I remember when the infamous Shaq Fu hit the SNES and Genesis back in the day, and sadly it became known for being a disastrous fighter that tried to ride the fighting game wave of the 90’s. I would’ve never imagined that Shaquille O’Neal would once again try his hand at the video game market after so long and after so many setbacks in his entertainment career (he even pokes fun at the 1997 flop film Steel in this game). But here we are with Shaq Fu:A Legend Reborn, which is a 2D beat-em-up this time around that’s flawed but still is a lot of fun to play through.
Shaq plays and voices a heavily fictionalized version of himself here named Shaq Fei Hung where he is raised by asians and eventually trained by a martial arts master after being picked on as a big teen. He soon grows up to be a size 22 shoe-wearing hero that kicks butt and takes names. This power will come in handy in his latest fight against demons intent on moronizing the public to take over the world. It’s up to you to guide Shaq in his quest to travel around the world and take out these demons and kick all kinds of butt doing so.
As soon as you turn on the game, you can easily tell it was made on a crowdfunded budget, but it still manages to work with what it’s got to be fun. While the graphics are very generic and simple looking, I loved the smooth 60 fps gameplay. The cutscenes and dialogue are both fun and funny (I chuckled quite a bit whenever I picked up an Icy Hot powerup and Shaq says random things about it like “Icy Hot, keep away from mucus membranes”). These along with the enemy bosses being parodies of famous celebrities from Justin Bieber to Barack Obama help seal in some of the fun and laughs you’ll get from playing.
There’s also other cool power-ups and abilities Shaq can get, such as a stomp move that blows enemies away with his size 22 shoe, or roundhouse kick them as well. One of the coolest things he can get is a mech-suit that changes him into “Big Diesel” where you can mow down enemies and unleash the pressure build up as an attack as well. Sadly there are some flaws with the combat, such as Shaq’s basic combo attack feeling weak and most of the controls feeling a bit laggy as well. There’s also no kind of leveling up system to learn better skills, so these might turn a few players off to making their way through the game.
Even still, Shaq Fu:A Legend Reborn is more fun than it has any right to be. If you’re looking for a simple 2D side-scrolling beat-em-up and not expecting much, you’ll get around 2-3 hours of size 22 fun from this Shaq attack on the senses.