Tai Fu | Retro Video Game Review

Tai Fu is an action-adventure retro video game developed and published by Activision for the Sony PlayStation. Released in 1999, the game gained popularity among gamers for its exceptional gameplay, graphics, storyline, sound design, replayability, and difficulty. In the Sony retro video game market, Tai Fu holds a revered place among its competitors. As experts in the video game industry, we want to take a comprehensive look into this game, examining every aspect mentioned above and provide you with our expert commentary through this review. Our readers can expect an in-depth analysis of every feature the game offers, its history and development, gameplay mechanics, graphics, storyline, sound design, replayability, and difficulty. This detailed overview will give players a clearer picture of Tai Fu, allowing them to make an informed decision about whether to add this game to their collection.

History and Development of Tai Fu

Tai Fu was developed in 1999 by a small development team called “DreamWorks Interactive” and published by Sony Interactive Entertainment. The team also developed the popular games, “The Neverhood” and “Earthworm Jim.” Tai Fu is an action-adventure game that focuses on martial arts fighting, featuring a young Kung Fu warrior named Tai Fu.

The game gained popularity among players, becoming a well-known title among Sony’s PlayStation console library. Tai Fu’s development began in the mid-1990s, with the game’s directors envisioning a unique fighting game that featured a quirky Kung Fu universe.

DreamWorks Interactive’s team focused on attaining access to a motion-capture studio to film real-life Kung Fu movements for the game mechanics. Approaching various martial arts studios, the team was eventually able to secure the services of a Kung Fu instructor, who choreographed the game’s two hundred moves. The game’s developers also worked to create immersive environments and designs that fit the Kung Fu universe’s style.

Tai Fu stood out from other martial arts video games of the time with its unique design style, combining cartoon-like visuals and realistic martial arts action. So, its robust gameplay and distinctive art style contributed significantly to Tai Fu’s popularity among players and critical acclaim in the industry.


Tai Fu gameplay can best be described as a beat-’em-up adventure game that involves martial arts techniques. The game’s mechanics revolve around mastering different combos and learning new fighting styles. Tai Fu’s levels have various objectives, including defeating enemies, traversing obstacle courses, and solving puzzles to progress.

Controls are relatively simple, since Tai Fu features limited button combinations. Tai Fu is best played with a controller, as its configuration makes it more natural to perform combat combos with buttons rather than a keyboard. Mastering the different combos and techniques, such as air dashes and uppercuts, are crucial to beating the game. Tai Fu’s masterful fighting mechanics and wholesome narrative set it apart from other beat-’em-up adventure games.

When comparing Tai Fu to similar games, the original PlayStation’s library was chock-full of beat-’em-up games. However, Tai Fu stood out as it had fresh fighting mechanics with cute martial artist animals. Overall, Tai Fu’s gameplay was innovative and fun to play.


When it comes to the graphics of Tai Fu, it’s clear that they are a product of their time, having been designed and released in the late 1990s. That being said, the art style employed by the developers is still impressive by today’s standards. Notable is the implementation of 3D visuals to create a 2.5D world. The characters, backgrounds, and animations emanate an imaginative visual style with a myriad of vibrant colors.

One aspect that makes Tai Fu stand out is the effort put into creating the game’s unique world. It features some fantastic levels that feel like engaging mini-arcades. Each level is based on a different location, culminating in a vivid and marvelous world. Additionally, the character models feel crafted with great attention to detail, making them stand out more than visuals from many other retro games.

One disadvantage of the game’s graphic design is that Tai Fu’s world can sometimes be busy, cluttered, or difficult to navigate because of the camera angles. Players can become disoriented, making it difficult to see their surroundings. Furthermore, while the in-game NPCs are fun and varied, they may repeat too often, giving it a slightly repetitive feel.

Overall, the graphics of Tai Fu manage to achieve a fun and visually delightful experience and appeared sleek and different, but in some cases, this could lead to some accessibility issues with the game’s interface. When compared to other retro games from the same period, the graphics of Tai Fu can be seen as impressive and imaginative.


When it comes to retro video games, one of the most memorable aspects is the storyline. Tai Fu is no exception. The plot is set in a world inhabited by anthropomorphic animals who practice kung fu. Players control Tai Fu, a young tiger who must defeat an evil sorcerer who has taken over the land.

The story itself is well-crafted with several underlying themes and undertones. Through Tai Fu’s journey, the game displays themes of self-discovery, friendship, and loyalty. The storyline is engaging and unfolds in a way that keeps players interested throughout the game.

In comparison to similar games in its genre, Tai Fu’s plot stands out from the rest. The game’s focus on animal characters who practice martial arts provides a fresh take on the traditional fighting game formula. The game’s unique approach has contributed to its enduring legacy and popularity in the retro gaming world.

Tai Fu – A Sony Retro Video Game Overview: Sound Design

The sound design in Tai Fu was just as exceptional as its other features, making it an unforgettable experience. The game’s music and sound effects complemented the gameplay, and added up to the polish of the entire game. In this section, we will examine the sound design in detail.

Firstly, the music of Tai Fu was honestly catchy and stood the test of time. It had the perfect balance between variety and consistency, which enhanced and complemented each level’s atmosphere. The sound was of low quality, yet it did not feel dated in comparison to video games of the time. The music and sound effects were not irritating or repetitive, which made playing the game more pleasant.

Additionally, the sound effects were similarly satisfying and appropriate. Every punch, kick, and jump feels just right, with that ideal balance of power and timing that makes every move rewarding. The sound effects were well in sync with the gameplay, which created an immersive experience.

Overall, the sound design was an essential component of Tai Fu that made it accumulate great results for retro gamers today. The sound design contributed to and enhanced the superb gameplay, graphics, story, and replayability elements of the game, making it stand out among other retro games. Tai Fu’s sound design is an essential component that adds to the overall enriching experience of the gameplay.


One of the stand-out features of Tai Fu is its replayability value. As you progress through the game, each new level poses more challenges than the last. The difficulty ramps up as you progress, making it harder and harder to advance further into the game. However, the game keeps it fun and exciting and provides satisfying rewards as you progress along.

What sets Tai Fu apart from other retro games is the ability to return to it over time. Players come back to the game, even years after playing it initially, to experience the same fun and entertainment they felt the first time around. The gameplay mechanics and controls come naturally to players, which makes it enjoyable to play each time.

Overall, Tai Fu provides an excellent challenge that keeps players coming back to the game over and over again. It’s a game that’s built to stand the test of time keeping its players engaged and entertained for hours.


In conclusion, Tai Fu is a game that has stood the test of time and remains an excellent choice for retro gamers today. The game features an engaging storyline, exciting gameplay, and an incredible soundtrack, making it a must-have in any retro gamer’s collection.

One of the most significant features of Tai Fu is its balance between difficulty and accessibility. The game is challenging but not frustratingly so, and can appeal to both casual and hardcore gamers alike. The mechanics are intuitive, with a relatively low learning curve, making it an approachable choice for most skill levels.

Overall, we believe that Tai Fu is a game that still holds up today and deserves recognition for being a classic in the retro gaming community. We score Tai Fu an 8/10 and recommend it to anyone looking for a game with a great story, exciting gameplay, and fantastic sound design. If you’re a fan of retro games and haven’t played Tai Fu yet, we highly recommend giving it a try.


  1. What console was Tai Fu released on?

    Tai Fu was released in 1999 exclusively on the original PlayStation (PS1).

  2. What inspired the development of Tai Fu?

    Tai Fu was inspired by the creator’s fascination with the Chinese martial arts and the animal heroes from the classic Chinese literature “Journey to the West.”

  3. Is Tai Fu a fighting game or an adventure game?

    Tai Fu is a fighting game that has elements of an adventure game.

  4. What is the difficulty level of Tai Fu?

    Tai Fu has a steep learning curve and can be difficult to master, but it’s designed to cater to different skill levels with the ability to adjust the game’s difficulty level.

  5. Is there any sequel or remastered version of Tai Fu?

    No, there have been no announced sequels or remastered versions of Tai Fu since its initial release in 1999.

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