The Famicom/NES version of Jackie Chan’s Action Kung Fu was developed by Now Production (who made Splatterhouse: Wanpaku Graffiti and Splatterhouse 3, among others) and was published by Hudson Soft in 1990. It’s a side-scrolling beat ’em up with platforming elements based around the famous movie actor Jackie Chan.
Those who’ve been paying attention may know that Jackie Chan‘s current credibility has been shot to pieces by his support of the Chinese government in Hong Kong recently, but back in the late ’80s and early ’90s Jackie could do no wrong and this video game is testament to his popularity.
But Jackie Chan’s Action Kung Fu on the NES is more than just a celebrity endorsement – it’s actually a pretty good game, with responsive two-button controls. There’s a jump button and an action button, and the action button can initiate a number of different moves depending on the direction you’re pressing when you use them. Jackie can also use special attacks that include a ‘tornado’ attack, a 180 degree spin kick, and a ‘sky attack’, but their use is limited.
Defeated enemies drop orbs that Jackie can collect. When he’s picked up 30 orbs he gets his life meter re-filled. If he dies, though, all orbs are lost and you have to start collecting them again from scratch.
Graphically, Jackie Chan’s Action Kung Fu is very good, but sprite tearing does become a frequent problem on large moving objects. Gameplay-wise: the game becomes frustrating quite quickly too. You only get one life, but can continue the levels you died on, and can collect extra continues to prolong play. From the slippy ice levels onward it does become extremely difficult to avoid taking damage, though.
Overall, though, Jackie Chan’s Action Kung Fu is a decent NES action game. The PC Engine version, in my opinion, looks and plays better, so maybe that’s the one you should play, if you only want to play one.