in the arena at the time.

Invincible Tigeris a standard beat-’em up in terms of gameplay. It’s also a bit hard – expect to spending your points on extra lives a fair bit – and that’s before you get to the end of level bosses. The bosses, on the whole, are not too challenging once you’ve worked out their moves – a lot of dodging will see you in a good position to beat them down.

So that’s Invincible Tiger, it’s a standard beat-’em up at a slightly more than standard price. It’s 1200MS points to play, which is a little bit steep when you compare this title to the previous few weeks where the same pointage brought you insanely simple, but hideously addictive, motorcycle gymnastics or Castlevania-esque conspiracy thwarting gun-play.

The reason for the price, though, can be found in the options menu. You see the bit that says “3D options”. That’s where the money goes. You have three options in here. You can play in normal boring 2D, or you can increase the dimensions with the other options. If you have a fancy-shmancy top of the range 3D capable television then you’re sorted. If, like me, you don’t but you do have some 3D glasses that came with the DVD release of Spy Kids 3Dthen choose the old red-cyan 3D mode and pop on the glasses. Now, I will admit that I was incredibly sceptical about the spectacles – I have memories of Saturday morning children’s TV being filmed in 3D and sitting in front of the TV with my glasses expecting Philip Schofield to pop up in my front room and it was a bit, you know, pap. Philip was not in my room. He was just a bit blurry and vaguely reddish-blue.

Upon donning the glasses and starting the game I felt the same as when Pip didn’t arrive on my carpet. Wearing the googles reduces the sharpness of the game, and all the colours become a bit washed out. Once my eyes had adjusted (and I’d worked out how to balance the 3D glasses in conjunction with my actual real-life glasses) things changed. It was in freakin’ 3D. It’s hard to explain, but it actually worked. Things popped out, the score seemed to be on a different plane to the characters and the swirling petals blowing across the stage were actually right in front of my eyes.

The game was still bloody hard though, and the 3D stuff is a novelty rather than a crucial part of the game. Not to mention the fact that your eyes take a while to adjust back to normal colours when your remove the glasses.


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