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Pixel8Games presents a retrospective of
Bruce Lee
a 1984 videogame by Datasoft / US Gold

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Sinclair Spectrum (1985)
Commodore 64 (1984)
Amstrad CPC (1986)

In 1984, a decade on from the untimely death of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, a video game in his name was finally released and kids began to dream!

You see, the TV at the time had several burnt offerings such as The Master, a ninja with a free bus pass, played by Lee Van Cleef. We marvelled at this guy in black robes with his deadly shurikens and smouldering misdirections, and we imagined the power of being all-seeing whilst remaining unseen.

But, even with all of this wonderful mysticism being central to the 80s, more than anything we wanted to be Bruce Lee. He was the one who didn't hide behind a facade. He just plain went out there and kicked butt without any magic being involved. That is, if you don't count high-kicking an opponent in the face four times on the trot as magic. So, having seen his UK-edited cult movie classic 'Enter the Dragon' around my 13th birthday (ahem!), what teenager wouldn't want to compete in a computer game as the greatest martial artist that's ever lived?

The game consists of you, as Bruce, penetrating the lair of an evil wizard so that you can defeat him and thereby gain infinite wealth and immortality. The only things preventing you from doing so are a ninja and Yamo (some kind of green-skinned sumo wrestler), plus a few traps here and there. If you select the '2-player' option then one of you will take on the role of Yamo, although if you leave him alone for too long then the computer will take over. This game is no 'Way of the Exploding Fist' though, in the sense that Bruce has a limitation of only two fighting moves - punch or flying kick. However, these skills are useful for beating the enemy senseless for a few seconds before they reappear once again a la Bill Murray in Groundhog Day.

Bruce must collect a number of hanging lanterns found within the 20 available screens so that he can progress further into the wizard's chambers. This he must do whilst avoiding the ninja, who carries a wooden stick for turning Bruce into juice, and Yamo throwing his not insubstantial weight at you. Several electrified traps send bolts of energy into your path requiring you to get your timing just right as you either jump over or through them.

The presentation of each screen level is straightforward and, as you might expect, contains many oriental-themed elements. Its only real let-down is the difficulty level, which is far too easy. Even though the enemy is relentless in its pursuit of you, they are not formidable opponents, however they strive to be worthy. Similarly, the traps that are designed to waste you in one hit are easy to overcome with just a little practice. Bruce Lee, the game, may not tax your reflexive skills, but it is good fun while it lasts. Plus, there's nothing better than high-kicking a ninja or Yamo back into a trap that he's just set off!

Manually reveal ratings

38
Difficulty
87
Nostalgia
32
Frustration Level
85
Peer Comparison
12
Offensiveness
62
Replay Value

Pixel8Games Rating

80%

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