Publisher: Crave Entertainment
Developer: Genki, Lightweight
Genre: 2D Fighting Game
NA Release Date: November 19, 2001
I picked up this original Xbox fighting game, Kabuki Warriors, for $2 and enjoyed it quite a bit. It has a unique presentation as the cast is made up of a kabuki theater troop.
I’m far from a kabuki expert, but the visuals seem faithful to the source material. The majority of battles take place on nearly identical flat theater stages that are occasionally paired with a painted mural for a background. There’s a handful of weird character entrances, like flying in from the sides of the stage or rising up from underneath it. Going into the game blind, I was definitely caught off guard with how bizarre it was, especially since half of the Japanese text is left untranslated.
What stood out in the gameplay is that the characters have a lot of mobility. They can run quickly across the stage and jump ridiculously high. When cornered, you can even run up the side of the stage and do a back-flip off of the wall. The actual attacks are a bit stiff and sluggish, but seeing the characters dash back and forth made it exciting in a different way.
I only played Kabuki Warriors for a couple hours, but there’s not much content to extend the game’s life beyond that. After doing some research online, I found out it’s apparently one of the worst reviewed fighting games on the system, earning Metacritic score of 32/100.
Fighting games have never been my strong point. Occasionally, I’ll enjoy a Dead or Alive or some random Capcom fighter, but I never try to act like I know what I’m talking about. I’m basically one step above a button masher.
The game is a neat curiosity. The presentation alone is worth $2. However, seeing as I have limited experience in the genre, I probably have no business recommending fighting games to people.