No one is safe from mobile game appearances, not even deceased kung fu stars. This should serve as yet another reminder of the importance of drafting a living will. Unfortunately, the game itself isn't particularly good. Picture the combat of International Karate Champ applied to a Prince of Persia clone. Now imagine controlling all that complex movement without the benefit of simultaneous key presses. You won't have to strain your mental faculties much to envision this, as that's pretty much the harsh reality you'll face. Bruce Lee is a very good-looking game, but it doesn't match the fluidity and grace of its namesake.
The game's plot isn't based on any particular Bruce Lee flick and is instead an awkward amalgam of kung fu clichés. The backstory was apparently not written by someone well versed in English, but it involves the nefarious Fei Won, formerly the best friend of Bruce Lee's master, referred to throughout the game--appropriately enough--as "Master." Fei Won is operating some sort of drug cartel, which upsets the delicate sensibilities of Master. Bruce Lee is called into action and must overcome numerous platforming puzzles to thwart Fei Won. Every crate Bruce jumps atop brings him closer to defeating his adversary.
Throughout the game, you'll encounter enemies of varying difficulty. These can be dispatched with Bruce's standard attack (a punch) or with his iconic flying kick. This second move comes at a cost, however--a bit of Bruce's health bar. You can also perform single-use combos, should you acquire power-ups enabling you to do so. You won't be able to move while attacking, however, and multibutton combos are nonexistent. You can pick up a couple of weapons, but these don't affect the gameplay much; they just amplify the damage dealt by your basic attack.
The game's bread and butter turns out to be its platforming elements, which can be very frustrating. You'll often have to make Bruce leap as far as he possibly can--a tough feat without diagonal keys or chording. The fact is that Bruce Lee's control doesn't adequately serve its gameplay.
Bruce Lee's highlight is definitely its visuals. Indiagames has done a nice job reproducing traditional Chinese architecture and design, while applying its trademark clean and simple graphical style. It's tough to differentiate between enemy types, however, at least in our Nokia N-Gage QD version. Enemies that look virtually identical may have radically different levels of stamina.
The game's sound, however, just isn't very good. You'll hear a brief but grating little tune whenever you start a level. Bruce also makes his signature scream when executing his flying-kick maneuver.
Bruce Lee, who died in 1973, could never have predicted that his likeness might one day be optioned for use in a mobile game. It's hard to know whether he'd be pleased with the result. Ending with an anticlimactic bout with Fei Won, this isn't exactly Bruce's most gripping work. It's not a Game of Death, but it's not particularly worth playing, either.