I don’t think anyone is entirely sure why Shaq-Fu has returned to the world of video games. First released way back in 1994 on the SNES, the idea was simple. Take basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal, mix that with the fighting genre, and watch the money roll in. After all, Shaq was a huge star; everyone loved Street Fighter. Why not push those ideas together and see what came out the other side? Unfortunately, what was produced is widely renowned as being one of the worst games ever.
Over the years, however, the original has become somewhat of a fan favorite to the point Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn was greenlit through the power of an Indiegogo campaign. Now, in 2018, we have it on the Nintendo Switch, Xbox One, PS4, and PC.
The first thing that’s worth noting is that this isn’t another fighting game rip-off. Instead, it goes the side-scrolling beat ‘em-up route. That’s a smart move in many ways as it’s allowed Saber Interactive to keep proceedings rather simple. The ex-NBA player will be attacked by numerous enemies as he walks through different environments while you enjoy a multitude of attacks to do away with said foes. It’s as easy as they come and, for the most part, not half bad.
A Legend Reborn
Furthermore, Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn does not care about what many may see as political correctness. I can’t say for sure if you’ll be offended or not, but I’m confident there’s a chance of that as the humor revolves around crass gags which may feel a little tired in 2018. There’s nothing over the line or truly shocking, but references to masturbation or stereotyping certain groups of people are always going to have the potential to upset. It really is going to be down to the individual, though, but consider this a slight warning.
Shaq-Fu is a very by the numbers experience. It looks pretty enough to justify its place on your modern day console. However, it doesn’t do anything thing to stand out. It’s always nice when games come along which take a nod to the past – we could do with more entries within the genre – but they also need some sort of updated sprinkles – A Legend Reborn is lacking in that regard. It ticks the boxes, unlocks a few more difficulty settings when you’ve been through it once, and will soon fade into the distance as time rolls forward.
Still, there’s clearly a demand for it. The game was only made possible thanks to crowdfunding. If nothing else, isn’t it pleasant to have Shaquille O’Neal back amongst it all these years later? Deep down I don’t think he had much to say in the concept outside of agreeing to his likeness being used. However, that’s not something we have to worry about.
Altogether, Shaq-Fu: A Legend Reborn is pretty average. However, if you like retro beat-em-ups, it’s definitely a game worth looking at.