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By ROBB GUIDO
© St. Petersburg Times, published May 10, 1999
Activision and DreamWorks Interactive have teamed up to bring players a lush, often funny, beat-'em-up, Tai Fu.
Fundamentally, Tai Fu is a 3D version of Double Dragon, in which the lead character, Tai Fu, advances through a series of stages, taking out baddies with his own brand of Kung Fu, and learning new styles along the way.
While Tai Fu really doesn't do anything wrong -- the control is tight, graphics colorful and levels well-designed -- it really doesn't do anything to raise it from a mindless bruiser to something more.
In most cases, players fly through stages with ease, getting caught up only occasionally. Once you beat it, there is no reason to go back for more. Probably the only thing that could have improved Tai Fu would have been better use of its combo system. Instead, Tai Fu turns into a test of button mashing skills, and we've all been there before.
The gaming world has been inundated by extreme snowboarding games, which is why 3Xtreme, essentially snowboarding on pavement, may not floor players.
But it contains sufficient depth to warrant its purchase over other recent releases. For one thing, 3Xtreme's many courses are extremely long, taking about five minutes to complete. That is a lot of time to lose the lead, then regain it, only to lose it again before the finish. This kind of forgiveness mixed with unforgiveness makes 3Xtreme one of the more fun extreme racers around.
The control itself can cramp the hands, but tricks are easy to pull off. The fact that you can't change directions in air without doing a spin or flip is frustrating, but you learn to position jumps better. Finally, the chance to earn skateboards, in-line skates and bikes for doing tricks, as well as the multitude of characters that become available as you advance through the various tours, give players all they need for an enjoyable, extreme experience.
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