Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Platform(s): Arcade, Game Boy Advance, GameCube, Nintendo DS, PC, PSOne, PSP, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360
Genre: Action


Xbox Review - 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon'

by Jordan Van Nest on Jan. 8, 2004 @ 1:33 a.m. PST

Genre : Action
Publisher : UbiSoft
Developer : Genki
Release date : December 9, 2003

Xbox | GameCube | Game Boy Advance | PlayStation 2

As the buzz from the larger than life movie "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" begins to slowly fade, Ubisoft has taken a risk to revitalize the genre, with a unique game of the same name. Centered around the amazing stunts of the movie, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" has been created to try and capture the hard-to-describe feel that stunned people in theatres. So does this game stay true to the movie and manage to capture the stunning overall feel? Read on…

When I first heard that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon had been made into a game, I was a little worried. In the back of my mind I thought that this game might just become another failed attempt to turn a movie into a game. I knew in order for this game to be a success, the development team would have to rely on elements which the movie was based on. These of course are the amazing fighting sequences, and the intriguing storyline. I knew that without these, the game would surely fail to recreate the feeling of the movie. The plot of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is closely intertwined with the plot of the movie. Taking an approach similar to "Enter The Matrix", the game Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon attempts to fill in the holes of the movie by showing the audience everything that happened off camera. While this seemed to work in Enter the Matrix, I was skeptical if the same thing could be done with this game. Little did I know that the game would actually do a very nice job of weaving the game's plot in and out with the movie's plot. However, if you've already seen the movie, the storyline can become very boring, as you already know what is going to happen. I found that while the plot was very true to the movie, it just did not contain enough new elements in it to make it exciting.

The gameplay of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was what really brought this game down. I think the main problem surrounding this game would have to be the fighting system, and the game's attempt to recreate the amazing fighting sequences of the movie. First off, one of the big challenges for the development team, was to of course recreate the awesome fighting sequences that fans had seen in the theatres. This was no easy task however. It would be hard enough if they were trying to recreate the legendary style on a video, but to try to recreate it in an interactive world would be very very difficult. In the end, I think Ubisoft failed to recreate the stunning choreography, not because they slacked off or did not have the right skills, but because they just could not recreate the sense of style which was brought out in the movie.

Another one of the problems that I found in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was the issue of the controls. In a fighting game such as this, it is extremely important that the controls are well planned out and that they are able to recreate the effect that is desired. In this game, I thought the controls for the fighting sequences were done poorly, and did not even have a chance at recreating the action sequences from the movie. What this game should have had was an excellent offensive and defensive system, allowing for some awesome fights. However, this is not what the game has. First off, I thought the defensive system was very weak. This is all centered around the fact that the blocking system is flawed, and that there are multiple enemies at any one time. Let me explain. The blocking system in this game is anything but easy. It tries to take a simple approach, but this actually backfires. Basically, you watch a small icon in the upper corner of the screen and it tells you precisely when you should press the block button. Now there are many problems with this, one being that you must take your eyes off of the action just to know when to block. This kind of defeats the purpose of blocking, as you will probably be more injured trying to than not. In addition, at most points in this game you will be going up against multiple enemies, and the blocking system just does not work. Even if you manage to block one of your enemies, chances are that you will be attacked from behind or to the side. This can get very frusterating and may even lead you to throw out the blocking system and just stick to slashing. With that said, I did think the animation in this game was done fairly well. It is all very fluid and smooth, and to a certain degree looks like the movie. If only something could have been done about the fighting system, I think this game could have been great.

Another one of the problems in the game is centered in the gameplay. From watching the movie, we know that most of the main characters have super-human abilities, which helps create many of the awesome fight sequences. Well, the problem with this game lies in the fact that it's not only the main characters who have these super-human abilities, everyone does. Even the standard every day thugs that you will run into in this game are capable of jumping 20 feet in the air and flying across rooftops. I thought this really took away from the whole idea of the game. When you take control of a character with these kind of powers, you should feel very powerful, and to a certain degree, have an advantage over your opponents. However, I really did not feel this in the game. I felt like every enemy I came across was just as skilled and had all of the same powers that I did. Basically what this does is kill the entire idea of the game. The movie was based around amazing action sequences that could never have happened in real life. What was so amazing about it was that only a selected few could use these powers and perform extra-ordinary tasks. I found the game to be very disappointing, as it betrays this thought, and fails to resemble the movie.

Graphically, I could find no problems. While the game was definitely not a masterpiece, I did think that things such as character models and surrounding buildings were done fairly well. In addition, I really liked the animation. It was one of the only things that reminded me of the movie, and I really appreciated that. While they're definitely not amazing, I still thought the graphics in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon were fairly solid.

I liked the sound in this game. This was another one of the elements that I think helped to recreate part of the movie. The music definitely helped in transforming me into the ancient world of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. Now if only the fighting sequences could have done the same thing!

Overall, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon fails to recreate the feeling that it set out to create. While many may be disappointed with it, I think that die-hard fans of the movie may want to check it out. If nothing else, it will provide for another mystical journey to the world of amazing action, and mystery. The world of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Score: 7.0/10

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