Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn Review | Shaquille O’Really Not Bad
Let’s be completely and totally honest, pretty much anything would be better than the original Shaq Fu. Even one of the trailers for the A Legend Reborn mentions how badly the original one just completely sucked. So for the sake of maintaining the integrity of this game, I’m not gonna just say “oh, it’s better than the original in these ways.” because that’s just a given, and it’s not even a fighting game anymore.
Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn is a pretty typical side-scrolling beat-em-up where you play as the titular gigantic basketball player. This game, from start to finish, is packed to the brim with self-referential humor, fourth wall shattering jokes, and slight political commentary(?), and it’s pretty glorious. Normally I’m not a huge fan of fourth wall stuff, but I feel it’s done well here in the sense that it’s consistent, never once does it take itself seriously. I did think that some of the jokes felt a little bit outdated, and I don’t want to spoil any of them, because they’re still funny. The point is, unless you are as old as the original Shaq Fu, some of them will go over your head, though there are some extremely relevant jokes in there too, so don’t worry about that.
Also there may or may not be a level where Shaq lays the smackdown on faux-Nazis and Faux-KKK members. Which is fucking absurd and hysterical all at the same time, so be ready for shit like that.
The gameplay is a simple but fun beat-em-up, you’ve got regular combos, a heavy/shield breaker attack, and an AoE attack. Occasionally you can pick up either the Diesel powerup or the Shaqtus powerup (which turns you into a cactus that shoots unlimited needles). These powerups are more like just little fun sections that break up levels, since you’re nigh impossible to kill during them. This is a game I recommend playing on Hard because it’s really easy on Normal mode, like STUPID easy. I will say that there is a nice little variety of enemies, some block your aerial attacks, some counter your strong attacks, some have shields that must be broken, it’s nice! It keeps you on your toes for all parts besides the power-up sections, and the bosses require at least a little thought to take on.
There are some things I have slight gripes with in the game that don’t exactly ruin it, but could be tweaked or changed to make the game more enjoyable. There are some sections in the game where you just have to stop in one spot and fight a STUPID amount of enemies. That, or keep rolling boulders down a hill to kill enemies and it’s really easy and not very fun because you don’t get to do much, either. I’d rather have 8-9 more varied levels that take ten minutes to finish than 6 levels that take almost 20 minutes each. The music is extremely hit-or-miss too, which is weird because it’s referenced in the game by Shaq himself. The final level has some awesome funky hip-hop, and the theme of the game is amazing, hearing Shaq rap is fantastic. Other than that, a lot of the music in the game, barring a couple boss fights, feels kinda generic, and I guess I just wanted more ridiculous Shaq-rap.
This game, all wrapped up is fun, it’s got some shortcomings, but I laughed, I had a good time, and it didn’t overstay its welcome. I was bumping the theme song in my truck on the way to work this morning, and listened to it on the way home too. I won’t be forgetting the ridiculous bosses or awesome cutscenes anytime soon. Seriously, if this was made into a cartoon I would watch that shit in a heartbeat, it’s really well done (and voiced by fucking SHAQ). As far as I’m concerned, this truly is a legend reborn, Shaq’s name has been redeemed in the videogame world, and I’m happy with it! Now just put local co-op in it and make Player 2 Charles Barkley.
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