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Review by: Mike Laidlaw
Published: January 17, 2003
Between Dead or Alive 3‘s gorgeous looks, Mortal Kombat: Deadly Alliance‘s rock solid gameplay and the impending multiplayer opportunities offered by Capcom vs. SNK 2, there seems to be little room for other fighters on the Xbox at this point. Still, often you think you’ve seen it all when another sleeper hit comes along to surprise the heck out of you, and Kakuto Chojin could certainly be one of those titles. Boasting extremely slick visuals and promoting itself as being all about the fight, and not about fancy moves or weird powers, Kakuto Chojin could easily slip under our radar to become a gritty masterpiece. Having noted its development from its debut as a demonstration of the Xbox’s visual prowess, we’re now set to take a look at the finished product and see how it fares in a tournament of Xbox fighters.
Kakuto Chojin replaces the traditional Arcade mode with a more modern Story mode, which one might expect to be similar to the cutscene driven action in X-Men Next Dimension. In truth, the story is very, very light, told in a few sentences muttered before each fight by either your chosen character or your opponent. Essentially, you find yourself fighting in some kind of tournament known as the Maladalena, and your goal is to win for various reasons which are explained in a still screen of text. The contest itself takes place in abandoned locations, like the rooftops of condemned buildings, or the bottom levels of sewers. Obviously, those seeking a deeper plot will be surprised, as Story mode is essentially your standard Arcade fare.
Your choice of characters brings to light an interesting trait of the whole genre. As gamers, we tend to compare when we describe, as in, “he’s kind of a karate guy, like Ryu,” or “that character’s pretty much Guile with a haircut.” Kakuto Chojin takes this one step further to provide characters who look like the Demon from Spawn, Brad Pitt’s character in Fight Club, Bruce Lee on a crash diet and a fighter who looks like she just jumped clear of Jet Set Radio Future. Needless to say, these aren’t the most original character designs on the block, though Kakuto Chojin does break the mold with some of the others, including Shadow, the black garbed superhero ninja type and the various female characters. They, however, still possess the endowments we’ve come to expect from fighting games.
Advertised as a release focused more on fighting than fancy moves, Kakuto Chojin holds firm to this promise and allows you no fireballs, no fire blasts and certainly no designers sticking their heads on-screen to yell, “toasty!” What you do have at your disposal are a collection of moves and a few exceptional blows that can defeat blocks. You can string these together to form combos, or to juggle your foes, but these two time honored traits aren’t made into major points in Kakuto Chojin‘s fighting system.
The question before us then, is uncovering the major points of Kakuto Chojin‘s gameplay, and highlighting them. As it stands, this would best be accomplished in our traditional Avault criteria.
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