So, lately, thinking back on it, I’ve been slipping a little on the whole ’90s’ part of the ’90’s Time Machine’. I mean, King of Chicago, as interesting as it was, was made in 1986. And the 90’s, in my book, didn’t even really get going until 1992. I intend to make up for this. I’m going to find a game so delightfully 90’s it’ll easy make up all the 80’s I subjected you to.
And what could this game be? Well… it’s a Mortal Kombat clone. Lots of synth guitars. A game made by the people who made those Chester Cheetah games. (Which, once I get back into the food game gimmick, I totally need to cover.)
Also, one little extra thing.
That’s right, it’s a fighting game all about Jackie Chan. This ought to be good.Jackie Chan: Fists of Fire is an arcade game from Kaneko, that’s an update of an earlier game called Jackie Chan: The Kung-Fu Master. Among several changes are changing the skin of some of the characters to blue and green for no discernable reason, a mechanic where you have to mash the buttons if you get knocked down, and the addition of previously unplayable bosses Jackie Chan, Jackie Chan, and Jackie Chan.
That wasn’t a typo. We’ll get there.
When you start the game, the first thing you hear is “I’m Jackie Chan. This is MY game.” He’s not kidding with you, either. In between shots of him posing, we get gameplay footage like this:
Yes, that is a Chinese lion rocketing its way through a blue-skinned woman with a staff. For this game, that’s fairly normal. Anyway, let’s quit with the silly attract mode and play!
So, the middle three slots on the character select screen are taken up by Jackie Chan, Jackie Chan, and Jackie Chan, as I mentioned earlier. These aren’t actually recolors, instead they’re Jackie wearing different outfits and using different fighting styles, each based on one of his movies. I’m going to admit I haven’t watched much of his older stuff, although I did see the Forbidden Kingdom once, so. Sure, the obvious choice here would be to pick one of the Chans, but… let’s go with somebody else. We’ll get back to Jackie later, I promise.
Here I am playing as Sam. He’s got a kick move you can do three times in a row (what the serious fighting game players called a rekka, named after one of Fei Long’s moves), plus a cool air fire kick. But he isn’t Jackie Chan. The other woman is Kim-Maree, who yells out things like “I WANT YOU” during her special moves. Other than that, she isn’t very interesting. Neither is Lau, the guy with the Shoryuken I beat.
So, every third match, you get into a boss battle with one of the Jackies. They’re all usually much tougher to beat then the other characters, because all three have insane range, do more damage, and generally have better moves.
It was a grueling battle, but I managed to wear down Jackie’s health meter to zero. I had defeated Jackie Chan in mort —
This is Jackie Chan’s game, remember? You can’t defeat him. Ever. Sure, you can empty his health bar and win the round, but every time he’ll just pick himself up and say “Good fight!” or “You’re getting better!” This even happens if you put two Jackies up against each other. Oh yeah, by the way, this whole ‘friendly sparring’ thing only applies when Jackie is on the screen, otherwise you get stuff like this at the end of the match:
Yeah, this game has fatalities. They’re all pretty lame, however. You do them by doing certain moves at the end of the match, for example, I got this one by performing Sam’s kick combo as my finishing move.
And so, I finally made it to the ninth and final stage, against the final form of Jackie Chan. It was a tough battle, and I lost.
I believe it’s time to fight fire with fire.
That’s right, you can go Jackie VS Jackie at any time you want. Really, it’s the ONLY way to play the game.
Unforutunately, Jackie beat the absolute stuffing out of Jackie time and time again, no matter how many credits I put in. For now, my dreams of clone supremacy would have to be put on hold.
So, how’s the game, you ask? Well… honestly, it’s surprisngly fun. REALLY fun. Like, ‘I’m not even joking here I literally played like 10 matches in a row over the internet with a friend” fun. It’s much more Street Fighter than Mortal Kombat, since you have the whole ‘weak/strong punch/kick’ setup, with the standard ‘hold back to block’ rule. As far as fighting games go, it’s pretty simple. You’ve got a health bar, a super bar, only one super move for each character, and that’s pretty much it.
The thing is, though, it’s just FUN. The matches are short, but intense since everything does so much damage, people are constantly flying around everywhere, everything combos into pretty much EVERYTHING, and it generally feels like Super Turbo on massive amounts of crack.
The only really annoying part of the game is how getting knocked down works. Every time somebody gets knocked down, they have to mash the buttons to get back up. During this time, the opponent is free to jump on top of you, usually growing giant before doing so, because, hey, Jackie Chan, and starts stomping the crap out of you. And while you’re mashing, you might end up doing some sort of attack when you get up that’ll leave you wide open.
Still, overall, it’s… I want to say it’s a good game. I really do. Most people would probably disagree. These people hate fun. It’s utterly insane, not very well balanced at all, and it’s goofy as hell, but what it has over games like, say, Way of the Warrior, is that it’s smooth, fast, and is just mind-blowingly fun to play.
Also, Jackie Chan is in it, I guess.