Developer: Virgin Interactive
Publisher: Acclaim Entertainment
Format: Super Nintendo
Released: February 1995
Making video game tie ins to movies has been around a long time so it shouldn’t be a surprise that you can pick a movie that had a slightly unique angle or distinct character and you can bet your bottom dollar that a title exists to match it. Take Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story as an example. The film of the same name was a decent hit in 1993 earning a tidy sum worldwide and helped raise awareness of the legendary Bruce Lee to a new generation even through Jason Scott Lee, who as we all know became the most famous man to ever live. *cough*
It’s faithful to the movie… too faithful.
Following the progression of the film, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story has you control Bruce Lee as you fight your way through the various stages of his life starting with some unlucky sailor armed with a chain and the particularly camp navy uniform of the era replicating the scene from the movie. If you haven’t watched the movie yet don’t worry ad the game will go through all the major characters as you bash their faces in using the incredible agility and flair that Mr. Lee was known for. That sentence only applies to a handful of people as I sucked at throwing the most basic of punches and later when the game throws two guys against you at once or even a fucking demon you will die a lot!
Kick, punch it’s all in the mind…
Dragon is a fighting game in the most basic sense; you punch, you kick, you jump and you block. There are no real combos as the recovery time from hits is tiny. Most of the fights get into a prolonged affair – most likely to add more length to the game as a whole – with the majority of your attacks doing negligible damage. You can also fly across the screen with jump mechanics that belong on the moon. The lightweight damage and feel is completely contrasted by the magnificent sound effects as each smack feels like Rik Flair chop to your ear drums.
The rest of the audio was made by some man in total isolation given the sub-par audio level in comparison not that there’s anything to hear as the music was more than likely composed by pay-cheque Gary who’s knows how music works but doesn’t give two shits if it sounds good or individual. Instead we get a dreary few musical numbers that wouldn’t excite a deaf person hearing for the first time. Every Bruce victory is followed by a ridiculous howl that I hope I never have to hear again.
Where are the Dragons? I’m confused.
Graphically, Dragon is a totally cohesive. Everything looks right and the style is perfectly reflective of the graphics capable of the time. Its got the right tone to accompany the movie which it should given that it was released a whole year later. That isn’t all that uncommon these days but back then that was the equivalent of the Duke Nukem Forever release schedule. The cut-scenes scattered throughout are fairly shite when compared to the in game art style and you’ll spend a ton of time just sitting there getting the Dragon story retold to you through a series of images and short text descriptions. Speaking of short…
My retro review score:
There’s honestly nothing else to say, it’s a fighting game that has Bruce Lee in it. It does nothing unique, its graphically sound and the audio is a mixed bag. You could play worse, you could play better. I’ll just keep with the old-school RPGs going forward.