Chu’s Dynasty Review

jmaltz@pnosker.com December 14, 2010 0

Chu’s Dynasty is a game that aims to address the lack of fighting games in the Xbox LIVE Indie Marketplace:.  In order to do this, the team at TribeToy has combined the strategic fighting you see in the Street Fighter with the multi-tiered stage design the Super Smash Brothers series.  At times, Chu’s Dynasty, the end result of this vision succeeds brilliantly at delivering a solid fighting title at a low price.  However, at others it reveals its low budget nature.

Right from the get-go, you are immersed in the world of the Far East.  Everything in the game, from the character and stage design to the hokey story simply screams 16th century Asia, truly giving it a sense of place which is sometimes lacking in fighting games.  The art style really is one of the high points of the game, rendering the game’s pagoda and fire laden stages in colorful 2D.

Unfortunately, the beautiful graphics cover up some more unsavory technical issues.  Chu’s Dynasty supports up to four players on screen at once and is able to handle 3 effectively.  However, once the last person jumps in,  the engine experiences notable slowdown and stuttering.  The change isn’t game breaking, but it just makes the whole experience feel unpolished and lessens the fun of massive brawls.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b3w4S6JcSP4

Once combat boils down to just one-on-one, things brighten considerably for this brawler.  True to their promise, the developers have replicated the strategic sort of fighting that characterizes Capcom’s famous fighter, meaning that even at the lowest levels you can’t expect to button mash and get very far.  Your standard attack set is about what you’d expect, with the ability throw quick attacks, strong attacks, throws and also block with ease.  Adding depth to this is the ability to manipulate time to your advantage.  Although your character can’t enter bullet time, he or she can record attacks and then use them in the future or open up a rift in time to drop enemies from great heights.  Put together, all of these mechanics make for an enjoyable and deep fighting system that should satisfy fans of Street Fighter style combat.

The other part of the equation, the multi-tiered fighting isn’t executed quite as well.  To be sure, it does add a nice dimension to the action, forcing you to consider different angles of attack while simultaneously ensuring that group combat isn’t just everyone piled in one place.  However, it sometimes becomes difficult to traverse different levels.  You’re almost certain to encounter a situation where your character is stuck on a ledge as you frantically press down on the control stick, only to have your combatant continually crouch in vain.  Much like some of the other problems, it isn’t game breaking, but it does take you out of the action and hurt the experience.

Problems like these don’t hold back Chu’s Dynasty from being an enjoyable experience, but they do hold it back from being a great one.  Tribetoy’s brawler comes in with a lot of potential, but that is hamstrung how difficult it is to smoothly fight with three of your friends at once.  Problems a thin story and repetitive character noises ensure that If you go into Chu’s Dynasty expecting perfection, you will almost assuredly be disappointed.  Nonetheless, if you can overlook the thin campaign mode and difficulty in playing with groups there is some fun to be had.
 

[Chu's Dynasty]-240 MSP

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