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August 30, 2006
Eye Toy Kinetic Combat - PS2 Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
15/11/2006SonySony Studio London1-2$59.95 (game only)

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Dodging the dragon.
One of the highlights of last year, and for me the single best reason to own an Eye Toy peripheral for the PS2, was Eye Toy Kinetic. It's wasn't a game as such but actually a quite impressive fitness program which demonstrated that the Playstation 2 was truly more the a game device. Sure, there was still a lot of "game-like" sections to the title, but it certainly gave you a solid workout and with that we gave it a very solid 90% in our review. Now, 12 months later, Sony are back with a new version which looks a lot more comprehensive - and difficult! Developed by London Studio Eye Toy Kinetic Combat is an all new fitness program which utilises the martial arts teaching of Hung Gar Kung Fu with a holistic fitness programme.

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Some games are pretty tough!
To achieve unprecedented levels of interaction, Kinetic Combat uses cutting edge Motion Matching Technology. This sophisticated technology means it’s able to track the player’s moves on screen with supreme precision. It can tell if a move is being performed correctly and gives personalised real-time feedback that is both encouraging and constructive. 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.

As players’ journey through the four martial arts inspired zones they will face a number of challenges to test their new skills. In addition to a series of games, players need to bring all the moves together in an end of zone sparring match. In this ‘versus’ battle, players will face a virtual opponent that they need to defeat to progress to the next zone. To provide a structured training schedule, Kinetic Combat has a Personal Trainer Mode that takes players through a 16 week programme. This programme ensures players benefit from a holistic approach that targets all the body’s muscle groups whilst giving an comprehensive aerobic and anaerobic workout and thorough grounding in Hung Gar Kung Fu.

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One of the new challenges.
The Freestyle Mode lets players build their own workout programme under the watchful eye of the three personal trainers whereas the Quick Play Mode lets players choose a workout at random. This mode also contains a number of one-off games that can be played competitively against friends and family.

The two personal trainers from the first game, Matt and Anna, make a return and are now joined by a martial arts specific trainer Leon. The game includes four themed martial arts zones. Dragon is a gentle introduction to Kung Fu, Tiger sees you building strength through cardiovascular fitness, Mantis focuses on agility and balance while Phoenix brings all the techniques together in fluid movements.

What must be emphasised is that Eye Toy Kinetic Combat is suitable for people with all levels of fitness. I myself am not exactly the fittest person around, but there were significant improvements when I undertook the full training schedule in Eye Toy Kinetic. This time the full schedule has been bumped up from 12 weeks to 16 and also includes over 25 hours of fully interactive classes.

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A solid punch.
Graphics in this game/program are obviously restricted by the quality of the image from the Eye Toy camera however it appears that the developers are adding in a bit more variety to some of the sessions. As you can see in two of the images here one levels appears to show you battling a dragon with some rather nice flame effects in evidence. In terms of audio Sony are putting more then 70 tracks into the gam covering a wide range of genres such as breaks, house, hip hop and electro. We can also expect plenty of commentary from the trainers encouraging you during your workout.

While not a game in the strictest sense of the word this fitness program is probably the best use of the Eye Toy that you will ever find. Strangely there is no mention of Nike working with Sony on this title so they may be going it alone. This sequel looks like being quite a bit tougher, and a lot longer giving you a much better workout. I can't wait to get my hands on Eye Toy Kinetic Combat this November. Pencil it in.