Tao Feng: the hidden gem of Tobiass post-MK departure
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Tao Feng: the hidden gem of Tobiass post-MK departure
06/27/2014 02:32 PM EDT
Wasn't really sure where to put this, but since it's MK related, this made the most sense.

So this story starts earlier this week, while i was staying with a net friend in Cornwall. I skimmed through his Xbox games collection (i like to do this with people's CDs, DVDs and games, because i think you can tell what a person is like by the things they like, a notion introduced by John Cusak's character in High Fidelity... but anyway) and found a curious angry face on the cover of a game called Tao Feng. Listed at the top as coming from the co-creator of MK, i immediately recognised who it meant, and what i was holding. With glee i was allowed to put in this rare artefact and give it a bash, and here's my review.

First impressions left me stunned and excited. Considering the timing, (released 2003) it bears more than a very strong graphical resemblance to MKDA, so much so that the two could merge almost seamlessly.

Characters and story: Tobias clearly put the same kind of effort and devotion into creating a plausible setting (Metro-China) for an interesting story premise (clan rivalry) with in-built faux spirituality that flows naturally, all in a generously well-presented booklet. 12 Excellent character designs (with two costumes each) all have deep backstory summaries, all of which doesn't beat you around the head (lol) if you choose to ignore it altogether and just go straight to the fighting. Some name choices are truly badass (Exile, Geist, Iron Monk, Wulong Goth) while some just sound dodgy (was it necessary to have a 'Divinity' and a 'Divine Fist'?)

Options and Fighting:
The options menu lacks for no essentials. While pretty standard it includes every basic need. The fighting flows really nicely most of the time, so i'm just going to go ahead with a list of positives and negatives.

+ Chi-moves (the 'special' moves) comparable to X-ray moves in execution, in that there's a bar that, once full, allows the player to use a big devastating move while showing a bit of personality (and even has the move's name 'called out' which doesn't feel too expositional to refer to another topic)
+ Interactive environments, poles to swing off, and walls to run off and over (similar to MKX)
+Full 3D movement controlled the same way as MKvsDC utilising both D-pad and stick.
+intro/outro dialogue
+Full body and clothing damage shown in real time. MK at the same time was only doing faces.
+Limb Damage – a unique mechanic that punishes serial blockers and adds realism.

- No specials other than Chi-moves
-slow responsiveness to controls. Meaning your timing has to be very accurate which makes some of the longer combos really impossible
-AI can be really dickish even on easy (but I haven't even played for a full week, so that might have something to do with it)
-'back' to block. It isn't like this game doesn't balance blocking, so this was unnecessary.
-'Dynamic' camera angles switch around – meaning you can switch positions because of the way the camera moves and back again in the space of a long combo.
-the two cons listed above working together means sometimes you'll run towards instead of block, and vice versa.

Quite frankly, it's a terrible shame nothing more came to pass on this game's lifespan, since it has so much to offer. Despite the obvious flaws, it's still a great game that I found very replayable. If there had been a sequel, many of the bugs would probably have been worked out. Can I start a revivalist movement here and now? Killer Instinct got one, and look how that turned out!! Go to the internet shopping sites and hunt this down! As MK enthusiasts I swear you won't be disappointed (overall) by this piece of memorabilia, and maybe we can make a sales movement. I imagine Microsoft own the rights (another similarity with KI) since it was an X-box only release.

Even better, (and this is pure fanboy jizz material) would be a crossover or merger with MK. I know it's never going to happen but it really could happen. Nothing about the games are too dissimilar that they wouldn't just “fit”.

I'm going to post more on the individual characters after i've played more. Oh yeah, the story ends with me being given my friend's copy of the game, and now that i'm home, no prizes for guessing what i'm going to do later...

(... no not that, I already masturbated earlier.)

tl;dr just read the first and last paragraphs.
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RE: Tao Feng: the hidden gem of Tobiass post-MK departure
07/09/2014 08:25 PM EDT
I've only played the game once, (Didnt really get to dig into the story) and it didn't leave quite the same positive impression. I remember being super excited about the game when I saw commercials for it back in the day. When i finally played the game years later, i remember the game feeling clunky. It had a pretty good foundation, but the game really enforces the fact that Tobias is very much an art/story guy. Lead design just wasn't his thing. I mean that with all due respect of course, but its just the impression that his games have left me with.

Maybe one day I'll give the game another chance. Hopefully I'll appreciate it a little more.

You work with what you got...not what you hope for.

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RE: Tao Feng: the hidden gem of Tobiass post-MK departure
07/10/2014 04:47 AM EDT
I never got to play this as I didn't have a Xbox when the game was released. I'd like to play it now though after seeing some gameplay vids.
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RE: Tao Feng: the hidden gem of Tobiass post-MK departure
07/31/2014 07:38 AM EDT
A gem? I'm sorry but no. The game was a clunky unresponsive mess and it got the treatment it deserved. It had some good ideas in it, some cool characters (SOME!) and to this day still looks great but a good game it was not.
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