Heart of China
|Heart of China|
In 1930s, Hong Kong, struggling former World War I fighter pilot Jake "Lucky" Masters is recruited by rich businessman E.A. Lomax for a dangerous mission. Lomax's daughter Kate has been kidnapped by ruthless warlord Li Deng and imprisoned in Deng's Chengdu fortress. Lucky must rescue Kate, but to do so he must enlist the help of a mysterious ninja named Zhao Chi. Each day Lucky has not rescued Kate, his reward money decreases by $20,000.
After sneaking into Deng's fortress, Lucky and Chi snatch Kate and escape. Unfortunately, Kate is bitten by a snake during the rescue and the only medicine that can save her is in Kathmandu, Nepal. After further adventures in Nepal and Istanbul, the trio makes its way to Paris.
The game featured three different endings, with the player's actions determining which one would be depicted.
The game was developed on the proprietary Dynamix Game Development System that was first used in Rise of the Dragon. The artwork used a mixture of digitized photos of live actors and hand painted sets. The game supported VGA resolution in 256 colors. Because of tight production budgets, Dynamix had to recruit the cast of actors from the company's own employees and even their families.
There are several possible endings to the game and many ways to die. Certain choices can delay the team (diminishing the reward given in the epilogue), and portions of the game can be played from Jake's, Chi's, or Kate's perspectives. There are two optional arcade-style action sequences.
UK magazine ACE gave the game 910 out of 1000 points, calling it "a significant breakthrough in the interactive storytelling genre" and stating that unlike contemporary games such as Rise of the Dragon and Space Quest IV it does not just have excellent graphics and sound, but also a proper narrative storyline. The reviewer also mentions the story's similarity to that of the Tom Selleck film High Road to China. Computer Gaming World stated that "Heart of China is everything a good adventure movie should be: fast-paced, tense, ingenious, witty, varied of locale and light of plot. Above all, it is entertaining". The magazine praised the graphics, music, and story, and concluded that it was "a cinematic experience to be savored". The game was reviewed in 1991 in Dragon #176 by Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk Lesser in "The Role of Computers" column. The reviewers gave the game 5 out of 5 stars.
- Adventure Classic Gaming (2008), Heart of China
- Presley, Paul (July 1991), "Heart of China", ACE (46): 50–52
- Ardai, Charles (1991-10). "Popcorn Not Included IV / Heart of China". Computer Gaming World. p. 10. Retrieved 18 November 2013.
- Lesser, Hartley, Patricia, and Kirk (December 1991), "The Role of Computers", Dragon (176): 57–62.