Kung Fu Live

When Kung Fu Live was offered to the Ready Up reviewers as a Playstation Eye Kung Fu game, my head filled with misty-eyed nostalgia for the Kung Fu minigame in the old PS2 title, EyeToy Play. It was a simple game, where you stood there and swatted hundreds of tiny ninjas out of the air with your giant fists as the camera tracked your outline.

Kung Fu Live, though in principle similar, is a whole different kettle of Kung Fu fish. It still tracks your body using a camera, but it tracks all of your body, from head to toe, allowing for kicks and punches. You can even jump and kick for an air attack, and make special shapes with your body to activate special attacks.

The game is presented to you as a comic book, where you are literally inserted into the comic by means of being asked to pose in certain poses in front of the camera before each comic book segment. The voice acting is cheesy, but I’m sure deliberately so, as a homage to all those similar Kung Fu films of the past. After each animated comic book segment is the bulk of the game, the fight, where you are magically cropped out from whatever you are standing in front of and placed into the game as a normal game-character sized fighter. You’re not puppeting an animated character with a limited range of moves – it is literally the live video of you inserted into the game. Enemies attack, and you kick, punch and flail your way around the screen until you have defeated them. It’s a brilliant concept.

But – and it is a big (almost Jennifer Lopez sized) but – it didn’t really work. The first time I tried to play it was in the evening, and my living room is not well lit, thanks largely to the fact you can’t legally buy a lightbulb that actually works anymore. I discovered this after I had already dragged my sofa to one side of the room, along with the coffee table just to make enough space. Like Kinect, this game needs a lot of space, as it needs to see your entire body, with space for you to move left and right too. Having made this effort, I tried to play, only to find that my character frequently had holes in him, the game would not detect one or more of my arms, and when I was picked up in my entirety, so was a large chunk of the background scenery. However, it did track my legs well and I found that I could kick reasonably well, and the jump kicks worked fairly effectively.

Determined to give the game a fair try, I decided to wait until I could try it in the cold light of day. When I had the chance, I dragged the sofa out of the way, opened the curtains wide, and even hung a large plain sheet over the bookshelf behind me to give the game a fair chance to pick me out. I even tried lighting some extra lamps to brighten the room. Sadly, it was still no better and so with only a little more play I gave up in frustration.

It might work for you, if perhaps you have a room with much better lighting, with clear walls and you already have the space free – but I gave this game every chance I could and it simply didn’t work for me, and so I can’t recommend it. A shame, as I like the concept a lot.







3 responses to “Kung Fu Live”

  1. Steven Chandler avatar
    Steven Chandler

    I can’t see these ever working, these games where you need to rent a ballroom to move around in. I spend my day on my feet. I want to sit down and relax….

  2. Simon avatar

    You and your partially visible limbs.

  3. JohnnySix avatar

    Where do you get off thinking you Can Do Kung Fu anyway? My cousin would kick your ass in real life. He practises with bags hanging from the ceiling an’ that. Obviously the game just couldn’t make sense of your bizarre bodyshape, and the PS3 nearly crashed trying to interpret you.

    (Am I your first Flame? Do I get a prize? A soon-to-be-obsolete 1st gen 3G iPad would suffice.)

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