UbiSoft has created a multiplatform Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon game that unfortunately comes out 3 years after the movie. I haven’t had a chance to play the console versions of this, but I did get the chance to play the GBA game. This is the review of that. It follows the movie pretty faithfully with pixelated cutscenes of still shots from the movie and rather horrid English translations here and there. Let’s get to the review…
Even for GBA standards, this game does not have good graphics. I look at games like Metroid Fusion, the 3 Castlevania games and even Final Fantasy Tactics Advance and this game just pales in comparison. It is a side-scrolling action title and to me it looks and plays a heck of a lot like Revenge of Shinobi for the Genesis or the arcade, but with worse graphics. It’s too bad because I think this game could have had some pretty good graphics. It isn’t too long of a game like the ones I mentioned above, so some care could have been taken with the graphics in my mind.
The cutscenes in-between missions are of the okay variety. They take stills from the movie, heavily pixelate them and put text from the movie on them (sometimes to horrific translation). Problem is if you haven’t seen the movie you have no clue who is talking at one time. Just because Li Mu Bai is on the screen doesn’t mean it is his line that is in the text. It’s all very funny.The music sounds pretty good…if it didn’t repeat itself every 10 seconds. At least there are different music tracks in each level and you aren’t listening to the same track over and over again throughout the whole game. The sounds are also of the “blah” category. Although when picking up the ability to have a field come out of the sword you hear a cool sword sound. Other than that, nothing too exciting to hear unfortunately. This game is easy to control: B to attack, A to jump. Special moves can be pulled off by using the R trigger along with different directions on the D-pad. There are also some moves done Street Fighter style like doing a quarter turn from down to right plus attack will do a rising sword slash. You can also double-jump and there are times where you can jump off of walls. The on-screen graphics will tell you how to jump off walls the first time you encounter it.
This game is pretty fun to play outside of the bad graphics. It is interesting that this game puts you in the place of Jen Yu, the girl who stole the GREEN DESTINY (they love to capitalize this, so I thought I would stress it here) and met Dark Cloud in the desert and fell in love with him. They also take into account via cutscene the other characters such as Li Mu Bai and Yu Shu Lien, but you unfortunately never play them.
As I said in the graphics section, this game feels a lot like Revenge of Shinobi for the Genesis or the arcade. You’re in side-scrolling action game, you can go into doors, you get a projectile attack that you will lose if hit, you have special moves to use (that you can use by filling up a blue meter with I’m guessing souls of slain enemies), etc. Sounds a lot like Shinobi, right?
A cool addition instead of a battery save is that there is a password after every level that you can enter in to begin at that spot again. This isn’t a game where you have to blow through the entire game or start again, so you can feel free to turn it off and come back to it later. Some of the boss fights are pretty cool and they have a certain way of being beaten, much like Shinobi (do you sense a trend here?). Overall, this game is fun to play in spurts and it is quite easy so you will probably blow through it in no time.There is little to no replay value in this game once you have beaten it, and fact is it won’t take you long to beat it honestly. It’s a fun little side-scrolling game though, I just wish more care would have been given to the graphics and sounds…it would have made this game even better.