Xuan Dou Zhi Wang / King of Combat
STORY: In the year 20XX, an asteroid that later would be called "The Messiah" landed in Peru, South America. Energy issued by the impact was even larger than the Tunguska event, which resulted in a couple of days with "White Nights" after the event. Luckily, the surrounding areas were almost all jungle and there were few casualties. This incident became known the "Primer Impacto".
After the incident, United Nations sent a group of professionals to inspect the area, since during those times the radiation caused biological mutations. The discovery led to the neighboring area being sealed and placed in quarantine. The Peruvian Government increased security in nearby areas, and equally throughout the country, in addition, monitoring any activity that may occur at the site of impact.
The character selection screen as of August 2013.
ABOUT: Xuan Dou Zhi Wang (which translates to King of Combat) is a Chinese fighting game produced by Tencent Games. The game is in a closed beta phase, currently available to play for free on Chinese servers. After SNK announced that Terry Bogard and Benimaru Nikaido of King of Fighters fame will be making appearances in the game, interest in the title quickly spread.
Early on, the game was swiftly dubbed a "King of Fighters knock-off" due to the familiar character designs and gameplay. However, there is a reason for this: In China, video game consoles are technically banned ever since the year 2000. However, it's not uncommon to see systems make their way into China through Hong Kong and Taiwan... but even so, the Chinese have to develop alternative products to meet the needs of its market. The development of Xuan Dou Zhi Wang in a way reflects the wishes of Chinese gamers to play something at least "similar" to King of Fighters at home. Another interesting fact: Tencent was a developer for the canceled KOF online project (The King of Fighters World) from a few years back.
So it's interesting that Tencent is now working with SNK Playmore in this "strategic alliance". Now with the exposure from SNK, the chance of an official widespread launch of the game is more possible. On April 18th, Tencent announced that in the second quarter of 2013 they will release the game for the Windows 8 platform, meaning tablets and phones running Windows 8 will be compatible with the game. However, an actual "physical" version of the game has yet to be announced.
Xuan Dou Zhi Wang distinguishes itself visually for a variety of reasons. The high resolution 2D sprites were originally created with polygons, but later retouched by hand to give them a more "2D style" appearance. In motion, it's definitely a very unique-looking fighting game. The style of animation resembles King of Fighters XIII in some ways, but is also very fluid and stands out in its own way. Several characters also have alternate costumes (unlockable through points in the game), which is very rare for a 2D fighting game of this nature... and certainly a treat.
A Kung Fu Panda knock-off is also in the game.
As you might've expected, the gameplay is eerily similar to King of Fighters. Along with traditional 1-on-1 matches, 3-on-3 team matches are also possible. There are four buttons: Punch, Kick, Weak Attack, and Strong Attack. Many gameplay trademarks of KOF also make the jump to Xuan Dou Zhi Wang, including: Rolling & dodging, short jumps & high jumps, the classic "MAX" super meter, double super moves (SDMs), and the ability to cancel supers. Needless to say, if you're a KOF player, you'll feel right at home (in some weird way). One of the few ways where XDZW differs from KOF is that grabs are performed by hitting 2 buttons (similar to the SFA series). There are also some Custom Combo possibilities (similar to KOF 2002 and KOF XIII). On-screen, easy access hot keys are also available, which are basically 1-button special moves - or special abilities like throwing or running.
Currently, Xuan Dou Zhi Wang is basically a constant "work in progress". Tencent games continues to add characters to the title every so often via online updates. The main menu of the game feels very "alive" with a ton of different options, including your elaborate player profile which tracks your progress (and EXP points). Weekly, different characters become unlocked - and on the flipside, others become locked. Players can permanently unlock their favorite characters by acquiring them through points... but it takes quite a lot of grinding to do so.
So far, I'm actually having a lot of fun with the game... and I'm intrigued to see if it'll come to any sort of "finished" state, followed by a release worldwide. Even though the gameplay and some character designs appear to be "knock-offs" in one way or another, Xuan Dou Zhi Wang's characters do succeed at being interesting in more ways than one. The game's cool art style and crisp 2D graphics also grabbed my attention from the start... and honestly, it's a really beautiful 2D fighter. It's also pretty exciting game to be playing at the moment, especially with the monthly updates constantly keeping it fresh!
Page Updated: November 25th, 2013 Developer(s): Jade Studio Publisher(s): Tencent Games Platform(s): PC, Windows 8 Release Date(s): Q2 2013 Characters: Yan, Ell Blue, Claire Fox, Brazel, Ameth, Kaoru Kuraki, Tsukikage Arashi, Ray, Long, Panda Wojownik, Cool B, Lee Won Hee, Legend, Shanwoo, Prayuth, Linn, Wuxie, Ruriy, Shirley, Jack, Yunfei, Sheva, Terry Bogard, Benimaru Nikaido, King, Ciel, Xeno, Blast
Related Games: King of Fighters XIII, Rumble Fish, Legend of Raven, Chaos Code, Under Night In-Birth, Battle Fantasia, Blazblue: Chrono Phantasma, Guilty Gear Xrd -SIGN-, Ultra Street Fighter 4, Tekken Revolution
Gameplay Engine Story / Theme Overall Graphics Animation Music / Sound Effects Innovation Art Direction Customization Options / Extras Intro / Presentation Replayability / Fun "Ouch" Factor Characters BOTTOM LINE
I started my Xuan Dou Zhi Wang adventure on August 29th, 2013. Upon booting up the game on my PC, I was treated to a cool comic-style intro (awesome artwork). At the time I jumped into XDZW, the game started me off in a Tutorial with King as the main character, whom is basically a pure Chinese bootleg of Ryu... easy enough! Perfect if you ask me, since my Hadoken and Shoryuken skills on keyboard need some brushing up! (Haven't used a keyboard to play a fighting game since my Kaillera / Online MAME days - circa 2002-2003). I need to invest in a PC controller... looking into that soon.
Anyhow, XDZW's beginning tutorial / "beat-em-up" style mode pleasantly surprised me in a few ways. For one, it features quite a few unique characters that don't even appear on the playable roster, and a ton of dialogue (that I can't read)! Even though all the text is Chinese, the gameplay basics are a walk in the park for any 2D fighting game player. I always thought more 2D fighters should feature a sort of "beat-em-up" mode as a bonus... in XDZW's case, it works great as a tutorial.
The game feels like a mix of KOF and Street Fighter... it's easy to play, and nice to look at, too. The 2D/3D graphics are very sharp and pleasing to the eye (although the game unfortunately doesn't run in full screen on my HD monitor). Xuan Dou Zhi Wang definitely has a very unique visual style, which isn't an easy thing to pull off these days. So far, I'm really enjoying the game... and especially all the updates. Stay tuned for my full review of XDZW / King of Combat (still in progress!) ~TFG Webmaster