Wu-fu

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The most fun I had with this game occurred when I approached the register to purchase it. For a second, I thought I had mistakenly placed a copy of Penthouse or Hustler on the counter as the Toys ‘R’ Us cashier asked, "Do you know this is a mature title?" In response to my confused look, she informed me that you need to be 17 to purchase the Wu-Tang game. Luckily, I hadn’t shaved that day so she didn’t make me show my ID. Anticipating a virtual fiesta of sex and violence, I scurried home with my purchase in a brown paper bag. The game itself is not bad but, other than the presence of Ol’ Dirty Bastard and an average amount of violence, I can’t find much that strikes me as "mature." It does include an option reminiscent of a cut-rate steakhouse: blood or no blood.

Like the band’s music, the game is filled with a strange mix of kung-fu, pseudo-Eastern mythology and ghetto culture. You can select any of the nine Wu-Tang members – Method Man, RZA, Inspectah Deck, etc. – and learn their back stories, nicknames and fighting skills. And, unlike most celebrity tie-in games (such as SpiceWorld), some thought actually seems to have gone into quality. In fact, Wu-Tang is actually two games in one: In the "versus" mode, band members can fight one another in various arenas – and in the "story" mode, the player enters a Tomb Raider-like journey through the "36 Chambers."

So, if you like the Wu-Tang Clan already, you can’t go wrong with Shaolin Style. However, if you just want a fighting game, look elsewhere because Wu-Tang is harder on the thumbs than it needs to be.

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