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Virtually Overlooked: Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu

JC Fletcher, @jcfletcher
August 23, 2007
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Welcome to our weekly feature, Virtually Overlooked, wherein we talk about games that aren't on the Virtual Console yet, but should be. Call it a retro-speculative.

Jackie Chan is famous for being an extremely acrobatic martial artist with a penchant for comedy and prop-fighting. He's also well-known as a singer, and a restaurateur who provides those lucky enough to be near one of his establishments with the most delicious sweet potato fries available. (Seriously, those sweet potato fries are life-changing.)

When Rumble in the Bronx was released and Chan came into prominence in the US, many gamers were surprised to see that the big-headed mascot of an obscure side-scrolling platformer was in fact a real guy, with a relatively normal-sized head.






The game portrays Jackie Chan's daily life in a pretty realistic manner: his struggles against armies of identical tiny men who wish to stab him, for example, is documented accurately, as is his underground-fire-cave exercise program and the inevitable tiger fights that are part of the superstar lifestyle. We may think being famous is all award shows and five-star restaurants, but what you don't see on television are the endless attacks from animated deity statues. Show business is a lot of work!




Seriously, you think that Jackie Chan Adventures was the result of a bunch of meetings? Hardly-- Jackie had to pick up a lot of blue orbs from giant frogs' mouths before he earned the right to a cartoon based on his likeness. You don't even want to know how many polearm-wielding guards or eagles carrying fish got between Jackie and his first rehearsal with Chris Tucker.


Besides being a vehicle for escalating ridiculousness, Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu is a more than adequate action-platformer. Jackie is responsive, and his punches and kicks reach out a reasonable distance beyond his body, unlike those of most chibi characters. The enemies are numerous but not crowding (this isn't Kung Fu), giving you plenty of space to jump from platform to platform without landing on a guy, and time to enjoy the bright graphics and big, well-animated sprites.


We imagine that Hudson no longer has the rights to use Jackie Chan's likeness in this game, making it somewhat difficult for them to put the game on the Virtual Console. But the Jackie Chan-ness is not the real draw to this game: a platformer with real action elements and decent physics is hard to find, and this one never makes you feel cheated by the controls or a crappy jump arc or anything like that. Put simply, it's just a good platformer. Hudson can always swap out Jackie with Takahashi Meijin like they did for Wonder Boy.











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