Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 7

Sound: 5

Gameplay: 5

Overall: 5


dragonjaguar1.bmp (2359350 bytes)The limiting nature of this movie-licensed title is frustrating. Players can only pick Bruce Lee, and that's in every mode. The unique two-player mode to play through the story with borrows from Fatal Fury, only as with everything else, Bruce is the only option.

That comes close to all but destroying a robust fighter, the only game based off the martial arts icon that lets people actually feel like they're controlling Bruce Lee. This is a slightly deep fighting engine, one that lets the player move and dodge efficiently. It's a ground game, given the floating nature of the jumps, and it's a radical change from other games in this genre from the era. This is a defensive brawler, and its best to be ready to block and read opponents before learning the offense.

Even if it wasn't based off Bruce's biopic, there's fantastic movie flavor here. Backdrops are taken directly from the fighter's memorable films, and the enemies share that same feature. You'll punch and kick through classics like Big Boss and Enter the Dragon, a treat for long time fans.

This is all admittedly clunky, but the engine is deeper than the game is given credit. A meter fills as the brawl ensues, and when it reaches a certain point, Lee enters into an entirely new fighting style. At full strength, you'll wail on people with nunchucks, a necessary advantage in later stages when enemy power becomes overwhelming.

On the Jaguar, Dragon does suffer. There are certainly more colors available, and the sprites are slightly larger. There is heavy compression in the backdrops, and they remain static, which is a disappointment. Music has been eliminated entirely, leaving only the trademark cries of the title's star.

dragonjaguar2.bmp (2359350 bytes)The biggest disadvantage is the controller. One button is stuck on the keypad, the strongest punch by default. If you want that as a button, press select to swap it for a kick. Switching fighting styles is also done with the keypad. It's workable, though it's a disadvantage when compared to the 16-bit versions.

If the game were opened up, allowing for multiple characters, this would be one of the more enjoyable fighting games out there. It's not one looking for a deep combo system or traditional play. It's for the Bruce Lee fans, who would be better off with the other versions because of the control issues.


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Last updated: Thursday, September 22, 2005 10:47 PM