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Bruce Lee: Quest of the Dragon

Score: 40%
ESRB: Teen
Publisher: Universal Interactive
Developer: Ronin Entertainment
Media: DVD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action

Graphics & Sound:

When it was first shown, Bruce Lee: Quest of the Dragon was something of a showpiece for the power of the Xbox. However, somewhere between last year's E3 demo and its release things fell apart. While I have seen worse, Quest does nothing to show what the Xbox is capable of. Abysmal lighting effects, boring environments, jerky animation - if it can go wrong in Quest, it probably does. I think my sister's boyfriend summed it up best when he said 'It just looks too plain'. Bottom line, the game is lifeless. Things look even worse when viewed through the eyes of the games poor camera work. Jumping around and kicking ass as Bruce Lee requires a dynamic, quick camera - yet the one found in the game moves with all of the lightning fast speed of a 89 year-old man with a walker; it just cannot keep up.

In the sound department, things do not look as bad. The voice acting is well done, especially Bruce's signature 'whoops' and 'yelps'. The music is good, but some tracks, such as the title music are laughable.


Gameplay:

Quest does not even register on the radar when it comes to that true 'Kicking ass Bruce Lee style' game we have been wanting for years. From the overly campy storyline - something involving Bruce's father being kidnapped and searching for a golden relic - to the overdone fighting engine, this game is the pits.

Anyone familiar with old-school brawlers like Final Fight and Streets of Rage will easily recognize the game's playing style. You begin the game with a slim selection of punches and kicks as you follow a fixed path towards your goal. As you progress through the levels, gangs of ninjas will periodically jump you. This is when you are supposed to get into true Bruce Lee mode and destroy these chumps two at a time with lots of style and flash. Or at least, that's what I would hoped would have happened, but I was instead given a button-mashing contest to see if I could maybe pull off a cool move or two while the ninjas lined up like the Kung-Fu monkeys they are and attacked me one at a time. As you can imagine, this gets very boring, very fast.


Difficulty:

Playing though Quest is about as difficult as listening to William Shatner sing his favorite showtunes. This is not to say that Quest is a hard game, it is just hard to play. Given the bad camera work, the less than responsive controls, and the overall boring gameplay - I found myself just not wanting to play the game at all. As far as actual in-game difficulty goes, Quest is about average. I wish I could say more, but the control is just so bad it is hard to truly gauge things.

Game Mechanics:

I am convinced that most of Quest's problems could have been resolved, or at least overlooked, had it sported better control setup. The response simply is not where it needs to be for this type of game. Throwing simple punches and kicks seem to have a rather long delay time - leading to more that a few cheap hits from your enemy. Between levels you can buy combo moves to help spruce up Bruce's arsenal, yet given the timing required to execute these (sometimes-complex) combos and moves, you are better off not using them at all. The lack of response even popped up when trying to move Bruce from one area to another. After pressing a direction, it always felt like Bruce was saying 'oh...you want to move over there?'. Quest also uses the left trigger to focus on enemies and right stick to split attacks between enemies, but even tasks as simple as these never work quite how you want them to.

Ultimately, the only people who will find any real enjoyment with Quest are the most hardcore of Bruce Lee fans. But given the game's flaws, even they may be turned off by the game. If you're looking for a good Kung-Fu fix, you're better off buying a Bruce Lee DVD than Quest.


-Starscream, GameVortex Communications
AKA Ricky Tucker

Microsoft Xbox Blood Omen 2 Microsoft Xbox Buffy: The Vampire Slayer

 
Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated