Bruce Lee (video game)
Commodore 64 title screen
U.S. Gold (CPC, Spectrum)
|Designer(s)||Ron J. Fortier|
|Composer(s)||John A. Fitzpatrick|
|Genre(s)||Platformer, beat 'em up|
|Mode(s)||Single player, Multiplayer|
Bruce Lee is a video game designed by Ron J. Fortier, with graphics by Kelly Day and music by John A. Fitzpatrick. It was originally developed for the Atari 8-bit family and published in 1984 by Datasoft, along with a port for the Commodore 64. The game was converted to the ZX Spectrum and Amstrad CPC and published by U.S. Gold in the same year. An MSX version was published in 1985 by Comptiq.
The plot involves the eponymous martial artist advancing from chamber to chamber in a wizard's tower, seeking to claim infinite wealth and the secret of immortality. There are twenty chambers, each represented by a single screen with platforms and ladders. To progress, the player must collect a number of lanterns suspended from various points in the chamber.
Most chambers are guarded by two mobile enemies; The Ninja, who attacks with a "bokken stick" and The Green Yamo, a large unarmed warrior, visually styled as a sumo wrestler but attacking with punches and "crushing kicks". On platforms with sufficient graphics support, Yamo's skin is actually pictured as green, though in cover art he has a natural human skin tone.
A multiplayer mode allows a second player to control Yamo, or to allow two players to alternately control Bruce. If the player playing Yamo is inactive for a certain time, the computer takes over. The Ninja and Yamo are also vulnerable to the screen's dangers, but have infinite lives so they always return; whereas Yamo is consistently identified as a single person, one version of the manual implies that each reappearance of the ninja is a new individual, replacing the previous one.
Later chambers include more hazards such as mines and moving walls, as well as a "comb-like" surface that has an electric spark racing along it. Skillful walking, climbing, ducking and jumping are required to negotiate them. On the twentieth screen, Lee finally faces the evil Fire Wizard.
On its original release, the ZX Spectrum version of Bruce Lee received enthusiastic reviews. Computer Gaming World stated that the game "delivers all the foot kicking, kick jabbing, quick ducking action-packed adventure you'd expect from a good grade B, martial arts movie". CRASH magazine awarded 91%, highlighting zesty graphics, enjoyable fighting action and addictivity. Sinclair User also found the game enjoyable, awarding 4 out of 5 stars, but felt that sound was underused and a larger variety of tasks could have been included. Your Spectrum were more critical, pointing out that it only takes a few games to complete all 20 chambers. In a 1990 retrospective, Your Sinclair found that Bruce Lee was still too easy to complete and the graphics had not aged well. In addition, it was felt that the fighting moves available to the player lacked impact and were too limited for a beat 'em up. However, it was described as a historically important game, being the first to combine the platform/collection and beat 'em 'up genres. Home Computing Weekly praised the graphics and movement.
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- Bruce Lee game manual
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