Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu

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North American NES box art.

Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu is a platform beat 'em up developed by Now Production and published by Hudson Soft for the NES in December 1990 and the TurboGrafx-16 on 1991-01-18. Although the NES port was released first, it seems pretty clear that the game was first made on the TG16 and then ported to the NES. In the game, you play Jackie Chan who is trying to rescue his sister (or girlfriend in the TG16 game) who has been kidnapped by a Sorcerer.

Personal

I first heard about this game because it was a prize on a children's game show, I think Masters of the Maze, but I never saw it played until years later using an emulator. While the game looked good and seemed interesting, I first dismissed it as just another generic NES platformer. Years later, while looking for video game music to record, I played the game's NSF file and was impressed by the music. Wanting to know where in the game a particular song was played, I took to playing the game through and got to the third level. This was more than enough to impress upon me how enjoyable the game is, so I decided to play the game for real. I beat it on my second attempt on 2018-01-02.

Status

I do not own the game, but I have beaten the NES version.

Review

  • Overall: 6/10
  • Best Version: TurboGrafx-16

— This section contains spoilers! —

Good

  • The game has really attractive graphics. The characters are well animated and feature some of the best cartoon drawings on the NES. Many of the sprites are also hilarious.
  • Masakatsu Maekawa's music is quite impressive. It uses a coherent timbre throughout the game and several songs have a wonderful traditional Asian sound which fits the theme. The NES audio makes especially good use of the hardware.
  • The controls are very responsive and fluid.
  • Each stage has a unique set of backgrounds, enemies, music, and a boss.
  • I like how there are multiple secret stages, each which requires a new set of skills to master.
  • Unlike many NES titles, the game isn't that difficult, which is a nice change of pace. Pitfalls, rather than killing you outright, punish you by setting you back or injuring you. However, the TG16 game is considerably harder.
  • The game includes a lot of interesting Chinese and Japanese mythology.

Bad

  • There isn't much to explore in the game. Once you discover the hidden bells, you've found everything the game has to offer, and it's just a matter of honing your skills.
  • The NES port eliminates large sections of the levels, and, with only five total, the game is too short. I would have loved to see another two or three levels or at least the rest of the TG16 levels.
  • The NES port also eliminates a lot of the enemies and eliminates complexity for the rest, especially the bosses.
  • The NES port gives you too many lives for the game to be a real challenge, the TG16 is more appropriate as it is harder and gives fewer lives. The NES manual even gives you a cheat code to get 99 lives, pretty much guaranteeing victory as long as you're tenacious.
  • Josephine is described in the manual as being a Kung Fu master with abilities comparable to Jackie Chan, which is progressive, but, in the game, she shows no skills whatsoever, so her title is just window dressing.

Ugly

  • Nothing.

Media

Box Art

Documentation

Maps

Videos

Longplay, NES.
Longplay, TurboGrafx-16.

Titles

Language Native Transliteration Translation
English Jackie Chan's Action Kung Fu
Japanese ジャッキー チェン Jakki Chen Jackie Chan

Links

Link-MobyGames.png  Link-Wikipedia.png  Link-TCRF.png