Lady. Despite some holes and some cheesy 70s-style dialogue (“You jive
turkey!”) the story is serviceable enough to thrust you through the 30
areas that make up BL: QOTD’s adventure game.
However, the cut-scenes that piece together the various levels are
unbelievably awful in both their visual appeal and editing. This is an
Xbox game, for crying out loud, there’s no way the ugly character
graphics that appear in BL: QOTD’s cut-scenes should be acceptable to a
development team. And whoever was in charge of directing the cut-scenes
needs a remedial course in editing. Many bafflingly start or end at no
logical point, and the voice acting dubbing is absolutely terrible (but
maybe this was done on purpose).
Speaking of the voice acting, much of what is spoken by the characters
is undecipherable without having your television up really loud, and if
the real Bruce Lee, although never a thespian himself, delivered his
lines as badly as the game’s virtual Lee does I doubt he would have
starred in more than one movie. The sounds heard from interaction with
the environment and other characters aren’t handled as badly, being
average at best, but hearing Lee’s continuous battle vocalizations gets
tired very quickly.
Graphically, the in-game animation, character appearances, and
backgrounds aren’t much better, but could have sufficed with better
gameplay. Lee looks scrawny, nothing like the butt-kicking martial arts
machine he was in real life. And some of the supposedly sexy evil female
characters Lee must defeat are closer physically attractive-wise in
appearance to actress Kathy Bates than the beauties in the Xbox fighting
game Dead or Alive 3.
The biggest flaws that cripple BL: QOTD worse than a dragon punch to the
face is the unmanageable control scheme of Bruce Lee during battles due
in large part to the horrifically designed fixed camera mechanism. This
game reminds me so much of Double Dragon I and II on the NES in these
respects it’s downright scary. If you remember the Double Dragon games,
smooth control wasn’t always there and you were forced to take on
enemies where the game wanted you to based on the in-game camera in a
lot of instances instead of you finding a nice spot for defensive and
offensive moves against multiple clones of thugs.
BL: QOTD suffers from similar problems. The
camera is an atrocity, placing Lee many times in awkward positions
(behind items or features that are part of the level’s landscape or
structures) at key moments during fights that make the game that much
more frustrating. If people who have played Hunter: The Reckoning
thought its camera could be maddening have seen nothing until they try
out BL: QOTD. Also, the game never clearly plots out the path you should
be taking, instead relying on the dreaded (and infamous) invisible wall
– an unseen barrier that is just plain ridiculous and at times blocks
areas of the game where it looks like you should be able to move.
Supposedly you are using the Jeet Kune Do martial art that Lee was
famous for to dispatch enemies. There’s a huge array of moves listed in
the manual. But controlling the lead character is so unwieldy and
difficult, you’ll never see more than a few of the specialized moves of
Lee. The terrible camera forces you to take on a specific character once
you hit him or her, even if they are off the screen while other enemies
can attack you, leaving you no recourse until that specific enemy is
defeated. This is sometimes the fact even if you are right next to
another enemy character while the enemy currently engaged may be on the
other side of the screen.
You should always be able to fight the nearest enemy. But no, you can’t
take on another enemy until the one you are fighting is wiped out or you
use a trigger and button mashing multiple attack, which doesn’t always
work effectively or when you want it to. Although, button-mashing is the
most effective option in many fights. Early in the game, I got rid of
most of my opposition simply by rapidly mashing either the kick or punch
button. You’re better off getting comfortable with a few of the more
effective yet simple-to-pull-off moves.
To win the game, there are 14 boss characters to beat down. But here is
another area where BL: QOTD fails miserably. I won’t sugarcoat this:
When it comes to the boss characters the game’s artificial intelligence
is absolutely appalling. Using the same exact fighting technique can
defeat every boss. Boss characters are supposed to be the toughest
challenges of any game, but in BL: QOTD, it’s the exact opposite. All
you have to do to defeat EVERY single boss is to get in a crouching
defense position, hold the block button, wait for your opponent to
attempt to hit you, and once he or she futilely attacks, rapidly hit the
kick button to pull off a Twin Kick Combo move. After three or four
minutes, the boss will go down. The minor thugs that you face throughout
BL: QOTD are tougher challenges individually than the entire roster of
Fights are broken down as Brawls, Time Attacks, Multiple Fights,
Nunchaku Fights, Combo Fights, Sub-Boss Fights or Arena Boss Fights. But
when you break it down, the only real difference is in the amount of
enemies you may vanquish, from 16 to one, in any particular area of the
game. There’s a health display for both you and the current opponent
engaged in a fight and the total number of dragon and purchasing tokens.
Various power-ups will appear, from health rejuvenation orbs to the too
few extra lives.
When it comes to saving your game progress, BL: QOTD is a mixed bag.
Save points allow for purchasing life and hit points, and skill ranks
that range from white belt through dragon belt. Each incremental belt
allows for additional moves to be purchased, which becomes a moot point
since most moves are too difficult to pull off in the actual game. While
you can save after each completed level, each level is long, broken down
into usually four or five smaller areas. Instead of allowing for saves
at the halfway of quarter point of the level, you can only save if you
make it through the entire level. So even if you lose your last life on
the very last opponent on the level, you are forced to start from the
beginning, which can get frustrating.
But there is a little glitch in the save system that actually benefits
players. When you restart, if you had saved with only one or no extra
lives left, you’re better off letting yourself get defeated because once
you run out of lives and restart, you will somehow be rewarded with
three, not one or no lives, even though you are starting at the same
exact save point. It’s the bizarre notion of getting a reward for losing
instead of successfully trekking through a level.
BL: QOTD was supposed to come out around the Xbox’s launch. Considering
that the developers had 7 additional months or so to work on this game,
it’s an outright embarrassment that this is the best product the
developers could come up with. Every member of the development team
associated with this shameful game should be required to withstand three
frontal kicks to the groin before being allowed near another video game
project. Do not buy this game unless you have started collection of the
all-time worst games ever to disgrace store shelves. I wouldn’t
recommend BL: QOTD to my worst enemy, it’s that bad.
- Lee Cieniawa
(July 30, 2002)