Shaq Fu is a 2D fighting game initially released for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis and Super Nintendo on October 28, 1994. It was ported to the Game Gear, Game Boy, and Amiga platforms in 1995. The game was published by Electronic Arts and developed by the now-defunct Delphine Software International. It features former professional basketball player Shaquille O'Neal (also known as Shaq) as a playable character. Shaq had no involvement in the game's creation other than lending his name.
In the game's storyline, Shaquille O'Neal walks into a dojo while heading to a charity basketball game in Tokyo, Japan. After speaking with Leotsu, a martial arts master, Shaq goes to another dimension, the Second World, where he must rescue a young boy named Nezu from the evil mummy Sett Ra.
Why it Sucks
- Dull sound effects.
- Terrible controls, especially when trying to execute a combo. The controls are also delayed somewhat.
- Unfair opponent AI, not helped by the aforementioned poor controls.
- NTSC versions of the game run much faster than the PAL ones, making them even worse to control.
- Jumping launches your character across the arena, making it hard to control your movement.
- The SNES version has less characters than the other versions.
- There is a product placement of Pepsi, but only for the SNES version.
- Hard-to-swallow concept.
- Playing with strategy by using special moves with proper timing and strategy will cause you to easily get defeated but using a certain attack such as Shaquille O'Neal's stepping side kick repeatedly will allow you to easily defeat the enemy.
Despite its flaws, the game has a few saving graces.
- The game's graphics are very good, from the colorful backgrounds to the fluid sprite animations of the characters.
- The music is also very good as well.
Shaq Fu received mixed reviews at the time of its release. GamePro gave the SNES version a positive review, saying that the unusually small size of the sprites is balanced off by the fast game speed. They praised the "ultra sharp" controls and impressive digitized graphics. They claimed that the Genesis version as superior to the SNES version due to its additional characters and improved controls, and concluded that the game is "fun once you get used to the small, fast sprites." Next Generation Magazine gave a rating of 2/5. One of the multiple reviewers at Electronic Gaming Monthly scored it as a 6/10, and another gave it a 4/10. It received a grade of D from Entertainment Weekly.
However, retrospective criticism of the game has been very negative. GameTrailers rated it number 4 Worst in their "Top Ten Best and Worst Video Games". Allgame gave it a negative review, commenting that "Shaq Fu is a dud" in terms of fighting games based on basketball players. Game Informer magazine placed it number 2 on the Top 10 Fighting Games We'd Like To Forget. In response to the negative feedback to the game, Levi Buchanan from IGN stated it was undeserved as a result of collective exaggerations. In September 1997, Nintendo Power had 12 staff members vote in a list for the top 100 games of all time. This list also included a 10 worst games of all-time list voted by the staff, which placed Shaq Fu at 3rd worst place on their list. Web reviewers on YouTube such as Stanburdman and DXFan619 generally claim Shaq Fu is a horrible fighting game with bad and delayed controls, a bad story, and cheap A.I.
The game was so infamous, there is actually a website called "Shaqfu.com" dedicated to "liberating it from existence" by finding and destroying as many copies as possible. The splash webpage has the startup sequence of the actual game. Another site, "Save Shaqfu", was created to save game's copies from being destroyed by Shaqfu.com.
Donate to those sites if you dare.
A sequel is in development and its trailer even mocked how bad this game was.