Ottawa Citizen

Kung Fu Panda a real kick, but too short

- BY DARREN BERNHARDT

Embark on a legendary journey and experience kung fu awesomenes­s.

Forget effortless movement, style and form, though. This isn’t Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Kung Fu Panda has all the grace of a bar-room brawl.

Smash stuff, throw stuff, roll around like a pinball, perform earth-shaking belly flops, and pick up bad guys and spin them around before tossing them into each other. It’s so totally cool.

The video game adaptation of the new DreamWorks computer-animated movie is as much fun to play as it is to say. And the dialogue is hilarious, thanks to a voice actor that is a dead ringer for Jack Black, who plays the lead in the film. The entertainm­ent value goes far beyond the actual play.

The game easily could have been a lame title designed solely to cash in from the film but it’s strong enough to stand on its own, even if the platformty­pe of play and coin collecting approach is wearing thin.

Players take on the role of Po the Panda, a wannabe kung fu master who daydreams about his own awesomenes­s while working as a delivery boy for his dad’s restaurant.

The boy bear has his talents, however, and fate steps in to deliver a roundhouse to his lame life.

While trying to catch a glimpse of the Furious Five master fighters — Monkey, Tigress, Viper, Mantis and Crane — Po plays with fireworks and blasts himself into the ring where he is inadverten­tly named the Dragon Warrior.

Now he’s got to live up to the title. That’s where we come in. Play through 13 levels, mastering Po’s pudgy style while decimating enemy porcupines, boars, crocodiles and other bizarre bad guys like the Great Gorilla and the Wolf Sergeant.

There is a wonderful variety of single and multiplaye­r modes, a host of character upgrades, and challengin­g puzzles which give the game nice depth.

Plus, there is added content created by DreamWorks Animation and Activision that is not in the movie. It includes exclusive environmen­ts like the mystical Lotus Lake, and characters like the baddest ninja cats around, the Wu Sisters.

You also get to dabble in the styles of the Furious Five (such as flying through lightning storms as Master Crane and fending off airborne foes) as you work towards squaring off against the ultimate enemy, Tai Lung.

This game is so totally not lame. But it is totally too short.

Canwest News Service

 ?? NINTENDO ?? Kung Fu Panda has all the grace of a bar-room brawl, but it’s totally cool.
NINTENDO Kung Fu Panda has all the grace of a bar-room brawl, but it’s totally cool.

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