Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Review

One thing we all should know as gamers by now is that it pays to be cautious of a game based on a movie. Every now and then we can get a nice game out of this but mostly it feels like we were suckered into being interested in the game solely based on its name. And with this I introduce you to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (CTHD) for the PlayStation 2. I was one of many who were totally mesmerized by the movie when it came out a few years ago. Unfortunately the game does not come close to living up to its high quality name. Read on if you would like to know why...

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon the movie was a phenomenal Kung-Fu action flick brought to the screen by Ang Lee that may very well go down as one of the more influential movies of the past decade. The video game tries to bring the same thrill in an action packed fighter. CTHD follows the same story as the movie and that is certainly one of its stronger points. A very quick reminder rundown of the story goes like this: Li Mu Bai has his legendary sword, the Green Destiny (and you just know that it has to be an awesome sword when it has its own name), stolen. He must retrieve it while at the same time confront the killer of his father, the evil Jade Fox. Joining him is Yu Shu Lien with whom Mu Bai shares a forbidden love. Now throw in Jen as a spoiled assassin who just happens to be training under the guidance of Jade Fox and you have yourself a tale of revenge, love, courage and faith.

You can walk on walls, just like in the film. Too bad it's not as fun as it looks.

Now unless Iíve been in a time warp of some type, shouldnít this game have come out about 3 years ago? I would have been more than happy to overlook this is if the game had 3 years of development quality surrounding it. Instead there is nothing to suggest that it couldnít have been released the same day as the movie. But itís here now so letís deal. In CTHD you play as one of the three main characters from the film. While there are certain special moves for each character the basic control is the same. Too bad the control is bad for all of them. You have four basic attacks that map to the face buttons on the PS2 controller, two unarmed and two armed. An interesting part of the game, but one that ultimately fails, is the emphasis on blocking. By timing your blocking correctly, as indicated by a flashing icon, you can use your enemyís attack against them and pull off a Blocking Combo that look pretty neat as you slink away from any damage. While this sounds really cool it doesnít come off very well at all. The battles come down to block, attack, block, attack, etcÖ There just isnít a whole lot to keep you entertained. One kind of interesting thing is that there are a several enemies attacking at once and they actually do all attack at the same time for the most part, instead of just waiting around for their time to get beat up. There are also some special attack moves you can do once you stun an enemy. But these really arenít enough to keep you wanting to continue.

Graphically CTHD keeps the general feel of the movie around but it just doesnít do a real good job with it. As you play the three different character several of the fights for each takes place in the same location. So after you battle in one of the gardens with Jen you can expect to be seeing that very same garden later with Shu Lien. It would have been nice to see a little more variety in locations even if it meant taking a few liberties with the story. Regardless, there just isnít much detail to the surroundings and battle areas. While the characters and their movements are decent they are not as innovating as I had hoped for. And donít get me started on the camera! The camera must have a mind of its own at times to know where the worst place for it to be and then going there. I canít count the number of times where I was in an alley with no idea what was going on because an overhang from a nearby building was blocking the view. One area I give small props to is the sound. I like that they kept true to the movie and the characters speak Mandarin with subtitles.

In The End, This Game Hath Been Rated: 53%.  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon doesnít have anywhere near the magic as the movie. Do yourself a favor and rent the movie instead of playing this inadequate title.


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