Review by Shirow
"Rumble in the bronx"
…Okay, a proper bronx is blatantly missing in Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu but that doesn't prevent it from being one of the most underrated games on the NES. This platformer/beat-em-all combines originality and an astonishing gameplay to hold your interest until the game ends.
Jackie's girlfriend has been kidnapped and he must now go save her. After obtaining an old man's encouragement, the martial arts expert throws himself fully into his quest. In this game where the enemies are very varied, Jackie must then try to survive as the evil monster who's behind the ploy is probably laughing its ass off.
Jackie will, of course, rely on his fighting skills. His punch is more than enough to kill any of those monsters and in addition, he can pull special moves which will be very useful against the bosses. However, he needs to earn those and moreover, these come in limited numbers to preserve the challenge. The special moves are obtained by kicking frogs' heads and these too vary as a certain technique is more useful under given situations.
Kicking frogs' heads also rewards you with life items which you'll learn to welcome since there aren't a lot of those throughout the games. Thankfully, there are a couple of refreshing mini-games which enable you to grab a certain item depending on how well you performed. Whether it be the easy one where you just need to jump onto clouds or a more difficult one which involves you punching projectiles back, the mini-games add to the fun atmosphere of this game.
But that's not all ! Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu conveys a very unique atmosphere through weird enemies and beautiful landscapes. The game has colorful and bright visuals and these are just superb. Jackie himself is pretty big while the backgrounds are varied and will range from forests to caves. In each case, they are detailed enough and are properly designed such that you can't complain about much.
It is also very fun to watch Jackie as his expression changes depending whether he is moving or not. As he courageously moves forward, he becomes serious and those raised eyebrows show his convictions and personality. But stop moving around for a while and he gets that slightly-bewildered and amused look that made him so popular worldwide.
The bosses are quite strange. If you were looking for a realistic game with Jackie fending off thugs and other kickboxing experts, you'll be deceived. This game instead carries the most strange bosses I have seen and these can be anything from a statue to a spider. Each of the bosses will try to put an end to Jackie's quest with cheesy attacks but that shouldn't be enough to destroy his determination.
And all the time, sweet melodies play in the background and urge you to strike forth. While nothing outlandishly special, the music is a sound compromise between gentle themes during the most part of the game and slightly upbeat ones as you need to face a tough boss. In any case, these are just perfect and make the game more enjoyable, should that even be necessary.
Although the game is quite short, it is challenging enough and some stages will require you to try a few times until you finally beat them. Getting to complete this game without dying isn't as easy as it seems and adds more replay value to Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu. And although this isn't one of those games with dozens of secrets, you will still want to play it again since it is so fun and doesn't require much time to get into.
Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu is a little gem that will please anybody. Gameplay is simple yet awesome, good visuals and music add to the fun atmosphere. Sadly, the game never got any recognition but is that so amazing ? The NES has dozens of unknown games which absolutely demolish newer titles and along with the Captain Tsubasa series, Jackie Chan's own title is one of those.
~ Score : 8 ~
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 05/06/02, Updated 11/09/02
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