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Kung Fu Panda: Legendary Warriors

Score: 75%
ESRB: Everyone 10+
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Artificial Mind and Movement
Media: Cartridge/1
Players: 1
Genre: Fighting/ Platformer (3D)/ Action

Graphics & Sound:

Graphically, Activision's small-screen version of Kung Fu Panda: Legendary Warriors looks great. While the environments are fairly basic and don't necessarily stand out in any special way, they do serve their purpose well. Some environments include small obstacles or even bridges that can be a bit tricky when fighting, which does slightly infuse the environments with the gameplay.

The character models, both friend and foe, all look great too. The stars of the game are the namesake Panda and also Tiger and have great fighting animations as well. There are plenty of different moves to perform, and the animations transition nicely from one to another. The enemies that pop up on-screen also look great, although there really aren't a whole lot of different baddies to fight in the game.

Kung Fu Panda: Legendary Warriors may not have the best audio in the gaming world, but the music is great and perfectly fits the title's theme. Since the music is of a Chinese style, it fits not only the world that the game assumes, but also the repetitive fighting style typical of martial arts films and games where waves of bad guys tend to approach the main characters.


As you would expect, this title is a fighting game, through and through. For those out there who remember games like Double Dragon or Final Fight, Kung Fu Panda: Legendary Warriors plays exactly like they did, which is a great thing for any fan of side-scrolling fighting games. The difference here is that instead of sprites, the environment and characters are in full 3D. In fact, there are certain points within each level where you will be able to steer your character upward into the screen for secret (and not-so-secret) paths to find more pick-ups, although ninety percent of the game plays from left to right.

Kung Fu Panda: Legendary Warriors allows you to choose from either Po the Panda or Tigress the Tiger, but both will set out to work their way through a number of different levels. Here, you will try to not only defeat all of the foes presented before you, but you also earn up to a total of five stars for your performance. While the game itself isn't that difficult to get through in terms of reaching the end of each level, earning five stars on each will likely take a few retries. You'll also be able to look for hidden coins on each level.

There is a limited use of the stylus in the game too, but it almost feels a bit more like it was tacked on than that it is a crucial part of the game. Here you will use the touch screen to do things like swinging on ropes or firing catapults, and you will also be able to draw symbols on-screen to launch furious attacks. These drawn attacks are great, but the fact that you have to remove your hands from the attack buttons leaves you vulnerable to say the least.

Kung Fu Panda: Legendary Warriors feels a bit rushed out the door, considering that this is the second game since the movie release, and appears to be released alongside the DVD version of the movie. While the game is certainly fun, it is very repetitive and not all that difficult. It should be noted that you can also connect this DS title to the Wii version of the game, although this was a feature that I was unable to test. There are also achievements for you to accomplish, but beyond trying to get five stars on each level, the replay value of this game is still relatively low.


Kung Fu Panda: Legendary Warriors is very repetitive, but plays very well. Unfortunately, the game is way too easy and will not take long to play though as such. Each level is relatively short as well, and they are all very linear in nature, only allowing for a short break from the side-scrolling nature to give a chance for the exploration of tiny branches in the main pathway. The levels, or I should say the enemies within, do feel like they get progressively more difficult, but none feel very threatening whatsoever. If you learn to block during the boss battles, even these larger enemies will go down rather quickly.

As each level progresses, you will notice that more enemies will fill the screen, but again, their threat level isn't that much more intense as only a few will approach at a time. The most difficult spots in the game come a few times per level when you become restricted to a small area as walls form from the ground on either side of you until you defeat all of the baddies within. There will likely be no more than three at a time, and more will respawn after you defeat the original group of enemies. The bosses that you will face are generally bigger and badder, and will cause more damage if you get hit. However, as mentioned above, learning to block makes short work of the bosses too, because you will be able to unleash your mighty combos against them at their moments of weakness.

Game Mechanics:

The game controls of Kung Fu Panda: Legendary Warriors are rather basic, but work very well. You will be able to use a couple of different buttons to attack enemies, and also be able to jump at will. Combining these buttons in both sequential order or in the form of jump kicks will often help you defeat the bad guys with relative ease. As you progress through the game, you will unlock different move sets to learn from. You can also heal your health as you go at any time by pressing and holding the (R1) button, but if you do so while enemies are present, they will likely attack you before you can fully rejuvenate your lifeline.

The game does use the touch screen as well, but it is saved for very limited-use cases. An example is that you will need to use your stylus (or finger, for that matter) to tug and swing on a rope to cross certain gaps in the ground, or you may draw shapes on the screen to release your special attacks, but for the most part, you will be using the standard face buttons to navigate your panda or tiger through each level.

Although I did not play the first game that coincided with the theatrical release of Kung Fu Panda, I have read that it played differently, making more use of the DS's touch screen. If you have played that game and are now looking at Legendary Warriors, be aware that this new version seems a bit rushed in its release and doesn't feel like as solid of a title as it could have been. With that said, on its own it plays similar to some old-school, side-scrolling fighters, except with a lot less of a difficulty rating than most had back in the day. Kung Fu Panda: Legendary Warriors is an enjoyable title; just don't look for it to be a big leap in terms of gameplay.

-Woody, GameVortex Communications
AKA Shane Wodele

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