Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn Review: You'd Be A Fu To Pay Full Price For This

While this casual racism simulator is clearly a better game than its predecessor, the failed attempts at humor and lack of multiplayer keep A Legend Reborn from approaching mediocrity.


In the early 90s, things were dope. We had Zubaz pants, Crystal Pepsi, and people would still accept a ginger ale from Bill Cosby. Basketball was also insanely popular at this time due to a glut of charismatic stars and the U.S. Olympic Dream Team. Basketball’s hottest young prospect at the time played college ball at Louisiana State and was drafted with the first overall pick in the 1992 NBA Draft. Shaquille O’Neal (better known as Shaq) was introduced to the world.

Everyone Got Their Own Video Game In The 90s

A dominant player from the beginning, Shaq became a cultural phenomenon and began racking up endorsements and deals. Everyone wanted a piece of the Shaq Attack and the man was more than willing to do business. He starred in a major motion picture, Blue Chips, with NIck Nolte and even had a platinum rap album, known as Shaq Diesel. Naturally, Shaq needed his own video game (Charles Barkley, Michael Jordan, and Scottie Pippen already had their own games), and Electronic Arts delivered Shaq Fu into the world in late 1994.


Shaq Fu was a 2D fighting game that featured Shaq traveling to another dimension after taking a trip to Tokyo for a charity basketball game. It was a critical flop and gained notoriety in the following years as one of the worst games of its era. While its reputation is not wholly deserved, it is objectively a bad game and was destined to be an afterthought, or so you’d think. An Indiegogo campaign was launched in 2014 to help fund a sequel. The campaign reached its goal and after more than four years, the development team at Big Deez productions have delivered their vision for a modern Shaq Fu.

To get straight to the point, Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn is a better game than the lazy cash grab that inspired it. Unlike the original Shaq Fu, A Legend Reborn is a side-scrolling arcade beat-em up, much like the classic Final Fight, Streets of Rage, or TMNT: Turtles in Time. You work your way through the levels as Shaq and use your fists and feet to pound countless grunt enemies on your way to bosses that are found at the end of each chapter. The game is fully 3D and built on the Unity engine. It looks good enough and ran well on my PC. The controls are functional, though the gameplay suffers pretty much all of the faults inherent to the genre and feels half-baked. Those are all of the positive things I can say about Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn.

When A Crowd Funds Garbage

A Legend Reborn is at best a tone-deaf time killer with dated, unfunny satire and at worst, racist and insulting to the player’s time and money invested. You play as Shaq, who was an orphan raised by a Chinese caricature who is implied to be both a moron and pedophile. You work your way through the game’s six main chapters trying to beat up (or kill) some celebrities that may be involved in the death of Shaq’s mentor.

You go up against Donald Trump, Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian, Mel GIbson, Paris HIlton, and Madonna. Each level is has a backdrop that fits with the boss and grunt enemies that are loosely related to the celebrity. For example, Bieber is portrayed as a pretty boy and lives in a private compound where he is protected by packs of effeminate homosexuals and crazed female supporters. He is manufacturing a purple drink full of steroids and sugar for some reason or another. He also has henchman that try and kill Shaq with grape soda cannons and his property has a giant shower head that fills the moats on the property with soda. When you get to Bieber, he turns into a chicken that you must choke to finish off. It’s so funny and awesome that I almost passed out while playing.

Kim K. is pretty much a giant ass that love tacos, Paris Hilton lives in Los Angeles and is protected by a swapped palette pack of effeminate homosexuals. She uses her dog on a leash as a whip against Shaq while he cracks jokes about her sex tape. Mel Gibson shows up with over-the-top antisemitism, and Donald Trump is depicted here as his character from The Apprentice, rather than his current leader of the free world gig. It almost feels like half of the humor here was topical 4+ years ago when this project was being crowdfunded and the developers decided to just leave everything as is into 2018.

Obviously, Madonna is the big bad final boss and reveals that she is Shaq’s mother, because he was a minority baby and she loves adopting them, but she’s also a whore and left him for dead. You must punch her lots of times to get payback, only to find out that maybe Kanye is behind all of this? Can’t wait to see what clever way this all plays out.

IcyHot Won't Be Able To Soothe These Pains

This is a bad game. It’s not worth $20 and, in my opinion, not worth $5, unless you’re the kind of person that would get a kick out of Paris Hilton slut jokes in 2018 and can’t get enough lazy, casual racism. A lack of cooperative multiplayer outright dooms the title, forcing it be be endured alone by those unlucky (or stupid) enough to buy it. I’m honestly shocked that Shaq lent his name and voice to this turd pile. My guess is that he cashed the check and hasn’t seen the game. A disclaimer opens the game stating that the events depicted don’t represent Shaq’s views or opinions and that those who take issue with the content of the game shouldn’t bother him. It’s almost like the developers knew ahead of time that all of this was a bad idea and expect backlash to be directed towards O’Neal. Nice work, guys. 2/10 low-effort dick jokes.

This review is based on the PC Steam release. The key provided by the publsiher. Shaq Fu: A Legend Reborn was made available for Steam, Xbox One, and PS4 on June 5, for $19.99. The game is rated Teen.

Contributing Tech Editor

Chris Jarrard likes playing games, crankin' tunes, and looking for fights on obscure online message boards. He understands that breakfast food is the only true food. Don't @ him.

  • Tubs of IcyHot refill your health bar
  • The game opens and runs fine
  • Less than 3 hours long
  • Unfunny
  • Bland gameplay
  • Enemies attack Shaq with grape soda, his weakness
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