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Customer Review

on May 23, 2004
Any enjoyment you might derive from this game is from playing as Jet Li in an old-school fight setting. When the novelty of that wears off, what you have left is an incredibly repetitive game with a godawful camera and an ill-advised control scheme.
Yes, bonus marks are in order for using Cantonese in Hong Kong with subtitles. (As a native Hong Kong person I can say the dialogue is less stilted, though still flawed, than usual) Though I might add that international espionage games like Syphon Filter has been doing that for years. The settings are authentic enough, with the battles in the Hong Kong settings being especially evocative of kung fu films.
But is it worth the very problematic gameplay? Just barely. If you've seen/played the demo already, you'll know that the entire fight system consists of slapping the right analog stick. While the array of moves you can unleash is impressive, motion-captured well from Li's own silhouette, this system is very ill conceived from a fighting-game perspective. Worse still, the camera is so restless that you could be in the middle of a combo against an enemy, and then the perspective shifts so that you're suddenly hitting at air and the enemy's to the side. So many game designers have misled notions about being filmmakers, not realizing that the best perspective for gaming is a fixed perspective. This problem came to a head during the ludicrous "escape from capture" stage where the camera actually cuts you off, preventing you from seeing what's behind you, even though there are guards sweeping flashlights that way that you're supposed to avoid! This is simply a moronic use of the camera.
Aside from this, the fighting gets tired awfully quickly, especially since the designers committed the ol' "this level never ends" sin. This game alleviates this problem by having lots of checkpoints where you can continue the game, but during some of the "one against 14" stages, the endless brawling still gets tired. And whose idea was it to have enemies pull of 18-hit combos, where if you get hit the first time, you get to watch your character get pummelled for 10 seconds straight?
I actually find the gunfight segments of this game more fun than the endless, endless hand-to-hand stages. This is where the dual analog sticks truly shine, allowing you to smoothly run from spot to spot forwards and backwards while your hands can aim independently and a top button allows you to do Time Crisis-style ducking. There's even a crazy level where you fight off about 100 enemies with two nailguns!
This game would probably remain tempting to Jet Li fans because of the role-playing aspect of it. And I wouldn't blame them -- this was my reason for buying this game, and there are a few levels that I truly enjoyed. The overall game, however, is really not that great, and I would recommend only playing it in small doses. It will get tired mightily quickly if you sit with it for more than an hour.
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Product Details

3.0 out of 5 stars
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