While en route to a charity game in Tokyo, basketball star Shaquille O'Neal (called "Shaq" for short) is drawn into an alternate dimension by a local man who believes only Shaq can save his grandson. Once there, he must fight a succession of 11 opponents, one at a time, with gameplay resembling Street Fighter 2 or Mortal Kombat.
The game's graphics used similar rotoscoping techniques (similar to those used in Flashback or Prince of Persia) making Shaq's 7'2" frame is represented. As well as the story mode, the player can play individual fights, either with 1 or 2 players, although one human player must always be Shaq. Shaq can jump a huge distance, although he struggles to block.
Credits (SNES version)
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|Lead Graphic Artist
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Average score: 55% (based on 33 ratings)
Average score: 2.5 out of 5 (based on 34 ratings with 2 reviews)
While many have sighted there are zero redeeming qualities to Shaq Fu, one of the few is that its a fighting game with Shaquille O'Neal as a main character. Surely that has got you somewhat interested (not as interested as you were in those Magic Bullet blenders they were selling on paid programing but still interested, right?).
Other then that, the game itself boasts of a pretty cool soundtrack. And by cool I mean "so bad that you love it yet you can't let anybody else know about it as long as you live". The tunes get stuck in your head and stay there but at least you don't mind it. In fact, it probably is so appealing because it is so cheesy.
Despite a wonderfully cheesy soundtrack and the chance to punch Shaq square in the face, this game has very little going for it.
The main problem is how short the game is. You use Shaq to fight your way through 6 (yes SIX, 7 if you include Shaq) characters ranging from all kinds of wonderful stock bad guys like mummies, princes, and some-what originals like a green guy who shoots wind and some cat lady. You fight all these guys then win the game 20 minutes later (no joke).
Another problem is the controls. Shaq moves with all the speed of a turtle and the reflexes of a brick wall and your opponents will exploit this to no end. The only way to even have a chance of winning is to merely jump around and kick your opponent (but sometimes you end up missing). Your enemies (even on the easiest settings) know all of their special attacks and these attacks do a lot of damage.
Another flaw is in the graphics. The characters are 3 times smaller then fighting game characters should be and this makes things just plain dull. The backgrounds are very large and thus fights drag on until the last 2 seconds of the clock remain.
The Bottom Line
Shaq Fu is a very poor fighting game on the SNES, a system that is full of them (and much better ones). The controls are bad, the graphics are bad, the sound is so good its bad, overall this is just a textbook example of a bad game. On a system that is full of fighters, why settle for this?
SNES · by Lawnmower Man (137) · 2008
The primary plus for this game is that it's unintentionally amusing, in a sad and pathetic kind of way.
The characters animate surprisingly well. Very fluid and detailed. Generally, the graphics actually aren't too bad.
You can buy the game for next to nothing these days. I think I paid fifteen cents for mine, plus shipping.
I had always thought that Shaq-Fu was a beat-em with a multiplayer fighting game mode. Sadly, it's JUST a fighting game, and nothing more. Granted, that's not usually such a big deal, but most fighting games have more depth than this.
Another bare-bones fighting game I've reviewed (also for the SNES) is Battle Blaze, and while Shaq-Fu is surprisingly better than that, it's still bare-bones at best, and shockingly similar. Like the ultra-pitiful Battle Blaze, the main "story mode" can only be played with one character--in this case, of course, it's Shaq. There are only six opponent characters. While they're not as lame as in Battle Blaze, they are still pretty lame. You have an Arabian guy, a cat-girl, a Voo-Doo girl, a monster (named Beast), a sorcerer guy, and the final boss, who is a mummy wearing shin and shoulder armor. The Arabian is a strange addition to a game focused on "Kung-Fu" but then again, so is Shaq.
The story mode takes place with an overworld map for some reason. The only interesting thing about it is that the player can pick which of the first three characters to fight first. After that, the final three must all be fought in a specific order, thus largely negating the only use of the overworld map.
As to be expected, the story is just insipid. Shaq wanders into a strange shop in Tokyo and despite needing to get to a charity basketball game, decides to wander through a mysterious portal to save some captive boy named Nezu. It's entirely possible that some of this story was fleshed out in more detail in the instruction manual, but going strictly by the game, it's pretty shallow. We're never really informed of why the boy was taken, what the goals of the "bad guys" are, or anything like that.
Screens prior to, and after, fights feature Shaq and his opponent talking. They're completely static with no animation, and the written dialog is childish, if not outright laughable.
While characters have an arsenal of special moves and there are two punch and kick buttons, none of it truly ever matters. I played through the game largely mashing one kick button, and performing jump kicks. Special moves don't appear to be entirely useful since they all have exaggerated animations. If this was intentional to force some kind of strategy into the game, or just misguided design, it's none-the-less frustrating. By the time most moves have been activated, the character performing the move has been hit before the animation completes. Blocking is performed holding away on the D-Pad, and there is an alternate shield that requires pressing the L button while ducking, but all this stops is projectiles. Really, it's a great way to set yourself up for a kick to the face. The R-button is a generally useless taunt.
On top of this, Shaq's moves are--perhaps this is to be expected--illogical. For some reason he has a "fire kick" and can throw some kind of knives or blades. Why not, say, some kind of slam-dunk move that pounds the opponent on the head as Shaq leaps over? A dribble throw? Seriously now. Knives and fire kicks? Yeesh.
Music is forgettable and apparently intended to have some kind of Hip-Hop quality to it. Sound effects are bland.
Despite the snazzy animation, character designs aren't exactly inspired. On top of which, there seems to be some inconsistency to the designs. For instance, Shaq appears to have been designed to look fairly realistic. Meanwhile, other characters, for instance the cat-girl (Kaori, I believe) look downright cartoony. Side-by-side in a fight, there is a stark contrast to the sprite design between Shaq and Kaori creating an uneven quality to the graphics.
The Bottom Line
The game is bland, the "hip-hop attitude" intended to be in the game is laughable, and the story is just plain stupid. Story mode really has no depth, and the first time I played the game, I finished it. It took about twelve minutes.
Small wonder how this has come to be considered one of the worst video games ever made. Gameplay-wise, it's functional, and for a while, it actually doesn't look bad. But it has no depth, and let's face it, this is the kind of retarded idea that comes from marketing heads rather than from any amount of artistic input. It's the worst kind of licensed shlock, and represents a true low-point for video games. In that sense, it's a video game cliche.
We've dealt with some truly ridiculous storylines in video games, especially those of us who grew up in the 80's with the NES. In Wrath of the Black Manta, you have a ninja rescuing kidnapped children from drug dealers. That's pretty absurd. Mario, for that matter, is a fat Italian plumber that fights evil turtles and becomes super-powered with mushrooms. Hedgehogs can run at "sonic" speeds and rescue woodland critters from a fat weirdo. Splatterhouse features a man with chainsaw blades (functional at that) just jammed into his wrists. We can take a lot of silliness, but Shaq-Fu manages to push the line a little too far.
And not only does it push that line of hackneyed gaming, and taste, it does it all while appealing to no one with it's gross licensed pandering. The bottom line is that the game has next to no content, and is essentially insulting to pretty much any serious gamer.
Laughable, yes, but it shows just how lowly gamers are viewed by some jerks in suits with a marketing degree. I purchased to experience it, just as I purchased E.T. for the Atari2600. I wanted to experience one of gaming's true guffas. I announced my ownership of this to others with the sentence: "I have officially sullied my Super Nintendo."
SNES · by ResidentHazard (3555) · 2010
There exists an internet site which purpose it is to collect and destroy every cartridge of the game. Funnily enough, there is also a website dedicated to saving remaining copies. Both of them can be found in the related links section.
In the story mode of the SEGA Genesis version, you can travel to Yasko Mines named after the lead tester Michael Yasko.
Oddly enough, the SNES version of this game had five less characters than the Genesis version: Leotsu, Nezu, Auroch, Colonel and Diesel are not in the game.
- Electronic Gaming Monthly
- November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #10 (Worst 10 Games of All Time) (Genesis / SNES versions)
- VideoGames Magazine
- March 1995 - One of the Worst Ten Games of 1994
Related Sites +
Save Shaq Fu
Site to prevent the destroying of Shaq Fu cartridges.
Shaqfu.com's mission is to LIBERATE all the copies of Shaq-Fu from existence.
Video review of games (WARNING: Language)
The Angry Video Game Nerd, James Rolfe, in a parody of 'A Christmas Carol', reviews some games, including Shaq-Fu on SNES.
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Contributors to this Entry
Game added by Martin Smith.
Game added August 28, 2004. Last modified January 26, 2024.