|System: PS3 (PSN)||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Tarsier Studios||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: SONY||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Apr. 9, 2009||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
February 25, 2009 - Action figures are definitely one of the universal symbols of childhood and certainly have a special place in the hearts of children everywhere. Although playing with action figures has generally been relegated to a rug or lawn, all the fun of playing with your favorite action figures is coming to the PlayStation Network later this year in Rag Doll Kung-Fu: Fists of Plastic - a title that has plenty of personality and lots of Kung-Fu action figures!
If the name sounds slightly familiar, it is because Rag Doll Kung-Fu began its life on the PC. However, the game has taken on new life in the years since its release due to some of its original developers joining Media Molecule, the company behind last year's mega-hit LittleBigPlanet. Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic will differ from its PC counterpart in several ways, including more focused modes, better graphics, and, of course, control that is deeper than just a few mouse clicks.
The game is structured a lot like other action brawler games and has a main story/adventure mode at its heart. This mode will be adventure-based and revolve around collecting items and fighting off baddies who would try and stop you from reaching your goal. The different levels will challenge players to use both their environment (which includes plenty of platforms you can strategically use to your advantage) as well as using crazy king-fu moves. One really cool aspect of this mode is that it is built for co-op and will have support for up to four different local players.
In addition to the main mode, there will also be several mini-game modes that will allow you to compete against friends. One such mode is "King of the Hill." As you might expect, it involves your ability to protect a certain area from infiltration by other characters. Another mini-game mode, Capture the Fish, challenges players to keep possession of a certain fish and drop it in specially designated areas. All of these modes look to be great fun to experience with friends, and they'll definitely make this game a hit with parties and casual gamers.
Also, in addition to the various play modes, there will also be a creation mode, which will allow you to take little action figure parts that you have unlocked during regular play and use them to make your own kung-fu character. Although the creation element doesn't seem to be all that deep, creating your own action figures sounds like a lot of fun, and the collection element could add quite a bit of depth to the gameplay.
Another facet of Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic that will probably make it very appealing for casual gamers will be the control scheme. The game's combat mechanic and basic actions will feel very familiar and use buttons for various attacks. However, Rag Doll Kung Fu will also use the PS3's motion controls to enhance moves. The game uses a special "chi" system that allows you to chain together simple moves and then release a devastating motion-based attack when your meter has reached max capability. This use of motion controls seems very intuitive, and is a logical (yet fun) use of the PS3's often-overlooked motion control capabilities.
The graphics in Rag Doll Kung-Fu: Fists of Plastic are very stylized and take the action figure motif to a new level. The playable characters have a very polished, plastic sheen to them, and the different backgrounds are very vivid and add to the surreal look of the game. Although the graphics aren't particularly impressive on a technical level, the stylistic look of the game is certainly unique and emphasizes this title's crazy kung fu premise.
Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic is shaping up to be yet another distinctive addition to the PlayStation Network service. With plenty of martial arts action and a very unique style that recalls your favorite action figures from the past, this is definitely a title worth looking into when it releases later this year!
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Staff Contributor