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[GAME MASTER]Kwonho Online

Jan 26,2006
Kwonho Online is what you could call a traditional console game made for the online platform. It stands a good chance of winning the hearts of players who have grown tired of games that involve killing monsters and going on secret missions ― the main elements of most massive multiplayer online role playing games.
The concept of the game is very simple. Two people with no weapons or armor challenge each other in a fist fight. You play three matches. The first person to win two games wins the round.
You can choose from four fighting styles: taekwondo, muaythai, taijiquan, and bajiquan.
Each fighting style is different not only visually, but also technically. Of course, by technical, I am talking about key combinations, which are very basic on some fighting styles and more complicated on others.
For instance, the key combinations in taekwondo are very easy, for the most part. This style should be the first choice for first-time players. A fun thing in taekwondo is that once you’ve mastered most of the basic skills, you can perform the famous “crane” position from the movie “Karate Kid 1,” with both arms up in the air, and one leg bent in front of you.
In muaythai, the action is much faster and more aggressive, with a lot of kicking and punching. Taijiquan is a little more complicated, because the damage you inflict on your opponent is not as serious as those achieved with other fighting styles. Instead, you have to work well on your defense, and look for a good opportunity to conjure up a command. However, this takes a certain level of concentration and time (during which the opponent may take you out). Bajiquan is composed of short but powerful punches. Whether or not these fighting styles are faithful representations of the real martial arts, however, is up to the player to decide.
It was amusing to note that while Kwonho is a fighting game, karate was not included among the fighting styles. Perhaps this was in light of the still uncomfortable feelings that Koreans have towards Japanese. However, if Koreans were truly feeling patriotic, shouldn’t taekwondo be the most awesome of the four fighting styles? As one player named Puver pointed out, taekwondo players usually get knocked out by muaythai players that have a lower overall skill level. According to the player Evil Ear, however, that isn’t as true in the upper levels.
The game also has single-player quests. But the nice thing about Kwonho is the online elements that enable you to fight with a pool of players ―whoever is online at the moment.
The graphics are also quite high-resolution with smooth camera panning. The matches take place in three settings ― a gymnasium, a snowy ruin and an urban rooftop. The gamemaker, Hangame, eventually plans to add a separate “quest” where one has to battle a master, but it is not available yet. The developer may also add new scenes later, another advantage of online games.
The game just recently opened beta services on Jan. 19 and is available for free by downloading a client at Kwonho’s Web site (http://kwonho.hangame.com). Currently, the game only supports the Korean language, but if you’ve played games before, it won’t take long to figure out how things work.


by Wohn Dong-hee


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