Title: Shaq Fu
Developer: Delphine Software International
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Date Published: 1994
Platforms: SNES, Sega Genesis, Sega Game Gear
"You can't stop me! I know point-guards tougher than you!" - Shaq
Shaq Fu is the product of two mid-90s phenomena: Street Fighter 2 clones, and over-the-top NBA superstars. Basketball stars are still given huge amounts of praise and attention, but in the 1990s, absolutely no form of self-promotion was too ridiculous, too cheezy for the stars to turn down. From Michael Jordan's Space Jam movie, to Nike commercials containing feats of superhuman basketball prowess, it all started in the 90s. Then there were Shaquille O'Neal's various projects: his rap albums, his movie Kazaam (where he plays a rapping, basketball-playing genie), and...Shaq Fu.
Shaq Fu is not considered by most people to be a very good game. I speak of the SNES version, but the Genesis version is pretty much the same. I'm too scared to check out the Game Gear version to see how it differs. Shaq Fu is pretty much a sub-par 2-D fighting game which tried to ride on the gimmick of having Shaq in it. Indeed, the play control is loose and sloppy, and the fighters are pretty generic. One good point is the hilarious intro to the game's story mode, in which Shaq goes into a Chinese restaurant and is greeted by a man with a long white beard, who explains that Shaq is "the one from the stars" and that he has to save a boy named Nezu, and that there's no time to explain any further details. Shaq is then promptly taken to the Obligatory Bizarre Underworld where he has to fight the various characters in the game.
The graphics aren't very good, even on the SNES version. The characters are small and not very detailed, and make Shaq look less like a towering basketball player, and more like some little guy flailing about on the screen. If I were to judge Shaq only by playing this game, I would not be impressed, which sort of defeats the whole point of making a game about how cool Shaq is. The backgrounds are drab. The music is full of weak-sounding hip-hop beats. Overall, a pretty bad game, although it makes you wonder what the developers and Shaq's promoter's were on when they came up with the concept.