Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists Of Plastic
Kung Fu Hilarity with Rag Doll Physics
Posted 4 years ago By - Kabir Singh
I briefly played the original Rag Doll Kung Fu and I was pleasantly surprised but Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic is a delightful treat. The easiest way for me to describe this fighter is this, think of Super Smash Brothers crossed with Little Big Planet crossed with Kung Fu Hustle and you have Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic.
Unlike the original, Fists of Plastic’s characters are action figures instead of marionettes. These action figures encompass a variety of kung-fu stereotypes and embody a playful, endearing spirit. That spirit permeates the entire game while focusing on action figure based combat, but these action figures move like they are attached to the strings of a puppet master, namely, the player or CPU.
A variety of kung-fu stereotypes embody a playful, endearing spirit.
Imagine plastic action figures controlled in a similar manner to marionettes, but with much more simplified controls than the game’s predecessor. The left thumbstick controls movement and attack direction and the right thumbstick is used to wave nunchucks and staves around just like a marionette would swing weapons in a play (the effect is quite hilarious). The game allows you to throw objects at enemies or targets with great ease and precision. The L2 and R2 buttons allow you to pose like Sack Boy from Little Big Planet and when you do various Bruce Lee-ish warcry sounds issue forth in a completely charming, light hearted way that easily brings the laughter forth.
At its core, Rag Doll Kung Fu: Fists of Plastic is a party brawler much in the same vein as Super Smash Bros. with a variety of challenges and mini-games added to the mix. It is important to mention that the controls do take a little getting used to but once you do, the game is a complete joy to play. This is one of the few titles that makes good use of the Sixaxis controller’s motion sensing capabilities.
Built up Chi allows you to hurl lightning balls at your foes
While in combat your Chi meter builds allowing you to meditate to restore health. To execute this all you have to do is flip your sixaxis controller upside down and your character enters a Zen like trance healing himself while absorbing Chi as he/she floats in the air. Easy to execute but the beauty of it is timing your heal so that your enemies are far enough away. Built up Chi also allows you to hurl lightning balls at your foes, and this is accomplished by holding down a modifier and shaking the controller to focus Chi into a lethal glowing orb. It is easy to execute but the player must be aware of his surroundings in order to pull it off or he will get a pair of nunchucks swung in his face. There are other various Chi abilities that are much like the lightning ball, that are easy to do but difficult to master, which is very satisfying as a gamer. It is my opinion that the controls are difficult at first but are remarkably satisfying and perfectly executed. With a little practice your character will be flying around the screen, executing Chi charged juggle attacks with ease.
Rag Doll Kung Fu is mainly a party game but there are 8 challenge games that add to the single player playability such as Survival (timed survival), Sharpshooter (shoot targets with Chi lightning), Capture the Fish (basketball with a fish), Acrobatics (jumping and flipping from platforms without landing on your feet), King of the Hill (exactly how it sounds), Way of the Firefly (using Chi flying attacks ), Cleaning Up (tossing enemies of a cliff face while trying not to get tossed), and Kung Fu Juggling (keeping an enemy airborne with strikes). All of these are quite fun but Capture the Fish is an absolute riot.
Multiplayer is where Rag Doll Kung Fu truly shines
but Capture the Fish is a stand out
Multiplayer is where Rag Doll Kung Fu truly shines and as many as 4 local players can partake in the zany fun. There are four multiplayer modes: Deathmatch, King of The Hill, Capture The Fish and Dodgeball that take place in 8 different arenas. All four are great fun but Capture the Fish is a stand out. In this mode players battle for control of a fish and once you have control it, you have to get it across the arena to the basket while enemies are trying to stop you and take the fish for themselves. Sounds simple and it is, but the game is so flexible that many gameplay options are open, for example, during a multiplayer match my friend, was on his way to scoring and the fish was about to enter the basket. I blocked his throw from a lower level of the arena by tossing a staff into the path of the flying fish. My timing was perfect and I didn’t think it would work but I was able to stop him from scoring by deflecting his shot with my own projectile. The gameplay is so flexible, intuitive and open that you will find yourselves pulling off combos and moves that you didn’t think a downloadable title could accommodate. Frankly, very few full price titles have the wide open depth of gameplay available to them.
Backing up the top notch gameplay is a physics system run by the Havok engine of Painkiller fame and it works wonderfully. Characters and items react naturally and this physical reality can be used and abused to punish your opponents. It is something you truly have to witness to see how beautifully it was executed. It is unfortunate the Rag Doll Kung Fu is does not have any online multiplayer gameplay but it is not surprising for a budget downloadable title.
Graphics and Sound
The visuals in Rag Doll Kung Fu are bright, colourful and crisp. The frame rate never suffers a hitch and the animations are wonderfully rendered. In fact, I was rather surprised at how good it looks considering the cost. The characters look like they are made out of plastic like a traditional action figure and the amount of detail in the facial expressions is quite well rendered. The character and artistic design are reminiscent of Kung Fu Hustle and fit the theme of the game like a glove. I cannot ask for anything more at this price and Rag Doll Kung Fu delivered on the scale of some full price titles.
Body parts unlocked let you customize your “action figure”
The music is fitting and uplifting, keeping a happy, energetic tone going throughout the experience. The combat sounds are comical and well executed. The opening song is in the style of a James Bond film opener but pay attention to lyrics. I could not help but laugh the first time I heard it and on many occasions I have just sat there listening to the song for a few minutes before hitting start just because I was so damn entertained. The only flaw is that the depth of the soundtrack is slim and the music is repeated over and over in a loop. Let me iterate though, that the music is fantastic and of high quality there just isn’t a lot of it.
Rag Doll Kung FU: Fists of Plastic does offer a few, incredibly fun challenges/mini-games. The better you do in each challenge the more body parts you unlock that you can use to customize your “action figure”. Some of the body parts you unlock are hilarious and I found myself devoting time to trying unlock more, in the hopes of more laughs and I was greatly rewarded. This adds a lot of replay value to this title which mainly is just a party brawler, but it is the most fun I have had in this genre.
Single player gets old after about an 30 to 40 minutes a but with friends, this game is unstoppable. The multiplayer modes really shine and cause so much laughter that everyone wanted to get in a turn just to see what was so funny. The lack of online multiplayer is a disappointment but for a budget title it is understandable and acceptable. You are in for the time of your life when you have friends to play along. It’s value far surpasses its meager cost. The fun factor and comedic value are easily worth the $10 price tag, in fact, you will be missing out on one of the best values out there if you don’t download this game.
+ Very satisfying controls
+ Good use of Sixaxis controls
+ Pleasure to look at especially for the price
+ Great party game
+ Great mix of humor
+ Top notch production
- Single player gets old fast
- Music gets a little repetitive
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Release Date : 2009/04/02
System : PlayStation 3
Publisher : SCEA
Developer : Tarsier Studios
Category : Party & Mini Games
ESRB : E10
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10