Spectrum 2.0

Review of 'Bruce Lee'

Rating:5 User: jeff_b

Bruce Lee is probably unique in platformers in that it's the one your grandparents could play. A simple 20 screened platform collect 'em-up with two (count em) pursuing enemies. Add two-parts static electricity, an unexplained christmas-tree-like being, weird ethereal transporters, a baffling animated mouthing bull, irksome "floor pellets" and allow to simmer.

It's also unique in that its probably the first game I play on any new PC, replacing the tried-and-tested but sadly outdated "how fast is the bouncing card sequence in Solitaire" method. Why, could it be that Bruce moves even more silkily on an Athlon BZP Bristlethorn 5.7? I think so!

It's also pretty much unique in that I haven't got bored of it, ever. Once. It's just twenty screens long, but revisiting each one is like seeing an old friend. Hello, mysterious christmas tree, don't ever change. Hello strange oriental barbecue that plugs that hole. Hello exploding floor pellet. How's the family? Oh, there they are. Hi! Seen the flashing yin-yang lately? Oh really? It's the gaming equivalent of watching "It's a Wonderful Life" for me.

Except the "floor pellet conveyor" screen. Though not especially hard, the timing of it was slightly beyond me as a child and as a fully matured adult with carpal tunnel disorder from using Sinclair 2 keysets I still lose a life or so on this screen, ruining my chances for glory in the Bruce Lee speedrunning stakes. Alas!

In case you hadn't gathered, Bruce Lee is one of my favourite games of all-time. Age hasn't dulled the playability a jot. Graphically it's simple but effective all the way. It doesn't disappoint me the Green Yamo (the pudgy sumo) is white. It doesn't jar that Bruce appears to be black with white hair and a big nose. The use of colour is restrained but effective, and the characteristic "Datasoft blockiness" somehow works with the scenery.

The controls are silky-smooth and satisfyingly fluid, the intro music is jauntily oriental, the various clouts and thumps sound agreeably chunky, the lanterns emit a satisfying "chink!" noise when collected, it's even got a potentially friendship-destroying 2 player vs option (stick-bloke uncontrollable, alas). If Bruce Lee is missing one thing it's another six chapters and a hujillion imitators. And an end boss/sequence that isn't bobbins.