Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story is a fighting game, based on the 1993 film by Rob Cohen and starring Jason Scott Lee, and released for the Atari Jaguar in 1994. Like the film, the game is a fictionalised dramatisation of the life of actor and martial artist, Bruce Lee, taking place in various time periods with Bruce fighting against different adversaries.
The game is a straightforward – but precise – fighting game with excellent controls, backgrounds and animation, and the large characters fly around the screen smoothly, and connect well with each other, which gives the game a decent kinetic feel. The game can be played at five different skill levels (arcade, tough, normal, easy and piece of cake); two speeds (normal and turbo), and has a one or two-player cooperative story mode and a versus mode which supports up to three players. The only real downside is that the computer-controlled opponents are not playable.
On the face of it, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story seems like a fairly standard beat ’em up, but it does have a few surprises up its proverbial sleeves, like opponents who become more aggressive – sometimes bringing out new weapons – as time goes by, or scenes that move from one location to another during the fight (the second match starts in a kitchen against one fighter, but then moves into any alley against two fighters, for example). There are also locations based on some of his famous films. Bruce can even pull out a set of nunchucks and use them against opponents (although these weapons were much feared by censors in the UK in the late 20th century so may have been removed from the European PAL version).
If you lose your three continues in story mode you must then fight The Phantom, who is the personification of Bruce‘s fears and is an armoured Japanese samurai that is almost invincible. If you beat him you can continue. You must also face him as a final boss, should you make it to the last stage of story mode. Also: if you’re playing story mode cooperatively with another human player, after beating your opponents together you must then fight each other until only one person is left standing.
Dragon is arguably one of the best beat ’em ups available for the Atari Jaguar and was clearly a labour of love for developer/publisher Virgin Interactive (and their team of artists and coders who made it). It was also released for the Sega Megadrive, Super Nintendo, Game Gear, and Master System.
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