Before I start off this review, I want you all to know that Big Trouble in Little China is one of my favorite cheesy B-movie flicks of all time. Not only is it starring Kurt Russel, hilarious one-line spouter who really pulls out all the stops in this movie, but we also have Wictor Wong, who tends to take the "wisened old asian sage" stereotype and somehow manage to both give it life AND take a solid dump all over it. And from there, the movie devolves into a massively entertaining adventure featuring monsters, wire-fu-ish battles, supernatural forces and enough nonsense to last a goofy B-movie fan a lifetime in laughs and entertainment.
Now, I'm not saying MD Software had the wrong idea in applying some liberal amounts of Kung Fu Master when they sat down and made this game, but there is no excuse -- NO excuse -- that the discerning gamers should have to put up with crap like this. Far less so if they are, like me, huge fans of the movie. Just because there seems to be some kind of law that games based on movies have to suck doesn't mean that anyone has to follow it. Just look at Ghostbusters. It wasn't a great game, but at least it was fun to play!
I do realize that the general versatility of the movie would've made for a hard game conversion. It had a lot of dialogue, even outside of Kurt's hilarious lines, and while the action tended to come in fast and frequent once it got started, there was also a lot of sneaking around, getting captured and encountering all the weirdness inside Lo Pan's lair, like floating creatures with eyeballs inside their mouths and guys that exploded if you pissed them off enough. And all we get as gamers is a stuttering, generic mess where Jack, Wang and Egg Shen continuously walk to the left and have really awkward, stiff fights against the same couple of guys over and over again? Were you in a hurry to get this game out the doors, MD Software? Because it sure smells like it.
I've played a lot of absolutely awful games in my life, but I don't think I've felt this betrayed by anything since the Commodore conversion of Rygar. The game looks garish, plays like a slow, pokey version of Kung Fu Master and isn't even saved by the inclusion of "power ups", which consists of either a weapon or something that'll refill your life, as if anyone would want this game to last any longer than necessary. I hate to sound like the rest of the gaming world, but this is a really terrible game based on a great movie. Of course, someone would optimistically take this formula and put it to use in another action movie game conversion, Red Heat, whose only real advantage over this one is that at least it didn't look like crap.
|GRAPHICS - 2/10|
|Everything about the graphics is terrible. The backgrounds are garish, the characters are designed laughably simple and is animated like a bunch of puppets whose puppeteers are high on mushrooms, which might explain why they chose to put Egg Shen on a floating cloud. And the enemies look even more terrible. The most regular one is merely a mirror opposite of Wang's sprite, only dark blue and with a slightly different head. The rest of the ones I saw so far consisted of a bright yellow one that shot a gun of sorts and a bright green one, presumably meant to look like the "Rain" character. (I can't say for sure, though.) And to add insult to injury, the character portraits below only vaguely resemble the characters they're mean to portray.|
|SOUND - 1/10|
|This game has no music, and not much of any sound effects to speak of. And with this brazen lack of effort, I'm glad I never got to experience the loading tune if there was one. Which I doubt. I don't even think this game had a loading image. Or anything extra at all.|
|PLAYABILITY - 1/10|
|The sheer monotony of the game is the most damning thing of all. A simple setup doesn't necessarily mean a bad game, but there is no strategy and no variety in any of this. You merely walk left until you encounter an enemy, and then you exchange blows until one of you fall. The enemies -- well, the regular enemies, that is -- aren't particularly hard, so that's a tiny blessing. However, the enemies with guns tend to do huge damage to your three balls of life, and they also tend to show up rather arbitrarily. And good luck noticing the powerups in this garish mess of a game. Also, for some dumb reason, you control one character at a time, and as soon as one of them dies, it's on to the next one. And yes, you CAN switch between them at your leisure, but, again, why would you want to? It only makes the game last longer, and that's not a good thing when the game isn't any fun!|
|OVERALL - 1/10|
|I... just don't know what else to say. This game wasn't the first one ever made to cash in on the popularity of the movie it was based on, and it certainly wasn't -- or is going to be -- the last. And when it comes down to it, I don't know which crime against humanity represented by this game is the worst; that fans of the movie has to put up with a ranchid, money-sucking trap like this, or the possibility that people who's never watched the movie assumed that it had to be as bad as this goddamned game. Actually, I consider that to be double damning.|