Big Trouble in Little China, Amstrad CPC

The 1987 Amstrad CPC version of Big Trouble in Little China is more or less a direct port of the ZX Spectrum original, but with slightly more colour in the graphics. It is noticeably slower than the Spectrum version, though.

You control three of the film’s main characters – Jack Burton, Wang Chi and Egg Shen – and can switch between them during play by pressing Enter. As you make your way right-to-left through the scrolling levels you must fight with a random selection of enemy ninjas by kicking and punching them until they eventually disappear in a puff of smoke. Each of the three protagonists has their own fighting style and can pick up weapons to give them extra fighting power, but – in reality – this doesn’t really have much of an impact on the game, which is repetitive and bland.

Combat is a boring slugfest and the moves available to each character have very little dynamic impact. The animation of the main characters – and the enemies – is so bad that it’s laughable (an enemy ninja trying to “high kick” you looks more like they are trying to cock their leg to let out a particularly troublesome fart, than actually trying to kick you), and the backdrops are samey and have no interactivity (other than the occasional monster appearing from a door to damage you). The sound effects are terrible and the only music in the game is at the start, and after ‘game over’, and even then the music is so poor that it will have you reaching to make it stop after just a few cycles.

Overall, Big Trouble in Little China is an insult to a great film, and is not a game that anyone should aspire to play today. Someone should re-make it, though. I’d love to see a homebrew coder do the film justice with a decent 8-bit port, because Electric Dreams and the developers of this dreadful game certainly didn’t do that.

More: Big Trouble in Little China on Wikipedia

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