This Day in Gaming History: Shaq Fights Monsters with Kung Fu
October 28, 1994
Back in the 90s, you couldn’t go anywhere in public without seeing something featuring the basketball mega-star, Shaquille O’Neal. It only makes sense that Shaq would eventually get his own video game in 1994, about interdimensional martial arts no less.
Basketballer Shaquille O’Neal’s popularity was at an all-time high in the 1990s. His towering height, skills on the court, and appearances in movies, music, and television attributed to his crossover success. It’s easy to see why game publisher Electronic Arts took an interest in making a game centered around the athlete.
Rather than release a straightforward basketball game such as Barkley Shut Up and Jam! and Jordan vs. Bird: One on One, EA opted to create a martial arts fighter, no doubt to capitalize on the hugely popular Mortal Kombat series. The hiring of Delphine Software International, the developers behind the visually innovative Out of This World, seemed to demonstrate EA’s commitment to making a quality fighting game.
During development, O’Neal was brought in as a creative adviser and actively helped with the design of the game. As for the game’s look, Delphine used advanced rotoscoping techniques. The developer traced over footage of O’Neal and other martial arts stuntmen performing fighting moves to get accurate and fluid animations for the in-game characters. Gamers would be able to play with one or two players at a time and choose between twelve different characters across several stages.
The story of the game was simple. While Shaq was making his way to a charity basketball event in Tokyo, Japan, he somehow gets sucked into another dimension called “Second World”. It’s here where he runs into a slew of butt-kicking monsters, including a powerful Egyptian mummy named Sett Ra.
Shaq-Fu was released to the Sega Genesis and the Super Nintendo Entertainment System on October 28, 1994 with a mixed reception from critics. and the public. Though some outlets praised the fluidity of the animations, most were quick to criticize the poor controls and ridiculous premise.
This news didn’t seem to phase Shaquille O’Neal, as he has secured funding for a reboot with a tentative release date of 2016.
Where do you stand? Is Shaq Fu a bad game deserving of criticism, or an average game victim to the bandwagon effect?
Let us know in the comments below!
Eric Hall2712 Posts
Phone-browsing Wikipedia in one hand and clutching his trusty controller in the other, the legendary Eric Hall spreads his wealth of knowledge as a writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. Be sure to catch his biweekly "Throwback Thursday" segment for a nostalgic look at trivia from the past.