Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style is a 3D fighting game released for the PlayStation based on members of the Wu-Tang Clan. It was also released in PAL territories under the name Wu-Tang: Taste the Pain. The game uses the same engine used for the completed but eventually cancelled Thrill Kill.
The story is mostly told through FMV sequences
and tells the tale of a group of martial artists studying under Master Xin, the last practitioner of the ancient kung-fu
discipline of Wu-Tang. The first FMV sequence shows a small army of warriors practicing martial arts
in a Chinese open-air dojo
under the watchful eye of Mong Zhu. He declares his plans to discover the secrets of Wu-Tang from Master Xin, who he has discovered to be hiding out on Staten Island
in New York
, which will presumably give him the power to take over the world. Soon after this, Master Xin is captured by Mong Zhu's goons and the Wu-Tang Clan
vow to track Zhu down and rescue their master.
The clan fight their way through Mong Zhu's various minions in an effort to rescue their master, leading them through Staten Island, mainland New York and finally China. Unfortunately for them, during a torture session (using an old, rusty cutting machine) Mong Zhu discovers the secrets of Wu-Tang are tattooed on Xin's chest. Wasting no time, Mong Zhu viciously cuts the skin with the tattoo from Xin's chest, killing Xin in the process and giving Zhu access to the secrets of the Wu-Tang.
When the clan arrive, they take down Mong Zhu and the last of his henchmen. Mong Zhu activates a gas bomb in a last ditch attempt to take the clan with him. Realizing that his talisman is the same as the bomb Mong Zhu just used, RZA activates his own gas bomb and shoves it in Mong Zhu's mouth. Whilst the rest of the clan open the porcullis blocking their escape, RZA grabs a lamp from the ceiling of the dojo (which is actually made from the tattooed skin cut from Xin earlier). The clan then escape outside, whereupon an explosion destroys the entire building. The game ends with Master Xin's spirit watching down over the clan and smiling.
The game features up to four player combat using a variety of characters and music tracks created exclusively for the game, and most notably members of the popular hip hop group the Wu-Tang Clan such as RZA
, Ghostface Killah
and others. The game is very violent and thus has a violence lock feature in the form of a code entered in game.
The combat is similar to many fighting games; two punch buttons, two kick buttons, block and crouch buttons. The game differs from the norm, however, by the inclusion of lives which are lost when the player's health bar reaches zero. When this happens, the player respawns and a life is subtracted. Should the player be killed with only one life left, however, their character will not respawn and they will lose the match (in team games, all the members of a team must die for victory to occur). More often than not, the player will be faced with multiple opponents and be outnumbered in matches.
The player also has a power-up meter that fills when the player scores or receives hits. When full, the power-up can be activated by pressing all the shape buttons at once. In this mode, the player's moves are significantly more powerful whilst the power-up meter drains down. Once the meter is fully drained, the effect wears off and the player is free to begin filling it up again.
Defeating the last opponent in a match will result in a fatality being performed on them in a similar vein to games in the Mortal Kombat
series. Each character has 5 fatalities which correspond to the four face buttons on the controller and a throw move, thus the fatality performed depends on the last moved performed. (for example, a move involving the Square button will activate the characters first fatality) If the relevant fatality has not been unlocked in Story mode, the first fatality is used by default. (as it is available from the beginning and does not require unlocking)
The 36 Chambers
Throughout the course of the game's Story Mode the player can achieve a set of goals, 36 in total, referred to as the 36 Chambers
a reference the group's debut album and a classic kung fu film
. These range from visiting certain locations to performing combos
of a certain length. Rewards for completing these include character concept art
, new game modes, characters, and fatalities. Given that some of the chambers requires pulling off a certain fatality, the player may be forced to complete a certain goal before proceeding to the next one. Also, the player cannot face the last opponent (and therefore complete Story Mode) until they have first gained 35 chambers - the 36th being awarded for defeating Mong Zhu himself.
The game was generally received poorly, possibly viewed as a cheap cash-in by figures in the music industry. The game maintains a cult following regardless, and not only from fans of the Wu-Tang Clan
. (note that some fans may have purchased the game purely to hear the exclusive tracks, which could be played on a normal CD player) Other complaints included slowdown (especially with four players simultaneously) unresponsive controls and the inability to jump.
Wu-Tang: Shaolin Style-Controller
Activision released a special edition set of the game, including a controller in the shape of the characteristic Wu-Tang "W". It featured all the buttons of the regular Playstation-controller, but had neither vibration capabilities nor the analog sticks. Due to its shape it was virtually unusable - therefore it can be viewed as a very rare collector's item, rather than a gaming device.