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Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story - The Atari Times

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story

Bruce freakin' Lee? It MUST be a good game...
by Bruce Clarke

February 18, 2007
Do you remember that Bruce Lee game for the Atari 8-bit computers? That was a great game, man! Hey, do you like 2D streetfighter-style games? Yeah? Well, imagine if you made a videogame about a real-life fighter. How about if that fighter was one of the greatest martial arts masters in modern times? And how about if he was Bruce freaking Lee? Man, you'd think that have to be a pretty damn good game. Oh, but wait, this is for the Atari Jaguar...

The Jaguar was ahead of its time in the mid-90s, but those bunglers at Atari Headquarters pushed developers to get games finished as quickly as possible. These meant that for every decent game that showed off the power of the Jaguar, there was a poor game (or two, or three) that was often a mediocre conversion of a game that already existed on a 16-bit platform such as the Genesis, Super Nintendo, or Amiga.

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story starts with some simple, cleanly-designed menus. Although basic, the still artwork looks very good. Over the speakers you can hear some generic 'Oriental'-style music, the sort of tune that you might hear playing in a cheap Chinese-food joint. Mmm, chop suey.

Bruce Lee fights... Bruce Lee!

The game begins, and - hey, this looks promising. The background is very colourful and attractive, and there's some nice parallax-scrolling for the foreground. The fighter characters, although flat 2D sprites, are huge and colourful, and look reasonably good. When they move, there are a respectable number of animation frames; the game may not rival modern consoles, but for a mid-90s machine these characters actually look pretty decent!

The two fighter characters jump onto the screen and the action begins. Ah, let's see: 'C' for kicks, 'B' for punches, and 'A' is for... oh, both hard punches AND hard kicks, but you have to use the 'Option' button to toggle between the two. Er, that's awkward. Maybe I better get out a 6-button Pro Controller. Oh wait, this game was released before the Pro Controller, so doesn't take advantage of those extra buttons. Bummer.

Oh well. Fight time! Kick, punch, kick, punch, kick, maybe toggle that hard punch - oh wait, I'm dead. What the hell? That bad guy whipped out a chain and choked the crap out of Bruce freaking Lee! Oh, the manual says that these Yin-Yang symbols that keep appearing in mid-air give me extra moves. If I jump and grab my Wang, er, Yang, while avoiding Mr. Crap-Choker's swinging chain, I'll build up this chi stuff. When I get enough chi, I can hit one of the keys on the number pad to go into a new "fighter mode" with more powerful moves, but weaker defence. Hmm, I don't recall seeing Bruce Lee jumping in the air and grabbing his Yang in any of those kung-fu movies.

I try several times, but find that in the "Story" game mode, the battles are slanted strongly in the bad guy's favour. This mode is very difficult I find, and eventually I give up in frustration. Going back to the menu, I find that there's also a "Battle" mode where you can choose to fight an identical Bruce Lee controlled by the computer. Well, not identical: his trousers are a different colour! Ah, much better. Now that I'm fighting myself, so to speak, I find it's a lot easier to win.

And that's about it. The short-term Battle mode games are much easier and more satisfying (ie. you can actually win them!) but are really only practice games. The long-term Story mode offers more variety and "boss fights" but is so overkill-difficult that they aren't much fun.

I've read many, many negative reviews of Dragon and so I've avoided it for a long time. Now that I've actually played Dragon, I don't think it's nearly so bad as some people make it out to be. The difficulty should be more closely matched between the Battle and Story modes, but the biggest problem is more a problem with the Jaguar than the game: 3-button controllers simply don't well for fighting games. If you've never tried Dragonand can pick it up cheap, give it a try. Overall, I'd call Dragon a pretty average gaming experience, and rate it a pretty average 5 out of 10.

Not to be confused with Dragon's Lair or Double Dragon.
Even on easy this sailor is tough. Should he be a breeze for Bruce Lee?
Oh, coming at me with a meat cleaver, huh?
Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story
System: Jaguar
Publisher: Atari
Genre: Fighting
Graphics Score: 55%
Sound & Music Score: 50%
Gameplay Score: 50%
Control Score: 45%

Final Score: 50%

Reader Comments for Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story

Not bad, not great by Gregory D. George on 2007-02-18 23:54:17
I wasn't thrilled when this game originally came out. Even to this point, I still don't have a copy. But it works pretty good in Project Tempest.

Anyway, I just think it's odd that the first character you fight is actually pretty tough. Even on the easiest mode. Now, should Bruce Lee just kick the foo out of this guy? Urg... I think the game is tougher than it should be. Still, it's better than Fight For Life or Double Dragon 5!
The way to play this game by Pete on 2007-02-20 23:07:25
If you change the settings to easy mode you will have a chance to progress through the levels the problem is in easy mode you have a chance but like Fight For Life the levels are way to long for a fighting game. This game is not one of the worst jag games made but it is in the bottom ten of the 60 or so games made for the Jag, luckily for Dragon DD5, Checkerd Flag, and Supercross 3D were also made for the system or else he would rate even lower.
This Game is great, just need to give it a chance. by Smacky on 2007-04-02 08:13:44
this is an awesome game, the 3 way multiplayer mode is so much fun. and great for trash talking your friends especially with all the cool moves. the flying slap in the face is my favourite ^^ but whipping out a pair of ridiculously overpowered nunchakus and beating the crap out of them then jumping on their ribs is fun too.

i also like the story mode very much. admittedly the first time i played it was very hard, but once you get used to the mechanics the fights are actually very rewarding, and certainly not slanted in the bad guys favour. I don’t consider any of them overpowered actually (apart from obviously the demon but that’s to be expected) once you get good you’ll be kicking their asses like you were Bruce Lee! (heh)

The only thing I find disappointing about this game is that their isn’t more of it. Story mode is fairly short (only 10 fights against 8 opponents) with relatively little happening when you finally beat it, and Bruce is the only playable character in versus mode.

On the plus side, what is there is very good. It will take a while to work your way up through the story mode and like all fighters it has great replay value, and as I said versus mode is also very good, I like it more than street fighter even if there is only one character.

Major downer is the controls, I also have this game on the snes and it’s way better, but it’s still playable on the jaguar.

Overall I’d give this game around 85% for game play, because it’s that good. For sound and graphics (who cares? They’re acceptable) , for control I’d only give it about 20% because the Jag controls do spoil it a bit.
Yooouuu dishonour me! by Bruce Lee on 2007-05-05 06:59:38
You people are SISSIES!
Bruce here, and yes, I am using my laptop in heaven and playing this game with a rom.
This game is easy, push buttons faster - like lynx in tree!
Move your player softly - like breeze across feild!
And, drink sake whilst playing - like drunken master!

This game is nothing compared to what I faced in real life.

Good bye Earth children.
Again another game I hate by Brent Motor Jones on 2007-08-26 12:48:27
Why did Atari have absolutly no standards, the Lynx games at least had a seal of quality, I notice Atari gave up on this in the Jag days and it shows. What is hard to believe is that the same company that was making nearly arcade perfect translations on the small16 bit screen couldn't licenese the same games w/ 64Bit graphix.

Even Bruce Lee if I show you the SNES/Genesis version then the Jag version...would you be able to tell the difference, I doubt it, sound is the same ....this is rediculous
Yesssss.. by Donny on 2007-09-06 23:26:14
This game is awesome, i rate this AUTHENTIC BRUCE LEE. I challenge myself and turn the difficulty knob to arcade to see how well I'm able to emulate Bruce lee's skill in the 2-d arena. My buddy got a hold of it years back for Sega Genesis, we often became frustrated -we couldn't figure out how to switch styles & take the chucks out. We never got around to beatin the game since the chucks are the essential to the *phantom's death. I acquired the SNES rom & style switchin' & nun chucku is a breeze..

Woulda been nice if there were more characters in versus and honestly, thats my only gripe about the game.. I wonder though, is it possible to create a game genie code that would allow the others to become playable?

be watuh my frriiiiieeend.
Yesssss.. by Donny on 2007-09-06 23:27:41
The X box bruce lee game suckks
bruce lee by joshua on 2007-12-02 16:50:11
the bruce lee game that is on xbox is real impressive the game does not sucks. those of you people that think the bruce lee game on xbox sucks well thier thinking wrong.

joshua bradley
i am a bigg fan of bruce lee
Bruce Lee Game by Curtis on 2008-01-31 01:02:52
I used to love to play this game. I think the graphics were great for the times but ...the difficulty was off the hook. I had fun facing the challenge, losing, and like seeing the stuff from the movie. The controls were very ridiculous.
To put this game in perspective you have to remember this game came after Street Fighter 2 and even the Justice League had a fighting game for the SNES. The earlier games were more fun, my friends liked to play those, but nobody liked the Bruce Lee one. The controls made it difficult to play.
It had a great look, cool moves, stood true to the movie, but overall was at the time a fighter game that was under the weather.
Not so bad. by Derrick on 2008-02-17 16:13:17
Although this game is difficult, I actually find it fun to play.Building up "chi" to increase Bruce's fighting abilities was a great concept.The fighting game craze was big back then and this was just one of the many.My favorite fighting game is Street Fighter 2 Turbo and although this game is not as good as that game,it is better than the following games that were out when this game was:Clayfighter,Shaq FU,Double Dragon V,and Tennage Mutant Ninja Turtles Tournament Fighters. Furthermore the Jaguar version of Dragon is the best one available.Jags version has the best graphics (24-bit true color),best sound,and best action speed (no slow motion).
I love those fighting games by Fsporsche on 2008-10-01 09:05:00
The graphics and music are done nice...I love playing this game, the story mode is fun and entertaining to see as you go through each level. Its a bit hard but once you have mastered the controls its not so bad. This is a game that you keep playing, a must for die hard fighting gamers!
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