Kick, punch, it’s all in the mind

So, I started playing Jackie Chan’s Action Kung Fu on NES tonight for the first time, mainly because I didn’t want to watch Britain’s Got Talent in the other room. Aside from the shockingly racist visage of Chan on the title screen above, it’s a neat little action platformer.

Remember when Jackie Chan got a beat down from that floating apparition in the early 90s? You don’t? It was all over the news. His wife (pictured left) ashamed and shattered by his failing, divorced Chan the next day and formed a successful company that makes car floor mats. Word has it she does quite well.

Alright, I’m talking utter shit now, and no, the game has absolutely no basis in reality or Chan’s extensive movie back catalogue, but it does let you DROPKICK A FUCKING TIGER. This image sums up the game well: You scroll right, jumping over spike pits and schooling fools with a range of punches and kicks. It’s very simple, but it’s also charming and fun.

You’ll punch gawking men with swords, sweep fish as they leap out of rivers and massacre Kermit the Frog’s extended family. In a weird turn of events, smacking frogs causes them to spew a bowl of Ramen noodles – which tops up Chan’s health – or a weird symbol that *I think* gives you more special moves. It’s all very odd, but the game has clearly been influenced and steeped in Chinese culture…

…and copious amounts of methamphetamine it would seem. I honestly have no idea what’s going on here. Every so often a floating bell appears, you touch it and it takes you to a sky world where you score points for jumping on clouds. It’s a lesson in fear.

I’ll give developers Hudson Soft points for originality though, as one minute you’re in the countryside, then the next you’re ducking under sentient shards of bamboo that twirl and fly at Chan like ninja stars. It’s just bat-shit crazy, but props to the studio for making a licensed game that doesn’t suck the dick dry.

It’s a big game too, taking Chan all over a geographically correct rendition of China, as this screen grab from Google Maps in 1991 shows. But yeah, if you like games like River City Ransom, Mega Man and everything in between, give this one a shot. Beats watching the Rush Hour trilogy any day.


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