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Platform

GameBoy Advance

 

Genre

Action

 

Publisher

Activision

 

Developer

Torus

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q4 2001

 

 

- Nice combos
- Good visuals

 

 

- Gets repetitive
- Old, tired musical style

 

 

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Jackie Chan Adventures: Legend of the Dark Hand

Score: 6.5 / 10

 

jackie-chan-adventures-1.jpg (6350 bytes)         jackie-chan-adventures-2.jpg (6486 bytes)

 

While the Gameboy Advance may bring a lot of new, high-quality graphics to handheld games, unfortunately it brings a lot of formulas and approaches to game design that may have been best left in the past as well. Jackie Chan Adventures is no exception. It takes the same old beat 'em up gaming that we saw in the likes of Double Dragon, Streets of Rage, and all of the countless other similar games. There are a few little touches here and there that help make the game a little more tolerable, but we've had so many of these games that the saturation still left from the time of the old 2D beat 'em ups that it is very hard to warm up to this title. It

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does provide a short bit of fun, but that quickly ends as the repetition sinks in its claws.

The gameplay, at its roots, is much like that of the previously mentioned beat 'em ups, but with some nice little touches like being able to chain combos and block attacks, as well as counterattack. Also helpful is the ability to hit behind you, so when being swarmed it isn't the end of the world.

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With all of these moves it's interesting to see that the enemies aren't easily mowed down though, as they too can block, counterattack, and whatnot also. This by no means makes them unstoppable, but at the same time they aren't walking right up to you for a heart felt fist to the face. However, they can be worn down once you find whatever attack(s) are prone to successfully landing them on their backsides, thus bringing back the tedium and repetition. The control itself, though, is very mixed. Since the shoulder buttons play a role in the game, you have the high-speed attacking with the A and B buttons and the shoulder buttons are so far though that they feel out of the way and slow down the gameplay.

From a presentation standpoint though, Jackie Chan Adventures is actually quite well done. There's a very noticeable cartoon-like quality to the graphics, which makes sense, what with the game being based on a cartoon. Character design is reasonably varied, but there are still a few too many stereotypical baddies with all the different shades of thuggery thrown at you. Bosses though do look pretty good, being appropriately large, providing the necessary amounts of hulking mass and imposing disposition. Music and sound effects can't really say much for themselves though, what with the limitations of the GBA, but the music itself just feels too much like all of the other tunes to ever appear in a beat 'em up, at least in spirit. It just doesn't do anything to differentiate itself from the pack.

You can't expect too much from the story, it's your typical "stop the bad guys from unleashing a terrible evil" sort of romp. Then again the show it's based on isn't exactly trying to re-define the modern narrative. Nonetheless, the 10 levels of the game may provide a quick bit of fun, but it runs out of steam too quick. Those who are too young to have experienced the beat 'em up phenomenon of the 16-bit era may get a kick out of this game, but everyone else would best move along.

- Mr. Nash
(January 2, 2002)

 

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