Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior HD iPhone and iPad Review: A One-Hit K.O.

Simply mentioning the name Bruce Lee  is sure to conjure up fear and awe to anyone who hasn’t been anyone who hasn’t been hiding under a rock for the past few decades.  Not only did he conquer the martial arts world, as well as TV and movies his legacy is now attempting to tackle the gaming world in Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior for both the iPhone and iPad devices.

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Co-Producers Digital Legends Entertainment and Indiagames Ltd. have thankfully decided to bring the fighting legend to the iPhone and iPad platforms in their game Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior. The game features five game modes: Story (which includes five chapters), Arcade, Time Attack, Versus, and Survival. Also included are ten different fighters, five fighting locations, three difficulty levels, three story save slots, and a huge variety of attacks, combos, and grabs that are unlocked as you progress through story mode.

When first entering the game, the first thing I noticed was how incredibly polished the menus were. Items slid across the screen smoothly as I selected them and transitions were appealing to the eye. Included in the options are music and sound volume, opacity of on-screen buttons, camera tilt, control style (D-Pad or Joystick), and language (English or Spanish). The game keeps track of your stats in the Player Profile, and fighter bios and unlocked art are kept there as well. There are a variety of achievements that can be unlocked also.

Controls are simple yet complicated. A D-Pad is located on the left of the screen, with a punch and a kick icon on the right. Combinations of these controls allows for customized kicks and punches as well as some pretty cool combos and ending attacks. This can all get quite confusing, but luckily if you pause the game there is a Command List available to you.

From the very first battle, the amount of detail is quite astounding. The environment and the fighters are beautifully rendered in full 3D, and the attacks are all smooth and fluid. In only one environment did my 3rd Gen Touch have trouble with the framerate, but it did not take away from the overall experience.

Quickly, you are forced to focus more on the battle than the scenery. In my first few matches, I grew quite frustrated with the game because of how difficult it was to land an attack as the opponent was continuously barraging me with his own. This is probably because I’ve never played a game like this- Street Fighter never really enticed me. It was then that I learned the importance of blocks, counters, and controlling the amount of space between you and the opponent. Soon after I began to use these tactics, battles became easier, and I was soon progressing through the game swiftly.

Once I started to get the hang of the controls, I discovered that it was expedient that I should start to change up my attacks. If you keep doing the same thing, the opponent will learn and start to block your advances incessantly. This is why learning the Command List is so important. Once I started using the special attacks, the opponent could no longer predict my moves as easily. Plus, the special moves are pretty awesome visually, so it’s cool to try them out just to see how they look.

However, some of these moves require an energy called Chi. Chi is earned by blocking your opponent’s attacks or landing some of your own. Chi is very easy to accumulate, so the player should have no problem setting up some successful combos.

Even after all of this, the amount of content within the game is astounding. I’m barely starting Chapter 2 of 5 in the Story mode as I write this review, and it’s taken me a good hour to get there. Story mode includes a mixture of all the different fighting modes against a variety of opponents. Once you finish Story mode, you can continue to play in Arcade mode, which randomizes your opponent and surroundings- Time Attack, where you are pitted against random opponents in a test of your speed- Versus, where you choose your opponent and environment- and Survival, where you try to last as long as you can against a stream of enemies as your health bar does not regenerate fully between battles. Training Ground is also available if you want to switch up your fighting style in the Style Editor.

I wish I could go on and on about what I loved about Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior, but I’m afraid that would take several pages. Overall, I was extremely impressed with this game. Screenshots don’t do this game justice- the 3D is absolutely beautiful with its active environment and perfectly tuned character actions. The amount of content in this game provides for nearly infinite replayability. Its variety of game modes bring interest to the game and keep the gameplay from growing tired.

The controls allow for simplicity while maintaining the possibility for combo attacks that are essential for the fighting genre. I could see absolutely nothing that was missing from this game, except for perhaps in-game controls for your own music. I don’t often keep the games that I review, but this one will absolutely stay in the first few pages of my iPod Touch. Comparisons between this game and Street Fighter IV are inevitable- however, at $4.99 on iPhone or $5.99 on iPad this game is absolutely worth the price.

I would recommend this game to absolutely anyone, especially those who love fighting games or those who wish for a game like Street Fighter IV but are unwilling to pay the ten bucks.

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