If you thought the recently announced Exa-Arcadia kit system couldn’t get anymore exciting than it already is, prepare to have your mind totally flippin’ blown.
Last week, Exa announced in this Twitter post that another exciting game is slated for Exa-Arcadia: The Kung Fu Vs. Karate Champ. Though its name is a bit odd, The Kung Fu Vs. Karate Champ is quite intriguing. It’s a one-on-one arcade fighting game that will be releasing worldwide—not just in Japan!—later this year.
From day one, it was clear that Exa-Arcadia was destined to reshape the modern arcade industry for the better. After all, it’s been darn near forever since we’ve had an inexpensive kit system a la NEO-GEO or Atomiswave. But now, against all odds, Exa-Arcadia looks even better. It’s not just shoot-em-ups, kiddos; we’re getting a brand-new, Western-bound arcade fighting game, too. (Talk about something we haven’t seen in forever!)
Of course, it should be mentioned that, like the three previously announced Exa games, The Kung Fun Vs. Karate Champ isn’t exactly arcade exclusive. It’s currently listed on Steam Early Access as “Shaolin Vs. Wutang”, for whatever reason. (A slightly more memorable name, in my opinion.) Developed by Jae Lee and published by Digital Tribe, the game is described as an “…INDIE love letter to Martial Arts and classic Kung Fu films. Made for casual game fans not for Hardcore Fighting Game players.” Disregarding all the egregious typos, it sounds pretty flippin’ neat.
We don’t know a ton about The Kung Fu Vs. Karate Champ so far, but from the footage Exa released on its Twitter page, I think we’ve got a real solid game on our hands. Though the graphics are rendered in full, gorgeous 3D, the gameplay appears to be two-dimensional in nature. Arcade Heroes describes it as decidedly Virtua Fighter-esque, and I have to agree. (And with Virtua Fighter being one of my favorite fighting game series, I have to be hype, as well.)
Based on the trailer and the Steam description, there are at least 30 characters in the game, which is a pretty darn respectable number. There are also apparently 30 stages. Clearly, The Kung Fu Vs. Karate Champ isn’t slacking off in the content department. I identified the following characters: Jeet Kune Do, Tang Soo Do, Wu Shu, Wing Chun, Judo, Kickboxing, Wrestling, Drunken Fist, Eagle Claw, Armor of God, Phoenix, Crane Fist, Tiger Claw, Okinawan Karate, Monkey Fist, Snake Fist, 5 Element Fist, Hapkido, Ninjitsu, USA Karate, Long Fist, Buddhas Palm, Lotus Palm, Crane Fist, 18 Louhan Fist, White Brow, Mantis Fist, Capoeira, Muay Thai, Old Drunkard, 8 Diagram Fist, and White Brow. That's...that's quite the list.
And for a better look at the game, here are some screenshots from the PC version. They look beautiful, boys and girls. Just...beautiful.
Beyond that, nothing looks too extreme. Gameplay is based on hand-to-hand and weapon combat. In addition, there are dynamic blocking animations, a licensed kung fu soundtrack featuring music from classic films, unique moves and combos for every fighter, and both single-player and multiplayer modes. Like I said, The Kung Fu Vs. Karate Fighters doesn’t seem to be going out of its way to revolutionize the fighting game genre like, say, Dark Presence. From the looks of it, it’s just aiming to be a highly tuned, kung fu-inspired fighter. And that, in and of itself, is a respectable mission.
The only thing I see being a problem for some people is how strongly the “casual” nature of the game is being stressed. While I personally have no problem with a fairly casual fighting game, I know many people have been longing for a hardcore arcade fighter for ages. Think about it this way: It’s a heckuva lot better than Injustice Arcade. This is a real fighting game, and it’ll probably be a darn good one at that.
Other than that, I guess there’s not much to say. After all, we don’t know much. Here’s what I’m digging so far:
With 30 characters and 30 stages, there’s plenty of content. That’s always a huge plus.
I love the emphasis on the soundtrack. Good games are always that much better with good music.
The graphics are gorgeous. It’s been too long since we’ve seen an arcade game that looks this good.
So, with all of that mind, The Kung Fu Vs. Karate Fighters looks pretty danged cool. At the very least, it’ll help push fighting games back into Western arcades. We still don’t know what content will be exclusive to arcade version, but the current Steam version only has 14 characters. I’m just excited to get more news. For now, consider me hype.
See ya ‘round, nerds. Here’s to the future.