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Xiaolin Showdown Preview for Xbox
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Xiaolin Showdown 

Preview for Xbox

- William Usher, " Cyguration ", Senior Staff Writer
Sunday, July 16, 2006 

Review Preview

Xiaolin Showdown

November, 2006
RP (Rating Pending)

Xiaolin Showdown Screenshot Gallery

Xiaolin Showdown Screenshot Gallery

Xiaolin Showdown Screenshot Gallery

Based on the hit television series of the same name, Xiaolin Showdown is coming to consoles and handheld devices this fall. The game will feature the cartoon’s four main heroes in their struggle against evil boy genius Jack Spicer. Both good and bad guys in this game will be vying to control Shen Gong Wu. So it’s up to players to do battle against the forces of evil in Xiaolin Showdowns in order to decide who gets control of the ancient artifacts.

For those not familiar with the cartoon, it follows the exploits of four characters: Omi, Kimiko, Raimundo and Clay, along with their goofy size-changing dragon, Dojo. Under the tutelage of Master Fung, their goal is to collect and protect as many Shen Gong Wu as possible. Shen Gong Wu are ancient artifacts with mystical powers, such that they lend whoever possesses them with special abilities. However, more people than just the good guys want to get their hands on the Shen Gong Wu. Infamous evil boy genius Jack Spicer wants to rule the world, and under the evil guidance of the witch-turned-evil-spirit, Wuya, he thinks he’s well on his way. However, Wuya has her own plans for the Shen Gong Wu, and is only using Jack Spicer to obtain them for her.

One of the fun gimmicks of the show is the martial arts-based encounters Omi and his friends have with Jack and his evil robots. Most of the time, these take place during battles when more than one person grabs a Shen Gong Wu, resulting in a traditional, yet mystical, tie-breaker called a Xiaolin Showdown. These Showdowns have the characters competing in a range of different tasks, with the winner being awarded the rights of possessing the Shen Gong Wu.

With a possible fourth season in the works, the WB cartoon has definitely struck a note of popularity with its audiences around the world. In fact, Konami bought the rights from Warner Bros. Entertainment to produce a game based on the TV show. The game will feature six characters to choose from, playable across 18 different stages and 12 Xiaolin Showdown arenas.

The story for the game will closely resemble its television counterpart, having Jack Spicer lead his team of supervillains against Omi, Raimundo, Kimiko, and Clay. The goal for the heroes will stay the same: They must work together to overcome the forces of evil to obtain and protect 30 distinct Shen Gong Wu throughout the course of the game. This of course takes place with the help of fast and furious martial arts style action, in large open environments. Each character also comes with their own fighting abilities and special moves that players can execute. For instance, Omi has his signature water elemental powers, Clay has his earth elemental abilities, while Raimundo possesses the element of wind, and Kimiko can utilize the element of fire.

The gameplay itself allows for up to four players to simultaneously do battle against Jack and his friends, all at lightning speeds. Attacking, defending, and using special powers aren’t the only tools at the kids’ disposal. Beating up bad guys with environmental objects is also possible. There are a range of different objects that can be used, including barrels, boxes, and other various items that can be hurled at enemies within the stage. Stages will also contain hazards that players must avoid during the battles though, but at the same time they can use the hazards to their advantage by knocking bad guys into them. These hazards include things such as flames that periodically spurt out in one stage, where players can knock enemies into the flames to dish out extra damage. Within the missions there are also boss battles for players to encounter, which will have them facing different challenges in various arenas. More importantly, though, are the Xiaolin Showdowns for the Shen Gong Wu that take place in each stage.

Like the cartoon, after players uncover a Shen Gong Wu, the player(s) will be transported to a mini-game of sorts. These mini-games allow the participants to partake in different objectives in order to obtain a Shen Gong Wu. The mini-games range from playing a unique take on tag, to a classic Mario-style platforming game. The Shen Gong Wu, however, also play a big part in the actual gameplay. Before each stage, players are able to pick from three of the available Shen Gong Wu to take with them into battle. Before using the magical items, though, players must fill up their ‘Chi’ meter (think MP) before using the artifact’s magical abilities. Fighting enemies and kicking butt will actually help charge the meter faster, since enemies drop ‘Chi’ energy. However, when players take damage, their ‘Chi’ will drop as well, meaning that players must keep fighting to regain ‘Chi’. So, there is a balance for using Shen Gong Wu in this game, so players won’t always rely on the magical items to continually get them through each battle.

Players will also find a Showdown mode in the game which allows multiple players to duke it out in any of the 12 arenas that are unlocked in the Adventure mode. And to keep replay values intact, players will also be rewarded for their efforts by unlocking new costumes and characters throughout the game. On a final note, the developers did a fantastic job of bringing the visual likelihood of the cartoon to a 3D format. The backgrounds and characters are well designed with great similarities to the cartoon. The game almost has a cel-shaded 2D look to it that will probably capture the attention of younger gamers right off the bat.

So whether you’re a fan of the television series or a gamer looking for some fun, fast-paced martial arts action, you should be sure to check out Xiaolin Showdown this November for the Xbox, PS2, PSP and Nintendo DS.

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