Rag Doll Kung Fu


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Rag Doll Kung Fu

It's about Chi power.

Rag Doll Kung FuLead Artist for Lionhead Studios, Mark Healey, set out to create a video game of his own in his spare time. Over the course of a few years, an innovative and new, gorgeous and outrageous fighting game took shape under the name: Rag Doll Kung Fu.

For the naive and uninitiated, the term "rag doll" is often used in video games and real-time physics simulations to describe a type of character model animation. A model is generally made up of a collection of body parts that move relative to one another. The relative movement of a rag doll's body parts, though constrained to the joints of the model, resembles the flailing limbs of a genuine rag doll. Rag doll physics became all the rage when CPU power permitted its use in games to simulate realistic falling dead bodies instead of the rigid, hand-made and pre-scripted animations gamers were used to seeing.

Control basics: What makes Rag Doll Kung Fu remarkable is that it uses rag doll physics, not for death sequences, but instead as the basis for its gameplay. You, the player, are in control of each limb as you would control a puppet on a string. To move an arm or a leg, click on it and drag it around with the mouse. As you drag a limb, the rest of the body moves with it, though the feet lightly stick to the ground to help maintain some stability.

Rag Doll Kung FuWalking can be accomplished by clicking and dragging each leg, one after the other in turn, or by grabbing an arm (or head) and just dragging your character along. Jumping is accomplished in a similar manner by dragging, throwing, or just clicking above the head of your character.

Attacks are made using a right-click of the mouse. You may use your a hand, foot, or your head to attack, and moves are generally made relative to the position of the mouse cursor. Postion the cursor to the left of your character and it will attack to the left. Position the cursor to the right and attacks are performed to the right. Right-click and drag from any limb to attack with that limb. As you drag, a sequence of blue arrows will appear indicating the direction and relative power of the attack.

Rag Doll Kung FuItems can be picked up easily by grabbing a hand with the mouse, via click and drag, and moving the hand over the item. Some items can be eaten and some can be wielded. Mushrooms, for example, are good for flying, while numchucks are powerful weapons. Pick up a pair of numchucks in one hand and spin them around in circles to deal heavy damage to enemies. There are many items to discover in the game, most of which will help to increase either your health or special abilities.

Heath bar: The status of your health is shown on-screen by a bar with a heart on it. Eating fruit will replenish some of your health, as will meditating. To meditate, stand up straight with both feet together and arms apart. Grab your character's hips and drag down to the ground so that it is sitting. If done correctly, your character will close its eyes and mediate with a special aura emanating around it. The health bar will increase as long as the aura continues.

Rag Doll Kung FuMushroom bar: Power-up with mushrooms by first picking one, and then eat it by moving the mushroom to your mouth. Repeat to fill up your mushroom bar. Eat too many and your character will throw-up. With mushroom power, grab a hold of an arm or the head and drag your character slowly upward to fly higher into the sky. When the mushroom bar depletes, you will fall back to the ground.

Butterfly bar: Butterflies abound in this game, and they provide you with lightning fists! Fill your butterfly bar by catching blinking butterflies. Once you have collected enough butterflies, do the butterfly pose to earn lightning fists. The butterfly pose is achieved by raising both arms and sliding one leg out to perform a split. Then use right-click hand attacks to send a bolt of lightning at enemies and objects.

Chi bar: Power-up your Chi by making small circles with the mouse. As you power up your Chi, your character will emanate a bright aura around it and your Chi guage will fill. Chi power allows you to jump higher, fight harder, faster, and better.

Rag Doll Kung FuAnd that's about all you need to know to make it through this game, and yet there is so much more packed inside. Story mode contains about 20 minutes of hilarious and brash video footage delivered as cut scenes between levels. Hidden stars throughout the single-player levels unlock additional games and features, such as: Rag Doll Soccer, Ninja Onslaught, Chu Chu Wing Poo, and various athletic competition events. Mark has created a challenging and compelling single-player game complete with enemy AI that uses a virtual mouse for movement and attack. Although this puts you on a level playing field with the computer AI, it also means that you may soon outgrow the single-player mode and start looking for more formidable opponents.

Multiplayer: The multiplayer mode will surely extend replay value of the game significantly by allowing you and up to seven (7) others to play via multiple mice on one computer, across a LAN, or over the Internet. Along with the additional games mentioned above, a standard multiplayer death match is included as is Movie Maker, a feature that records you and your friends fighting, playing and carrying on like the crazy fools you are. Depending upon your individual preference for playing against humans rather than AI, the online component of Rag Doll Kung Fu could easily become one of your favorite multiplayer game experiences—especially when you consider that every player has the capability of creating a unique avatar with which to play against others.

Character editor: A character editor is also included that allows you to create your own character 'skins', which is then automatically downloaded to anyone else when you play against them. Create one with your own face and body, use the graphics from one of your favorite video game characters, or draw your own. Mr. Ninya, one of the beta testers and creator of several excellent 'skins', has put up a website that includes a tutorial with step-by-step instructions on how to use the character editor to create a new skin. There will soon be hundreds of characters available to download from all over the Web.

While the game is currently available for Windows only, Mark has indicated that a free demo version will follow the commercial release at some point in the future. In addition, a Mac version may be in the works, as well as the possibility of a version for the Nintendo DS. He also hopes to make a massively multiplayer version of the game someday, too.

There is so much more about this game that I wish I had time to write about. The graphics and special effects are top-notch, triple AAA title quality. The music is wonderful, also created by Mark and his mates, and fits the game's theme and character. Everything about this game is humorous and fun. You can even make your character take a pee or a poo. Rag Doll Kung Fu is a great game made by a very nice and talented guy. And it's less than 15 bucks. What more could you ask for? A free Demo? Click.

A free demo of the game is now available! Click.

35 Comments

What more could you ask for? A free limited trial of some kind, really. I mean, Im sure its a good thing, and Im sure the positive press thing will help, but without some kinda demo version, Im not throwing 15 sheets at it. Sorry!

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I can't believe I'm the first to comment. I've been waiting for this game for years and it looks better then ever. Just 9 hours until release!

Also, I'm very surprised it's at Jay Is, but then again, it's the kind of thing you'd see here.

Everyone should give this game a shot, it's truely quality, gameplay, creativity, physics, graphics, and a good old fun time with your friends combined. Mark spent all his spare time at it, and for 15 bucks it's a steal.

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No, you're right, Heff, no need to apologize. A limited free trial version would indeed be a nice thing. Marcos has promised one, but no word of its existence as of yet.

I guess you're just gonna miss out for the time being.

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LunaticByTheSea October 12, 2005 9:37 AM

Uhm...Ya gotta PAY to play???
The net is over the top with ways to get our cash.

This site used to be a santuary from all that.
Oh well, Its a global economy and we all gotta eat.

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Jay is all about reviewing free games, that's what his site is devoted to. This has absolutely nothing to do with making money. I know that if Jay feels that a game that you have to pay a little something for is worth his time to post a review on it, when he could use that time to post free games, than that game must definately be worth it. So don't think that just because he reviewed a game that you have to pay for, that his site is now going downhill and is going to be all about making money and sticking it to the little guy.

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The screen shots look interesting. Is there anyway that you can show us a short demo with a animated gif?

I suppose I could browse the net and find something.

On to the real question-
I noticed that you mentioned being able to create your own character face. I also noticed some slight similarities between the character and your picture posted above. Was this intentional? Did you upload a picture or choose from some options? Tell us a little more about the intracacies of the character editor.

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No free trial, but you can see the action in the video just google for "Rag Doll Kung Fu trailer".

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I watched the video. It seemed to be played on a number of different speeds. How much of the game is fast clicking and how much is planning for the best move?

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Hate to break it to you, but rag doll masters (from rag doll soft) had a rag doll physics fighter waaay before this did.

I'll wait for the free trial to come out, to see if it's for me.

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Thanks for the support, Labyrinth. =)

Zengief - lol, no the character in the screenshot is actually Mark himself, and represents the 'hero' in the single-player story, not surprisingly.

As far as the character editor is concerned, this forum thread offers some good information on creating your own character and what is required.

As far as strategy over mad-clicking is concerned, one of the game's strengths is that there are no predefined animations, so all of the action is dependent upon the player's chosen style. Some may prefer to use weapons and items for fighting, others may prefer a more hands-on approach to kicking it. =)

Also, as far as the timing of the game is concerned (damn there are a lot of features Mark has packed into this game) on the options screen, you can actually change the rate at which time passes in the game(!), hence you can slooooow things down, or speed 'em up if you prefer.

Here's a source from which to download a couple of different movies.

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Thanks, Crab. I did not mean to suggest that RDKF was the first ever rag doll physics fighter. The game's innovation is in its gameplay, which I believe is indeed a first.

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And this game is in no way a sliver of anything whatsoever close to ragdoll masters. it's much, much, much, much, MUCH, DIFFERENT.

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RDKF just released a matter of minutes ago.

Also: Jay my email is down, which is why i didnt reply to you.. if you can get online and you're not busy i'd like to chat :)

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Oops, I forgot to add, a LOT of people in #ragdollkungfu on Quakenet (IRC)

I'm in there if you want to chat about the game or anything else. A number of the beta testers are arranging games for people who just got the game.

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Lionhead..

Pete Molyneux is my god. I'd give my right testes to work for him. After I get my degree, I'm pondering moving to Britain to solicit a job with him.

So of course, I preordered Black and White 2, which released last week.

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Alright! I just bought it.

Movement wasn't hard as I expected, because you don't have to drag it foot by foot and can just drag the whole head/arm/chest. Attacking is pretty good too, although sometimes I don't think it registers my attacks because the enemy doesn't seem to be getting hurt, but maybe I just suck.

The computer players do seem to move much more swiftly than me, which is kind of unfair, but it isn't too hard so far. Not as bad as the videos made it seem! Hooray.

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If only I had a computer that could run it. :( Seems like something that would be perfect for the Nintendo Revolution's controller, though. Crossing fingers for a port.

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Sounds great, but I purchased the game based on your review and can't get it to work. Followed suggestions in help but troubleshooting is limited and no real instructions for Steam. Disappointing. I'll see what support emails back...

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A Nintendo DS version sounds really good. Imagine this with a stylus :)

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Great stuff! Preloaded and bought it last night, just as it came out, unlock worked within seconds, Steam actually did what it's supposed to do!

And the game is just so cool. Very nice graphics, cutscenes that fit the game (or was the game made to fit the cutscenes...hmm...), fun (if sometimes slightly hard) controls...it's so cool.

More special moves please, Mark :)

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Im planning on buying it once I get about...4 more dollars. Looks really fun and can't go wrong with ragdoll physics ;).

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I got it, and although im all for games with interesting physics features and new game engine gimmicks, this game just doesnt do it for me.. the graphics are rather ugly, I think if the character detail was simplified to cell-shading or cartoonish style this would look a lot better. The fighting doesnt get much better either, requiring you to move your mouse in small circles to power up your moves, this would probably be a lot better on the wrists if you could just hold down a limb to power up an attack..

I think its cool that someone made a game all by themselves, considering I have no game making experience myself apart from a few crappy maps for unreal tournament, I appreiciate the time and effort that would have gone into making this, but im overall dissapointed at blowing half my money I was saving for TES4 on it..

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Sorry you're disappointed, Kyo357, though I can't help but feel that you may have made a snap judgement.

I simply do not agree that the graphics resemble anything remotely 'ugly'. It's a gorgeous game from the many special lighting and particle effects to the ability to customize your own character with your own graphics, including any cell-shading or cartoonish style you prefer. The attention to detail in this game is amazing, especially the passage of time from night to day and back again.

I understand your complaint about having to make circles with the mouse, but I don't think your suggestion would work since pausing to power-up would likely impact the pace of the action negatively. Circling the mouse works for me, is quite intuitive, and hasn't caused me any wrist strain. I have been playing the game for several weeks now.

I do appreciate your feedback, however. =)

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Looks like fun, though considering that I have a Mac laptop with a touchpad..there's not too much of a chance that I'll be playing it soon. Though it seems like it would be a very workable game on the DS =D

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I just received word from Mark that Valve will be providing the free demo through Steam, as they generally do, about a month following the commercial release.

I will post a new blog entry when the demo becomes available.

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wicked,i've been waiting for this for ages,great its released now (too bad i don't have time to play it till weekend =( )

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Hey i just bought this game yesterday it's an awesome game. Spent hoursss playing it. Then it crashed or something and now when i try and play it no text is showing up in the game? Can u help?
Other than that great game for 15 bucks

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Have you tried the Steam support knowledge base?

I'd try there first to see if someone else has had the same trouble you are having.

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chitoryu12 December 3, 2005 10:45 PM

Why's everyone complaining that they needed to pay to play? They aren't going to give you an awesome game that they spent months making for free. Besides, it's $15! That isn't much, even if you make minimum wage!

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Well Demo is out now for interested ones.

I alrdy played like 150 hours and am crazy bout this game.

Under what name are you playin Jay?

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STUPID STUPID STUPID!! Why make a game that you can only buy to play and then torment everyone with it? There should be a DEMO FOR GOSHES SAKE!!! STUUUPID!!

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There IS A DEMO now available. =)

You must have Steam (another free download) to play. All the details you need are on that page.

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how do you make models? ive got the program but i dont know how to make my own model

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This is perhaps one of the least enjoyable games I have ever played. Controlling the character is frustrating and never becomes fluid, in that you never feel you are really in control at all. Many of the tasks become a slightly random series of odd jerks that provokes RSI and unhappiness. And the movies are somewhat annoying.

I am glad I only tried the demo and did not buy it.

Regarding my feelings about the control, a number of online reviews echo my problems. So, it is one of those 'try before you buy' situations of cliche. Do make sure you can even consider it a 'game', and not some silly juddering toy, before you buy it.

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I finally shelled out the cash to buy this gem, and I was not disappointed in the gameplay, but I was in how short it was-taking me less than an hour to beat-and that I could not find ANYONE online to play with. However, the game is simply gorgeous and the cutscenes are priceless, I just wish there were more of it, a LOT more of it. And where is that map-editor he has been promising for months now…? If only there were more here and some online play that worked, well, this game would be up there with Darwinia in terms of awesome indy games!

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