Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn Review

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The sequel that no one wanted to the game no one liked is finally here. Find out what we thought about it in our Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn Review!

Release Date June 5, 2018
Genre Beat ‘Em Up
Platforms Switch/PS4/XBO/PC
Developer Saber Interactive
Price $29.99 US
ESRB Rating Teen
Players 1 Player

 

*A copy of this game was provided to FYIG by Saber Interactive and Big Deez Productions for review purposes*

The original Shaq-Fu was released way back in 1994 and was a product of its time. This was an era where we had games like Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker, after all. The concept was simple, take Shaquille O’Neal (who was a huge basketball star at the time) and make him the main protagonist of a new fighting game. It made sense at the time considering that games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat were some of the top games available. Unfortunately what came of that combination ended up being universally-panned and Shaq-Fu is now considered one of the worst games of all-time. Even though Shaq-Fu wasn’t the greatest game, it has received a bit of a cult following over the years and the game mustered up enough support to get a sequel greenlit through Indiegogo which brings us to Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn.

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Enemies jump out from the screen and the background.

Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn is a much different game than its predecessor. This isn’t another fighting game. Instead, the developers chose to go with a Beat ‘Em Up style. I was pretty pleased with this direction for the game as it allowed Saber Interactive to keep things simple and fun. Shaq ends up getting attacked by hoards of enemies as he walks through different stages and you have to take them all out with various attacks. It’s as easy as that and it’s pretty fun for the most part.

The story is equally as simple as the orphan Shaquille struggles with bullying that comes from being 7 feet tall. An old man named Ye-Ye takes him under his wing and teaches him the ancient ways of Wu Xing. He grows up to master this fighting style and then he and Ye-Ye return to their home village to see it being attacked. Obviously, what comes next is Shaq fighting his way through each level to save his village.

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Shaq uses IcyHot as health.

It’s not a deep game by any stretch of the imagination and the same can be said for most Beat ‘Em Ups. You’re basically punching and kicking your way through each level. There are cool things like launching enemies at your own TV screen which was very reminiscent of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time. It’s still satisfying today and it’s a nice bit of nostalgia from a simpler time in gaming. There are some special kick moves that you can use by doing regular attacks to boost your kick meter up. These can be the kick to your TV screen (as I mentioned) or a big size 22 attack. Shaq can also dash from one side to the other and he can pick up weapons from time to time.

The levels are pretty long taking around 20-30 minutes to complete which is a nice change of pace from most Beat ‘Em Ups. There are plenty of different types of enemies including some that will force you to change your strategy if they have shields or if they shoot projectiles. Fortunately, Shaq has the ability to change into an armoured machine dubbed “Big Diesel”. It’s pretty awesome and pretty similar to Mecha-Michael Jackson in Moonwalker. The only thing you have to remember with “Big Diesel” is to release steam so that you don’t explode. He can even turn into a cactus called, “Shaqtus”, enough said. There are also some unique boss battles in each level, but I don’t want to give too many details away.

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Shaqtus is an interesting power-up where you shoot spines.

The art style in Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn is perfect for this type of game with over the top cartoony graphics and sound effects to match. The game does feature some crude humour which was never too bad in my opinion, but some people may find it in poor taste. The voice acting is pretty good and there’s even a new rap track sung by Shaq in the main menu. 

While the game is quite a bit of fun at times, it doesn’t really add anything to the genre. It’s just like any other Beat ‘Em Up and while that’s okay, I wish the team could have added something to make this one stand out from the pack. Personality aside, it’s some pretty generic gameplay. Another thing I don’t like is the omission of any co-op. This is a single-player game, there is no multiplayer option. There’s just little reason to play this game more than once other than the Shaq-o-pedia items and the extra difficulty level and that’s a shame. 

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A glimpse of Big Diesel.
Pros Cons
Long levels No multiplayer
Game is full of personality Little replay value
Crazy machine and cactus Shaq variations Generic gameplay