Back in the early 1990s, Shaquille O'Neal was one of the largest players in the NBA, and the country could not get enough of him. He released a few albums, starred in a few movies, and even appeared in his own fighting game for the Sega Genesis and Super Nintendo. That title, Shaq Fu, released to instantaneous infamy. When ShaqDown appeared in Google Play back in January, it ended the nearly two decade long wait for proof that Shaq could indeed star in a decent action game. Several months later, One Spear Entertainment is now temporarily making ShaqDown available for free.
Well, that didn't take that long at all. Less than a month after we first heard about Shaquille O'Neal starring in a post-apocalyptic game that features mutant zombies (yes, you read that right), it's already released! The not-quite-sequel to Shaq Fu, a game so bad that people devote actual time and money to liberating it from existence, brandishes an entirely different gameplay style. Whereas the original was a fighting game along the lines of Mortal Kombat, this game is closer to the second week of Dikembe Mutombo's 4 1/2 Weeks To Save The World. That's exactly the kind of feeling I was hoping for going into this game.
I'd like to start this piece Peter Jackson style: with a longer-than-necessary flashback to provide background on this story. Back in the 90s, kids were all about two things: basketball and fighting games. We loved Mortal Kombat, Street Fighter, Space Jam and Shaquille O'Neal. Or so the legends go. As a result, in 1994, some genius marketer aimed to put the two together to create Shaq Fu. It did not fare well. In fact, it was so bad that there is an organization devoted to "liberating it from existence."
Now, 18 years later, the developer of Go Ninja wants to resurrect the...