Jackie Chan + Kung fu. How can you go wrong? I’m a huge fan of Jackie Chan and no matter how poor a film may seem (and God there’s been a lot of them, The Tuxedo comes to mind) there’s always the skill and determination of the man himself in every movie. When I heard of a Jackie Chan game and that it might actually be good I started searching for a copy. My usual haunts are the Retro Gamer forum as a quick request there; I will often get a game I’m after. This time I was out in town when I spotted an Indie DVD shop with a small retro section. Tucked away on a back shelf were several NES games and a copy of JC for just £3. Not bad considering it goes for well over £5 on eBay.
I’m not even sure what the story is about. Something about an evil sorcerer coming back to take over China and kidnapping Jackie’s sister. Along the way you receive help from Jackie’s Kung Fu Master and some weird looking green frogs. At this point I stopped paying attention to the story as it just seemed like some mad cap tale that’s bound not to make any sense. I could only hope the game play would make up for it.
To put it simply I wasn’t disappointed, starting the game with Jackie meditating beneath a waterfall a quick tap of the pad and he’s runs off to the right to be set of on his adventure by his Master (clichéd old wise man with beard, think Miyagi with longer hair). Consisting of 5 levels, each ending with a boss, it’s your job to take Jackie through each stage of this action platformer using his various Kung Fu skills. You can jump, kick, punch and holding up on the pad lets you access a few special moves. The moves I saw ranged from a 360 and 180 degree spin kick, a floating tornado kick and a strange sky attack which attacks an enemy when you leap into the sky. The game controls are delightfully sharp and Jackie acts quickly whenever you tell him to do something. The combat is quite satisfying and killing enemies is never a chore as you send them flying with a well timed kick.
Special mention must go to the bizarre floating cloud bonus stage where you make your way around jumping from cloud to cloud, trying to land on a certain number before the time limit runs out. Accurate, a pain in the backside but a lot of fun, it certainly didn’t make any sense to me either so I’m putting it down to something Jackie had taken. Generally the stages seemed well put together with some tricky jumps and numerous enemies but I quite enjoyed slide kicking my way along the ground, sending a boot in the odd frog’s direction for power ups. Frogs, clouds, parrots, snakes, tigers (yes Mr Chan kicks tigers to death!), soldiers, swordsmen etc a large number of strange enemies get in your way but none of them can stand up to Jackie’s mighty boot.
I love this game and it’s what an action platformer should be all about...well maybe without the drug crazed story. I haven’t played anything like it on the NES so far and its so mad cap and full of odd touches that I’d recommend it to anyone. It might be expensive to buy on eBay but you won’t regret it. Chalk it up as highly recommended by me.