games / Reviews

Chu’s Dynasty (XBLA) Review

December 14, 2010 | Posted by Trace Aber

There are a wide variety of titles available on the Indie Games channel, ranging from RPGs to platformers to shooters to even games where the goal is to literally not fart. But there are very few fighting games, much less good fighting games. The latest title in the Indie Games Winter Uprising, Chu’s Dynasty, is one of those rare games.

The game promises to combine the depth of Street Fighter with the mayhem of Super Smash Brothers, and all for $3. It sounds like a ridiculous promise, but surprisingly the end result isn’t far off from that. Each character has their own unique set of basic and special moves, as well as combos, energy forms and the ability to manipulate time. It’s one of the few indie games where it’s a good idea to run through the tutorial because this game has so much to offer.

The levels (and four-player action) provide the SSB portion of the game, and each one of them looks absolutely beautiful, perhaps the best on the indie channel. There are ledges to jump on and certain strategies that work best on each level, which only adds to the depth of the game. The final battle in the campaign mode also has a cool falling platform effect to it, with beautiful artwork to boot.

Chu’s Dynasty tells the stories of four fighters, each with their own motivations and desires. Each one opens and ends with a short cutscene and features among the best voice acting I’ve heard from an indie game, matching the quality of many retail products. In-between battles a short blurb is displayed from a ancient text that furthers the character’s story without hogging too much time. The campaign has you going through each fighter and then teaming up with each fighter, than completing one final fight. It’s not the most exciting campaign in the world, but the stories are interesting enough to keep you going and the fighting system itself is very well done.

Despite the game promising deep gameplay, it’s entirely possible to complete the campaign mode with button mashing, which I did pretty easily with Viotale. The computer AI could use some work, but once you get a game going with some friends the fun really begins. Up to four players can battle against one another locally, and some really cool battles can take place. Each character, as mentioned earlier, has their own unique special move that distorts time in some way, ranging from being able to go back in time to placing a shadow that mimics your actions.

The game also features a nice Ki Gauge system, which fills up as you receive damage. As it fills up you take less and less damage, until you’re able to perform your Ki Move, which does massive damage to any surrounding characters and looks visually impressive.

Which is something I can’t really say enough about this game: it looks absolutely gorgeous and unlike anything else on the channel. You can tell that they were going for quality and not quantity, which explains why there are only four characters. Each one has an engaging story, their own set of moves and specials, and look and play completely different. Sure, they could have had eight or so characters that are carbon copies of one another, but is that any better than having four truly unique characters? Not in my eyes. Perhaps if this game sells well enough they’ll have a bigger budget and will be able to add more characters, which is even more reason to support this game!

The 411
Chu’s Dynasty is a fast-paced fighter that really delivers on its promise of Street Fighter meets Smash Brothers gameplay. This game makes up for what it lacks in quantity with quality, and is one of the most visually impressive games of the year, not to mention it’s fantastic voice work. If you’re looking for a high quality fighter at a low price (240MP or $3), you absolutely must pick up Chu’s Dynasty! You’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t check this out.

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Trace Aber
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