As I previously reviewed Kung Fury: Street Rage from Developer Hello There AB, this free update came as a pleasant surprise. One thing I personally appreciate is a company that takes criticism and works on those problem areas. The Arcade Strikes Back update adds a much-needed Story Mode to get your teeth into. All the main actors from Kung Fury have now added their voices to a script that follows the same kind of dialogue found in the movie. I personally found this hilarious, though I’d watch the Youtube film just to check if it’s to your taste.
The original game we received has now become an Endless mode. Though I’d argue it doubles as a practice mode. As you will be using it to get to grips with each of the four of the movie characters, Kung Fury, Babarianna, Hackerman and Triceracop. Your job is to take down an evil Nazi Arcade machine and of course you have to kill hoards of Nazi soldiers to get his attention.
You start Story Mode as everyone’s favourite badass Kung Fury. Although his gameplay hasn’t changed he’s the all rounder of the group with basic single kill attacks and three health points to get you through the carnage. Barbarianna is an axe-wielding barbarian with a fondness for chopping people and mincing them to pieces with her mini-gun. You will need to pay attention to her different frames of animation; these are key to playing well with her. On her fourth successful attack flames appear to show she’s charged to perform her mini-gun attack. This special attack kills all enemies on one side of the screen. It’s particularly useful when you have a group of teleporting women in white coming your way. This adds an element of strategy, how you use it can make the difference between winning and losing.
In some kind of robot avatar Hackerman is a walking machine of instant death. He has the advantage of being able to attack from a distance. To start with you will be charging your super laser with each strike. Once charged it will instantly disintegrate every enemy you target in rapid succession until you miss. Then you will be in the rather uncomfortable position of charging your laser while enemies surround you. Misses are really not an option as they can make things tricky. Especially since, as with Barbarianna, you can only get hit once, as a second hit will kill you.
The prehistoric police officer Triceracop is very similar to Kung Fury. Only he has slightly increased range and when he successfully hits he moves away instead of towards the enemy. This can have you sliding around the screen by hitting multiple enemies on one side. Due to how chaotic this can get it’s becomes less about timing and more about spray and pray. This is most likely why you have five hit points as it can take some getting used to.
Of course there are boss battles this time around. Left and right attacks will allow you to walk left and right to dodge the boss’s attempts to kill you. Once they’ve had enough of attacking they will be open to your attacks, rinse and repeat. Although it’s very simplistic it was absolutely needed to give you something to work towards. Considering the limitations of the game they are adequate enough and the change of pace is appreciated.
Good luck getting to the boss though, as this game quickly becomes crushingly difficult and punishes you really hard for failure. The Story Mode selects a mandatory character for each chapter. On the second part you get to play Babarianna cutting your path through four increasingly difficult waves without getting hit more than once. Get hit more than once and you have to start over from the first wave. I get this is supposed to emulate the insane level of difficulty of 80s arcade games. However, it fails to remember that arcade games allowed you to acquire health through decent play. What’s really bizarre is although you get combo bonuses they’re pointless, no pun intended but without an actual score on this mode they really are. A health pick up instead would have made a lot more sense. Talking of scores, the highscore table still won’t allow you to put your own name in.
With this update Kung Fury: Street Rage – The Arcade Strikes Back is a far more comprehensive game. The various characters all have very different play styles that are really well thought out. However, I question the lack of health on the seemingly more powerful characters. Add that to the heavy-handed punish on failure and this will frustrate many. Simple ways to fix this would be health drops instead of score multipliers. Even just a restart from the wave you die on would help. A far more interesting and arguably fun way would be to make it multiplayer with a free choice of the characters. The point is, it’s important to make games accessible to all skill levels, optional buffs and even de-buffs would help achieve this. The Arcade Strikes Back expansion definitely improves the original game. Though, to be honest there wasn’t much to begin with. Even with a faithful narrative and some interesting bosses it seems a wasted effort if, due to almost impossible difficulty, barely anyone will actually get to see them.
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