by Ron J. Fortier
Even if you're not into Kung Fu/Karate movies, don't let that stop you from taking a look at Datasoft's newest release, Bruce Lee. I must admit that I enjoy watching Sunday afternoon martial arts movies. I don't want to offend any faithful followers of these films, but many offer -- if nothing else -- good comic relief in the midst of their good guy vs. bad guy vengeance plots. Even if you're not into martial arts, but enjoy computer games with good playability and nice graphics, you should strongly consider Bruce Lee.
You have the option of playing against the computer as Bruce Lee, or as an opponent, the Green Yamo. In either choice you can play against the computer, against another player, or take turns with another player. Once the game is booted, you'll have to sit through a short musical intro and a title screen along with a good graphic representation of Bruce Lee. As the title character, your perilous mission is to search for a wizard who dwells within a mighty fortress. After you destroy this evil menace, you can claim his wealth.
You begin the game at the entrance of the fortress. This is one of twenty rooms, each of which you have to explore. Each room is also sealed off from the others. The only way to get to an adjoining room is to jump up and take lanterns that are hanging in various parts of the rooms. Many of the lanterns control the opening of doors and passageways leading to other parts of the fortress. There are also flashing buttons which appear in some of the later rooms that must be turned off by touching them. When you've played the game for a while, you will discover which lanterns are important enough to take. The amount of lanterns gathered also determines your final score. At first, I wasn't concerned with what kind of score I had. I just wanted to get to the wizard. Now that I've gotten to the end of the game, I try to get all of the lanterns -- which is not always as easy as it looks.
Throughout the game you are constantly harassed by ninjas and the Green Yamo. Your joystick controls your flying kicks, karate chops, and occasional ducking to avoid the assassins' blows. You must jump and climb on vines, ladders, and moving walls that can change direction and force you into strategically placed swords. The hazards and traps that await you get worse as you get closer to the wizard's room. Electrical beams, lights streaming across the floors and exploding flames that appear from under you -- all make this game one that will keep you up until the early hours of the morning.
Once you have finished the game, you start back at the beginning. This may seem a little disappointing after all you've been through, but I guess it's a compliment to the game. You hope it will never end. Once you've returned to the beginning, be prepared for a more difficult game. The ninja and Green Yamo are very annoyed at this point, and will do everything they can to stop you. I couldn't make it out of the first screen the second time.
We won't spoil the game for you by showing you too many of the rooms, but as you can see, the graphics are top notch, and the animation is very good. So put on your karate gi, tighten up your black belt, and prepare to do battle in Bruce Lee. Hiiiyaaa!