When someone weighing 300lbs and is over seven feet tall decides to be in a beat-'em-up you'd think twice before telling them to go away. But when that person is Shaquille O'Neill, arguably the most successful sportsperson of all time with a salary that would make the £18 million lottery winner jealous, you'd be committing financial suicide not to sign him up, however ridiculous the premise.
Developed by Delphine, a company well known by Amiga owners for the excellent Another World and Flashback, their distinctive graphical touch is obvious from the start as the sprites are equally well animated and dynamic.
The plot is not so polished however, and takes into account just about every beat 'em up cliché imaginable. It takes place long ago in The Second World, a miserable land ruled over by the heartless Sett Ra.
Not content with ruling The Second World he wants to get his gnarly fingers round that sticky bun called The First World, better known to you and I as Earth. Of course only the Chosen One can stop him doing so, and unsurprisingly this is Shaq Fu.
Into the game then and one of three play modes is available. Story mode casts the player as Shaq Fu, who must wander across the game map battling each of Sett Ra's cronies in turn, while Duel allows any of the characters to be pitted against each other in either a one or two player match.
Finally there's the tournament option, similar to that seen in Ultimate Body Blows, where each player assembles a team of fighters before sending them in against the opposition one at a time. Whoever has the most surviving fighters at the end of a battle wins.
So, the presentation is good, with comprehensive options, and the graphics are equally polished. Why the low mark, then? For starters, abominable disk accessing. Arricing on six disks Shaq Fu takes an age to load, and that's just to get to the title screen. Once the characters have been selected, up to four more disk swops are required and unbelievably if you lose and decide to play the match again, the whole set up must be reloaded as it isn't kept in memory.
And while the sprites are detailed and well animated they are wholly unsuited to the beat 'em-up genre because of their small size. Letting loose with an explosive fireball for example should look exciting, instead it looks more like a spray of air freshener.
And sometimes in close combat it can become very difficult to sort out what's going on. This leads to pointless random stabbing of the joystick button as you try to bash down an opponent's energy bar before they do the same to you - not a good way for developing skill or strategy.
Shaq Fu also suffers from many of the characters having just one move which will destroy an opponent with little effort. Shaq himself has a nifty throw which does just that and the other character most likely to be selected, Beast, has a claw attack, which does the same.
The unresponsive controls also lead to simple moves being used most often as the special ones are too difficult to pull off. Although many of the character's moves are hidden, if you've played Streetfighter 2 or either of the Mortal Kombat games most of them will be worked out quickly.
Not only have the moves been seen before their execution has too; fireballs, dragon punches and overhead throws are common.
Shaq Fu is not a product that can be recommended. Although disk swopping is a problem, the insipid and completely uninspired gameplay that's been too accurately converted from the equally unimpressive Mega Drive and SNES originals is the major flaw.
It's important for the Amiga to get big name console conversions like Aladdin, but this is one title that should have stayed on cartridge ROMs. The Amiga used to have little in the way of decent beat 'em ups but not anymore, so stick to Acclaim's classic Mortal Kombat 2 or the forthcoming Shadow Fighter from Gremlin Interactive.