EyeToy Kinetic dared to ask gamers to get up off the sofa and get into games physically, and it could accurately be described as the first interactive fitness video game. This new version of the Kinetic series takes the combat part (as seen in the original) and builds on it to a much higher level.
The game is based on Hungar kung fu, which is a 17th-century discipline that was used by Shaolin monks to increase fitness levels. It includes lots of sideways movement, punching, and kicking and includes a lot of techniques similar to those taught in exercise classes today – all of which lend themselves perfectly to the Eyetoy franchise. The game will feature an instructor who will assess the movements you make, something that the development team calls “motion matching.” After learning a specific series of moves, you can put them to the test in a series of minigames and spar against computer opponents. Over 200 separate Hung Gar Kung Fu moves have been motion captured using a leading martial arts expert and players need to stay within the instructors outline on screen to complete exercises and learn new techniques.
Like in the previous game, the workout is split up into four various zones. In combat, you will work through the zones chronologically, moving from the basics and stepping up the intensity of the workout gradually. Hungar kung fu is split into animal styles: Dragon (a gentle introduction to Kung Fu), Tiger (building strength through cardiovascular fitness), Mantis (focusing on agility and balance) and Phoenix (bringing all techniques together in fluid movements). Four weeks is spent on studying each zone, and it’s designed for beginners who have never participated in contact sports or this sort of video game before. At the end of the programme, you will be given a grade by the tutor that should push you on to take the routine again to improve your score. The EyeToy camera is fitted with a wide-angle lens for the Kinetic series so that the full range of body movements can be accommodated in the game. Aside from the main 16-week programme, there’s a freestyle mode that allows you to build your own routine, which can be saved to the memory card, and a quick play mode that has single and multiplayer minigames. One of the latter is a collection of boss characters from the main game, which can be fought by two players in alternate rounds. Whatever way you train with Kinetic Combat you’re guaranteed a serious hard hitting and enjoyable home workout. Those gym-bunnies who scoff at these titles really should give one a go before judging.