Producer: US Gold
Memory Required: 48K
Retail Price: £7.95
Author: Ron Fortier and Kelly Day
Ah so! Another platform game but this time based on the antics of the worldly hero of the east, Bruce Lee. Bruce has returned to the land of his forefathers to destroy a wicked wizard, should he succeed he will be rewarded with treasure beyond the capacity of his knap-sack which seems a bit of a shame.
Bruce's first task will be to find his way into the underground chamber by discovering the secret entrance. I won't be giving much away when I tell you that this can be found in the floor of the middle entrance hall but it will not open until Bruce has collected all of the lanterns from all three rooms, that's just to get into the underworld where the real work starts. As Bruce makes his way across the other screens he will face many bizarre dangers which include electric charges that shoot across the gaps between platforms, or the awesome exploding t'sing-lin (bushes) that appear from nowhere.
The most persistent and annoying of Bruce's problems go by the name of Green Yamo and the Ninja. These two characters devote themselves to Bruce's downfall. No matter where he is in the game he will always be pursued by these two. For Bruce to be successful the player must guide him through the fights as well as the maze. By giving the appropriate commands Bruce can be made to duck, thump or kick - his flying kick is the most devastating. The other characters have the same ability except they are unable to duck, Hard luck Yamo. Bruce will survive three blows before he loses a life his, opponents will lose consciousness after two or three blows which gives Bruce a brief respite to gather the lanterns and be on his way to find the button and kill the wizard.
Points are awarded for collecting lanterns and laying out any of the opponents, 2000 points are to be had simply for entering a new room. With every 30,000 points a new life is given free. he total points scored for each player are shown at the top of the screen together with the current high score and the number of falls remaining before the game is over.
One rather useful feature of Bruce Lee is that the game allows allows the player to compete against either the computer or other players. Apart from the first option of playing against the computer a second option allows an opponent to assume the role of Yamo. Alternatively a third option allows two players to take turns in being Bruce, against the computer or with a third opponent as Yamo.
Control keys: O/P left/right, Q/A up/down, Z-M chop or kick
Joystick: Kempston, Protek or Sinclair 2
Use of colour: very good
Sound: nice tune but mainly spot effects
Skill levels: 1
Lives: 5-10 depending on number of players
Screens: quite a lot!
Bruce Lee is one of the best action packed animated games on the market. The graphics are very detailed, lively and good looking, they add a bit of zest to the game. What makes this game different is that you play a key character actually fighting against your enemies who are ace Kung Fu artists. The way that Bruce punches, kicks and ducks is exceptionally good and terrific fun simply to knock the stuffing out of your opponent. One of the strange things about this game is that when you leap he looks like a trained ballet dancer. As the game progresses it gets considerably more difficult. I must say that I found this game terrific fun, US Gold have really got the ingredients right this time.
There's something about this game that makes me come back to it for more, in fact it's one of the few games that I have ever bothered to complete and the novelty still hasn't worn off. I think that Bruce Lee must be one of the most original games I've seen. It has well drawn and animated graphics which make up for the poor sound. I loved the way that you actually make physical contact with your enemy (eg a punch on the nose or a kick in the ribs) instead of just zapping with a photon lazer phaser, the game gets a certain feel to it (I know, I'm a sadist). Another nice touch is the way the two opponents get into a fight if they get in each other's ways. I really enjoyed playing Bruce Lee and although it was easy to complete I will keep playing it just because I like beating up the nasties.
Although Bruce Lee does not have the complexity or size of Jet Set Willy you are constantly waging a battle with the Green Yamo and the nasty Ninjas. Fighting is achieved in typical oriental style with several movement options, kick, chop, jump or duck. Initially this took a little getting used to. As you battle deeper into the palace you encounter other dangers and hazards which are more typical of a platform game, these include electric charges, exploding plants and daggers. The sound and graphics are good, the game itself is very good and great fun. It's one of the most addictive I have played recently.
Practically every software shop now sports row upon row of irresistibly shiny, incredibly tempting re-releases. If this array of gorgeous goodies leaves you breathless and confused (even £1.99 is a waste if it's spent on something truly bad), never fear. With years of experience on their side, a metaphorical teacup soothingly poised and plenty of calming advice, MARK CASWELL and KATI HAMZA are about to cool your troubled brow. Pause before you squander all your silver pennies. Collapse into a comfortable chair and peruse our guide to a few of the better re-releases...
Original Rating: 91%
With a name like Bruce Lee this sounds as if it has to be a beat-'em-up - in fact it's an extremely slick, old-style platform game. First released back in May 1985 by US Gold. It deals with Bruce's attempts to discover the secret of immortality and gain an infinite supply of treasure in the process.
The setting for this unambitious task is a wizard's fortress booby trapped with electrical charges and defended by two formidable guards (sounds a hit like Lloyd's house - Ed). Ninja and Green Yamo, who follow Bruce everywhere, have already discovered the secret that our oriental hero so desperately seeks. Soon after they've been beaten to a palpitating pulp, they manage to regenerate and begin their protection racket all over again. Lanterns collected from various rooms give access to further chambers which lead to still more before winding ultimately to the nerve centre of the wizard's lair.
As a classic platform game Bruce Lee still provides plenty of action-packed fun. Exploring the complex secrets of the wizard's fortress, constantly on the point of hurtling to a painful death or being trapped in a corner by the vicious Varna, is an incredibly addictive process which should keep you hooked for hours and hours. But don't be disappointed if you complete it (many times!), the action just gets harder and harder. If you haven't got a copy do a flying leg chop in the direction of your local establishment.
Dave: Clever these Chinese - coming up with an original idea for a platform game that doesn't involve mines and has more to it than just leaping about from ladder to level. Actually, it's not Chinese at all, but it is about Bruce Lee, so that's close enough. You play Bruce, out to destroy the Evil Wizard and gain immortality and infinite wealth.
You have to face up to all the hazards of going into another man's castle, like landmines and electric bolts, before coming face to face with little Ninjas (who he? Ed) and a distinctly off colour Green Yamo, laying into you with fists and feet flying. You can return the compliment, as well as ducking down to avoid trouble. In each room you'll find a number of lanterns: collect enough of them and a passageway will open allowing you to creep up on the Evil Wiz. But you've got to Kung Fu your way through 20 rooms before meeting him head on.
The problem is, it's just too easy - I'm no black belt but I beat the game on only my fifth attempt. There is an option to play against an opponent which will keep competitive cowards happy but in the end you'll probably long for a bit of real physical contact. 3/5 HIT
Ross: This can't compete with the typical Chinese take-away - it left me with an empty feeling but not wanting more. 2/5 HIT
Roger: Grasshopper say, knee in groin better than poke in pocket by this oriental offering. More chop-suey than Kung Fu. 2/5 MISS
THE COMPLETE YS GUIDE TO BEAT-'EM-UPS
A SELECTION OF HISTORIC BEAT-'EM-UPS
Beat-'em-ups, eh? They've been oodles of them gracing the Speccy over the years, haven't there? So many in fact that it's easy-peasy to get your Exploding Fists mixed up with your International Karates, and end up with absolutely no idea where you are. But not any more, 'cos here's Jonathan Davies with the Your Sinclair Definitive Guide To Beat-'Em-Ups!! Hurrah! (Or should that be "Hai-arrgh!"?)
Before we start, let's get one thing straight - beat-'em-ups are not boring, and if you think they are then you've got it all wrong. On the contrary, they're jolly interesting. And, rather than all being exactly the same, they're highly individual affairs, each with their own subtleties and nuances. To assume otherwise exhibits a total ignorance of the creativity and skill that go into making what has become one of the stalwarts of the computer games industry.
So what constitutes a 'beat-'em-up'? Obviously, the beating up of one or more characters is an essential part of the gameplay. Whether this is done with one's hands or a weapon depends on the game. Purists tend to frown upon the use of shurikens, big sticks and other instruments, but it's a sad fact that in these days you're unlikely to rescue your princess without some sort of mechanical assistance. The setting is also important. The summit of Mount Yukahomo is ideal or perhaps the imperial palace of the Dragon master, but an oriental atmosphere is a definite must.
In its traditional form the beat-'em-up takes place on a single screen, with your opponents tackling you one at a time. Variations, however, include the scrolling beat-'em-up (with the bonus of tackling two or more adversaries at once) and the full scale flip-screen, multi-level version with add-on weapons, puzzles to solve and an embossment of up to three initials.
Whichever incarnation it appears in, a beat-'em-up is not to be taken lightly. A sharp eye, lightning reflexes and an elephantine memory (for learning all those moves) are needed, along with the finest joystick available.
THE FIRST EVER BEAT-'EM-UP
"That's easy," you exclaim. "Way Of The Exploding Fist!" But you'd be wrong. The first ever beat-'em-up, the father of them all, the seed from which all future offerings stemmed forth, and of which al the others are but pale imitations, was none other than Kung Fu, from a long-forgotten label called Bug-Byte.
A very primitive construction, it had all the ingredients of the real thing (including tinkly music). Reviewed in ish 11 of Your Spectrum, it scored 3/5 (times where hard). The rest, as they say, is, erm... oh, well you know.
Bruce Lee comes from roughly the same era as Fist, but shows its age rather more severely. Apart from just beating people up, Bruce has to dash about collecting lamps and avoiding being killed by various hazards. The game takes place in a multi-screen fortress, the object being to destroy a wizard on the last screen.
Unfortunately the available moves are restricted to punching and kicking, so it's hardly a proper beat-'em-up at all. The graphics are rubbish, with miniscule characters and clumsy scenery. There's virtually no feeling of pain at all, which is surely essential in a beat-'em-up. And worst of all it's far too easy.
Despite these complaints, Bruce Lee is a bit on the historical side (what with being the first collect-and beat-'em-up combined), so one shouldn't be too hard on it.
Publisher: US Gold
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston, Protek
Leaping from the big screen to the small screen, Bruce Lee encourages you to practice the ancient art of Kung-Fu from the safety of an armchair.
You would think that immortality on screen would be enough, but no, Bruce wants infinite wealth as well - no doubt to keep him going in the afterlife - from a wizard who dwells beneath a temple in the Himalayas.
In this exciting game from US Gold you have to pass through three screens on ground level to a secret entrance to the caverns below. To uncover the entrance all the lanterns in those screens must be collected. Lanterns play a key part throughout the game uncovering secret entrances.
It is no simple job penetrating the wizard's stronghold. All your skills as Kung-Fu expert are called to the fore in order to defeat the evil Green Yamo and deadly Ninja - the wizard's minions.
It is worth spending a few moments before play to practice kicking and punching - very simple with joystick control - as the Yamo and Ninja will soon knock you out. The Yamo is a fat, wobbly giant but is a keen fighter and has to be knocked down three times before he collapses. The Ninja - no less deadly - needs to be knocked out only twice.
Once underground there are many traps to catch the uninitiated - exploding t'sung lin bushes and pan lights streaming across the ground are two such hazards.
Tunnels and passages have to be negotiated - watch out for electrical fields which must be dodged. Lanterns must be collected, ladders climbed and you will have to make use of a moving column of particles which change direction at random - a bit like running up a down escalator.
The graphics are decorative and clearly defined with good use of colour. Bruce Lee, the Ninja and Green Yamo - who incidentally is white in the Spectrum version - could be more clearly defined but are quite recognisable, and the lack of detail in their make-up doesn't detract from the game.
The options at the start are many and varied - you can play against the computer or an opponent or two players against the computer.
There is little sound and more tasks could have been incorporated. However, there are a number of tricky obstacles to avoid and 20 chambers to get through. An enjoyable game and worth buying.
SUPPLIER: US Gold/DataSoft
Bruce Lee haunted the pages of C&VGs reviews section for months after the CBM 64 version first appeared. And now he's back - on the Spectrum.
Briefly, the idea the game is to help Bruce get to a wizard who is hiding inside a vast fortress protected Ninja soldiers and the indestructible Green Yamo.
Bruce has to kick and chop, leap and hop his way through the fortress in this neat twist on the regulation platform game theme. The animation of the characters is great, the graphics bold and colourful - and the game features some unique multiple player/player vs. computer options.
GAME TYPE: Arcade
Face the ninja! Battle against the Green yamo! Avoid exploding t'sung-lin! Who are you? Why, Bruce Lee, of course.
The moves that you can make in this game are spectacular. Leap over your opponents' head. Take a running jump and crash both feet into their chin. Deliver a repeated series of punches and watch them crumple to the Door and vanish.
Your aim is to claim infinite wealth and the secret of immortality from the wizard who dwells within a fortress. On each screen you must hit either all, or a select few of the lanterns you can see, to reveal the exit. Each screen is a little harder than the previous one, and you must be prepared for bushes to explode beneath your feet, particle lifts to carry you into the air, or force fields to blast you to ashes.
The good news is that these problems are likely to affect your slow moving enemies even more than they do you. The bad news is that, on some of the later screens, this makes next to no difference.
Bruce Lee is a very polished version of the ladders-and-levels type of game. The movements, although not the sound effects, do manage to capture, to some extent, the excitement of Lee's films. Great.
Bruce Lee is distributed by US Gold, Unit 24, Tipton Trading Est, Tipton, West Mids.
I enjoyed playing this quite a lot. Basically, it's just a glorified platform game in which you, Bruce Lee, have to go through the chambers of a Wizard's fortress collecting lanterns which will enable you to continue deeper into the fortress and eventually confront the Wizard himself.
But, what makes this so much more fun than the average platform game is the presence of your two foes, the Ninja and the wobbly Samurai called the Green Yamo. In most games of this type, the monsters which you must avoid are simply sprites moving in a fixed pattern. However, in this game, the Ninja and Yamo are fully animated opponents who chase you all around the temple, the Ninja bashing you over the head with his broken stick, and the Yamo leaping at you with a flying kick.
Of course, you can retaliate with flying and karate chops of your own, and I must admit that I found this the most enjoyable aspect of the game. Working out how to get through the fortress chambers isn't terribly hard, but watching as your Bruce Lee figure leaps across the screen and kicks the Yamo all around the floor is great fun. I got my younger brother to play, using the two player option, and the house resounded to cries of 'poke him in the eye' and 'kick his head in!', until well after midnight. It's all terribly childish, I know, but great fun nonetheless.
All the figures are very nicely animated and detailed, and you can make out who's who even when they're all on top of each other, kicking and punching for all they're worth. The chambers that you pass through are all well designed, and the oriental designs make a nice, colourful change from the usual type of graphics in platform games. My only criticism of the game is that your path through the fortress is fixed unlike the rooms in JSW which allow you to take any path through the house that you want. Consequently, after a few games it can get a bit boring having to go through the same route time after time, but this is where the combat saves the game from getting stale. Of course, if the fortress were more complicated then the memory wouldn't be available for the combat and animation, so the game as it is probably struck the right balance. Definitely worth getting, I think.
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