December 17, 2008

Geochilmaru - The Showdown: Gaming in the Old Style

Geochilmaru: The Showdown is really such a retro concept for a video game, you'd think a Pong ball had hit you in the head. Zoinks! Eight strangers -- each with a contrasting fashion sense and martial arts discipline -- are summoned by a mysterious training fansite to compete in an ultimate fighting match on a snow-covered mountain. (The scenery, like the lighting, is frankly blah.) The goal is to subdue each opponent and thereby collect all eight coded necklaces which, when pieced together, will reveal the secret identity of the webmaster who may or may not be one of the competitors. Though the setup is unoriginal, who wins which fight isn't so obvious and the battles themselves feel more real than you'd expect given the low production values. To his credit, director Kim Jin-seong uses real pros like mixed martial artist Kim Dae-won in his cast which racks up high marks by pooh-poohing the flashy F/X of Crouching Tiger Hidden Tiger and its costly ilk for something more authentic. This isn't art. This is chop 'em sock 'em action with sage sayings and corny gags to get you from one good fight to the next. Coming soon to an Xbox near you.

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