Face full of fists!

Title: Kung Fu Chaos
Developer: Just Add Monsters
Publisher: Microsoft
Date Published: 2/24/2003
Platforms: Xbox

There is apparently an old joke about how some Hong Kong action movies are so cheap, that the directors can't afford any special effects. Therefore, the people on screen that you're seeing getting beat up, stabbed, shot, sliced, or what have you are actually getting beat up, stabbed, shot, sliced or what have you.

This is the premise behind Kung Fu Chaos.

Wacky, off the wall, and surprisingly fun, this game follows the story of director Shao Ting as he makes his latest martial arts extravaganza. You choose the part of one of eight actors available in the game, at which point you get tossed into a chaotic melee of ninjas, dangerous props, and even dinosaurs, flying cows, and pirahnas.

And all the while, the camera is rolling...


If you're looking for a deep, multilevel fighting system, well... Sorry. This isn't it. But it does work extremely well for this game.

The learning curve on figuring out how to kick some major ninja ass in this game is appreciatively simple. 'X' and 'Y' for light and hard attacks, 'A' for jumping, and 'B' for grabbing things (and characters). 'R' is used to block, while 'L' is used for taunting. The joystick moves your character, of course.

There are a few combos that you can string together, mostly 3-4 hit deals, along with a few unblockable combos. There is a system for breaking a combo against you, which is highly useful in preventing one from being reamed by the unblockable ones. The fun part comes once you achieve the knock-down blow on the combo. Once this occurs, hold down the L-Trigger and your character will taunt your opponent. Hearing characters say things like "Can you feel my ninjaness?" can be quite a giggle at times. After a successful taunt, your character receives a glowing ball above their head. Aquiring three of these will allow your character a super-attack, which will in most cases destroy just about every opponent on the screen. In multiplayer mode, the power-up balls can be stolen from other characters, making for an interesting back-and-forth exhange.


The levels in this game, in the end, turn out to be more of a danger than the hordes of ninjas.

There are basically two types of levels in this game: ninja challenges, and minigames. The ninja challenge is a basic brawl through a variety of sets, generally stolen from other movies. (This *IS* a low budget film, remember?) From the deck of a sinking ship, to a raft on a river full of pirahnas being chased by a dinosaur, to a 50's martian invasion set, there are plenty of backgrounds for your 1337 ninja skills. These sets tend to be *VERY* dangerous, and they are often responsible for more kills than your martial arts skills. One of the best ways to take out enemy ninjas is to knock them down, and then just pick them up and toss them off the side of the stage. (Or into the water to be munched by pirahnas on the "Enter the Dino" level. BWAHAHA!)

The minigames are a nice change of pace from the ninja challenges. One minigame has you outside a bar with a trampoline, trying to catch stuntmen as they are thrown out of the bar above. The catch is that you have to avoid the occasional cow that will come flying out of the window. Another has you on a high, swinging platform, slinging an ugly princess (yes, she is described in-game that way) at up to three other people in an attempt to knock them off their platforms.

You can earn anywhere from one to five stars on each level, depending on performance. It takes three stars to pass the level, and getting four or five stars on certain levels unlocks game features.

This game was designed as a party game, hence, multiplayer modes are very important. There are two modes, battle game, and challenge mode. Battle game allows you to play a number of the single player stages, but instead of enemy ninja, you play against other players. The challenge mode allows the players to go through a number of stages against each other, but consecutively instead of one at a time, while keeping track of your score.


There are nine characters, but in practice, there isn't a whole lot of difference between them. They are based on parodies of well-known figures in martial arts cinema and otherwise.

Character List:

  • Ninja Fu Hiya (Ninja for hire): "Ninjaronimo!"

This character is a parody of every single ninja that has ever appeared in a bad action flick.

  • Master Sho Yu (Master shows you): "I laugh at you with bad breath!"

A parody of the "old master" stereotype, his taunts are a very good example of horrible Hong Kong dialogue.

A nod towards the "fighting female" stereotype, as well as a tribute to Michelle Yeoh and Jade Leung. It is one of my personal goals to see her taunt used as an insulting softlink, but not by myself.

  • Monkey (Monkey God): "Make a monkey outta you!"

The Monkey God is the God of Mischief in China.

  • Chop&Styx (Chop Sticks): "I bring you dismemberment!"

This is a parody of Lone Wolf and Cub, a popular Japanese comic book character.

  • Lucy Cannon (Loose Cannon): "Have a blast, sucka!"

Blaxploitation. Pam Grier. 'nuff said.

  • Candi Roll (Candy Roll): "2... 4... 6... 8... Who do I eliminate?"

This is a parody of Roller Girl, as well as 70's porn. Also a nod to Cynthia Rothrock.

  • Captain Won Ton: (One Ton): "Underwear of Justice!"

I have no fucking clue.

  • Shao Ting (Shouting): "You just stupid actors making more money than me!"

A parody of Ang Lee, John Woo, and Yuen Woo Ping.


Not what we've all come to expect from the Xbox, but decent nonetheless. This game isn't the type of premise that lends itself to a graphical extravaganza.


Utterly rampant. This game has made me laugh out loud on numerous occasions. There is a flashback that leads into one of the training levels where you begin with a conversation with Shao Ting. He says "This reminds me of when I first started directing..." At this point the screen fades out, and you enter a training level. At the end of the level, it fades back in, where you hear Shao Ting say, "And that's why I'll never use a public toilet again!" I also like that the message on the bottom of the screen that says "Loading, make ready!" changes to "Unloading, make unready!" if you decide to exit back to the level select screen.

Other fun quotes:

  • You have an aura of idiocy!
  • The brain is the belly and the belly is the brain...
  • Wow! You can really put away the ninjas, as well as the free coffee.
  • Hey! Don't hurt my chicken! What did they ever do to you? (sob)
  • My greatness must be rubbing off on you, so keep up the good rubbing.

Final Thoughts

While this game is lots of fun, especially as a party game, it certainly isn't for people who take their games too seriously. There is a slight problem in 4-player games where there is too much happening on the screen to see where your player is. Your best bet at this point is to mash buttons and hope for the best. The graphics aren't as stunning as one would expect from the Xbox, but they work well for this application. Overall, it's a well-crafted game, but it may be a bit too light-hearted and silly for a lot of hardcore gamers.

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