Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story

The only other fighting game I'd played on the Jaguar before this was Kasumi Ninja, so the benchmark was set pretty low. Obviously, I've played other fighters before but Jaguar ones are pretty few and far between. So how does Dragon fare? Well, it's superior to Kasumi Ninja - that's for sure...but then that isn't saying much. But to put it bluntly, Dragon is a bare bones port of a Sega Megadrive/Genesis game that adds absolutely nothing to the original. Even the graphics are identical, and while it is by no means an ugly game, if you were a Jaguar owner in 1994 and were expecting to see something a little, well, flashier on your new 64-bit console you'd be forgiven for feeling a little short changed.

Dragon follows the story of the Movie, which tells the life story of Bruce Lee, his emigration to the USA and the trials and tribulations he went through in a fairly racist society. Also covered is his life-changing injury and recovery and his eventual rise to movie icon and superstardom. The game kind of follows these events, but just has you fighting different characters who are meant to be from certain eras of Lee's life. The fighting is firmly planted in reality (for the most part, anyway) and so you won't be shooting fireballs at anyone. The fighting mechanics are actually pretty solid and all of the moves are (I believe) actual martial arts techniques. You acquire 'Chi' in a little meter under your health bar as you successfully kick faces in, and once you have enough Chi, you can modify your fighting style and even pull out a set of nunchucks to crack skulls with. The stages you fight in are all based on scenes in the Dragon movie, and for the most part look pretty good, if a little cartoony, and some of them feature separate areas where a fight will begin inside a building and then spill out into an alleyway. It's not like Dead Or Alive where you smash through walls or anything, but it's a nice touch.

So Dragon plays quite well and the animation is fairly smooth, and unlike Kasumi Ninja there's no delay between pressing a button and having the move carried out on the screen. The graphics, as I've already stated, are a little basic though. Sound-wise, everything sounds OK I guess - there are the usual stock thwacks and grunts, and occasionally Bruce lets out a fairly comical squeal...but there's nothing amazing here. There are a few rather odd things about Dragon, though. For example, you can't fight as anyone but Bruce Lee - even in 2 player mode. There isn't even a character select screen, and the stage select screen is just a list with an arrow. Also, you can play a 2 player battle against the CPU, where there are 3 Bruce Lees on screen all kicking each other's asses. Why? Who thought that was a good idea?! Very bizarre. You can also play through the story mode in two player as well, where 2 Bruces team up against a solitary opponent...again, it's just weird.

Dragon is much better than Kasumi Ninja but it still isn't really up to scratch. Poor visuals mar the fairly respectable fighting action, and a few odd design choices exist elsewhere. I haven't played Ultra Vortek, the Jag's other 2D fighter so I can't really compare Dragon to that, but from what I've seen it looks superior and has some interesting features. Hopefully I'll be able to compare it soon.

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