So, you've purchased your shiny PlayStation Move starter pack.
Congratulations, you've successfully negotiated Sony's undersupply labyrinth. You've got to do what you've got to do in order to adopt the latest technology in a timely fashion, damn it.
Now comes the tricky part; what game should you invest in that best demonstrates your cutting-edge personality? How can you convince others that your reaction times can best be compared with that of a housefly?
You glance cautiously at the Move-enabled titles propped up on the shelf in front of you, whilst doing your best to ignore the incessant whining of the commission-based teenager determined to upsell you an Xbox 360 slim bundled with a free copy of Wii Fit.
You spot Kung Fu Rider; could it really be that simple? The combination of kicking ass and moving forward at speed? For only $70?
Before you decide that potentially purchasing a bad game can't be any worse than dealing with the floor staff for another thirty seconds, there's a few things you should know about Kung Fu Rider.
Firstly, despite the title, there's a remarkable lack of Kung Fu. The entire premise is to use a series of rolling platforms, from office chairs to kids toys and anything in between, to race through Hong Kong streets to escape the Mafia.
It's never explained exactly why the protagonist (meek office worker Tobin who, bizarrely, has the knowledge of a master Kung Fu expert) has displeased the denizens of organised crime, but they're pretty annoyed. This is reflected in the number of cheap attacks they'll inflict on Tobin as he scoots through suspiciously smooth streets, alleyways, and that bastion of pebble-free paradise - the construction site.
Hiding in the shadows like well-dressed UNICEF collectors, they'll attempt to clothesline poor Tobin with long poles and ladders, or simply charge him and knock him sideways. Each time he's removed from his transport device, you're treated to a slow-motion cut scene which can't be skipped, the constant replaying of which rapidly becomes as annoying as watching two rival television networks competing to overstate a natural disaster.
Fortunately though, you have a perceived advantage with your new motion controller. Once you've calibrated the Move, and progressed through the tutorial, you're let loose to put your new control system to the test. It's all pretty simple at first - rapidly move the controller up and down to accelerate, or lift it vertically to jump (both these actions are best performed with the blinds drawn). Moving side to side will steer, and the trigger will duck. The Move button performs a spinning attack and flicking the controller forward rapidly will produce a turbo effect.
Except, that's not really what happens. In reality, the movement required to jump is too similar to the movement required to accelerate, and confusing the two is not beneficial to your progression. The steering is like that time you snapped a belt and lost your power assist driving over the Rimutakas. The duck movement has just enough delay between issuing the command and the actual event to cause you to hit just about everything lower than your head, and the spinning attack doesn't always incapacitate your foes.
In order to proceed through the 27 levels, you'll need to collect various bonuses littered along the course, which provide you with points, and allow you to unlock different mounts. Each track must be completed in a set time, which is quickly eroded by the lingering death animations.
In a rare attempt to make things interesting, wiping out at any stage prompts the Move camera to take a photo of the player for display at the end of the level. It's supposed to generate images of picture-perfect frustration, perhaps immaculately presented Young People smiling, patting each other on the back and eating organic food together. My photos consisted of me, in the same pose, with my eyelids fractionally closer together each time.
At some point, someone on the development team must have realised that the game was about as exciting as rheumatoid arthritis, because they've decided to sex it up with the inclusion of Karen, a scantily-clad sidekick who can participate in Tobin's madcap dash towards videogame mediocrity. Managing to somehow be annoying and low on clothes is a rare quality indeed, however by throwing in amateur cleavage shots coupled with a bit of jiggling, Kung Fu Rider has produced a trifecta of juvenile titillation capable of turning Benny Hill's copper-lined coffin into a powerstation.
What's confusing here is that I've used Move before. It's not as bad as this game makes it out to be. For all the technology advancement between the Wii and the PS3, there's nothing in Kung Fu Rider that couldn't be done with Nintendo's system to the same level of accuracy. It's an opportunity missed - it's a tech demo without the tech, and at no point do you see the pixel-perfect accuracy that embodies Move.
Why Sony think they can sell this as a standalone retail game (even with a lower price) beggars belief.
At best, it should have been included with the Sony Move bundle. Or a free downloadable title on PSN so people can calibrate their Move devices before buying better games. Sony have risked a multi-million dollar investment in new technology by sanctioning a terrible game. If Wii Sports had been this bad, we'd no longer need a section for Nintendo articles.
We have another couple of Move-exclusive titles we're working our way through, so stay tuned to see if any developers can actually utilize the capabilities of the device.