Battle of the Ports – Bruce Lee (ブルース・リー) Show #288 – 60fps

Battle of the Ports – Bruce Lee (ブルース・リー) Show #288 – 60fps


Bruce Lee the video game from 1984 was actually
quite the popular game back in the day and available on many systems. It started life on the Atari 8Bit line of
home computers and was possibly the first ever platformer that had you collecting items. The game was designed by Ron J. Fortier, with
graphics by Kelly Day and music by John A. Fitzpatrick. Datasoft were responsible for publishing the
game across some of the available formats. In a one player game you take control of Bruce
Lee making your way through twenty chambers, each represented by a single screen with platforms
and ladders. To progress, the player must collect a number
of lanterns suspended from various points in the chamber. It sounds easy and to be honest, it kind of
is for a game of this age. The tight and precise controls really make
this a joy to play. I just love the way you can do flying kicks
in to the enemies. I also love the old school split second timing
for avoiding traps. Bruce Lee may look bad these days but it’s
still a fun classic game. Let’s take a look at the MSX port. Visually I don’t think it looks as good as
the Atari 8Bit line of home computers but that’s ok. What’s not okay is the way the game plays. It just feels wrong compared to the original. You can even see from the way Bruce jumps
that something is not right. On the bright side it’s now much easier to
make long jumps and to out run the enemies. Sadly, this is just an okay version of a classic. Just listen to that delightful music coming
from your ZX Spectrum. Music like that normally means you are in
for a bad time but not this time. Bruce Lee on the ZX Spectrum is actually really
good. The graphics are clear and easy to see. Controls are perfect and the whole game move
at a very nice pace. I was actually very surprised. I was expecting a half arsed port of the MSX
version if the truth be told. Well, what would you know? Yet another good port. This Amstrad CPC version plays just like the
ZX Spectrum one but now with a little more colour and a few more sound effects. I will say that it is easier to die in this
port due to the enemies talking of more damage each time they hit you. But even with that, this is still an excellent
port. Even the humble education system, the BBC
Micro received a port of Bruce Lee. This is a fairly competent port. It contains all the stages but is missing
some traps and enemies. It also had an annoying feature that requires
the main character to perfectly centered on a ladder in order to climb off the top of
it. Little things like this kind of ruin the game. With that said though, this is still a fun
little title for the BBC Micro. After the slightly disappointing BBC Micro
port the good old Commodore 64 puts us back in to the quality ports camp. Nice use of colours and sound add to the perfect
gameplay in this blocky looking but fun port. As to be expected Bruce Lee made his way on
to the IBM Compatible PCs. This is yet again another pretty good port
that packs in everything that all the other good ports do. Solid controls, easy to understand graphics
and a fair challenge. This is the Apple ][ port and it seems to
be based upon the Amstrad CPC version. I say that because the enemies seem to react
as they do on that version of the game. They also take more damage from you when they
attack. That’s not to say the Apple ][ port is bad. It’s still great and a worthy addition to
your collection. Now, so far every system we’ve seen this game
running on has been a western home computer, well the MSX is Japanese in origin but was
released in the west. One system that wasn’t widely available in
the west though was the NEC PC-8801, yet this also received a port of Bruce Lee!! So did the Fujitsu FM77 but unfortunately
I can’t show you that version. This port has some interesting colour choices
for some areas and a few nice sound effects here and there but besides that it is very
similar to its western counterparts.

Author:

95 thoughts on “Battle of the Ports – Bruce Lee (ブルース・リー) Show #288 – 60fps”

  • That cow in the first screen just wants to sit and relax in the sun but Bruce Lee’s gotta come in and start a giant fight with a bajillion ninjas. He looks so annoyed. I feel his pain. I want a T-shirt with his sprite on it. Also what happened at 6:25?

  • I'm kinda surprised the game didn't come to consoles, what with how many ports it got. Seems like a sure fire seller. Big name, relatively simple controls (apparently), graphics probably would look just fine after a minor touch-up (couldn't look more basic than Famicom Thexder), and a lot of action. I can't imagine that being a hard sell at all on the Famicom/NES or the Mark III/Master System.

  • I used to love playing Bruce Lee on my old BBC B (though he's the most sunburnt Scandinavian looking Bruce Lee ever due to choices made with the colour palette).
    I was very surprised you don't have the homebrew Master System version on there from a few years ago. It looks fantastic! https://youtu.be/FnfZRMUxms4

  • Some questionable colour choices here and there, like the purple skinned and blond haired Bruce Lee on the BBC Micro! It's funny that in quite a few ports (MSX, CPC and C64) yellow was considered an acceptable colour option for the main sprite, I imagine just because Bruce Lee was a Asian man!

  • Speccy version all the way for me! The first one I played and still can run through it a few times without problems…
    Amstrad port is ok, didn't like the others I have tried (Atari and C64). And I know the Atari is the original 😉

  • My C64 copy was badly cracked, and sometimes it liked to crash when you moved to different screen, loved to play it regardless 🙂 Spectrum port is my second favorite, thanks to better A.I of computer enemies, Ninja attacks you more often and his attacks are faster, and Yamo often follows you on ladders, BBC Micro version already have sprite flickering with only Bruce and Yamo, thats probably why they didnt put Ninja in it. first time i ve seen NEC PC-8801 port. There is also Ultimate Bruce Lee, fanport on PC with slightly updated graphics and lots of extras to unlock. Sega Master System also recieved fan port.

  • It also came out for PC Booter and Sharp X1, as well as the FM-7 version.

    For me though, the Speccy version will always rule the roost.

  • Bruce Lee on MS-DOS looks nicer, if you running the game with a CGA Composite signal (but sadly only NTSC worked):
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_RdDMOJe5k

  • mr y mysterious video says:

    The music on the spectrum title screen sounds like newborn by muse but Bruce Lee came first. One of the few speccy games I could finish without cheating

  • I wonder what was the first platform game with collectible items? Donkey Kong in 1981 maybe? First home-only game maybe Miner 2049er or Pitfall in 1982?

  • This game seems to have been conceived by somebody who has heard of Bruce Lee, but had never seen any his movies. Why is Bruce fighting ninjas and sumo wrestlers? Why is he collecting lanterns of all things? Why is he blonde in the BBC Micro version of the game!?

    It's a good game, but it just makes no freaking sense.

  • Joystick Versus Machine says:

    The dos version supported a higher color palette through cga-composite. It looks quite nice, but I don't think there's any way to play it without original hardware. Truthfully, aside from a couple of weird color choices (probably due to limitations) these all look mostly the same to me. For once, a good port was had by all!

  • I couldn't stop playing this on my C64 when I was a kid (somewhere between 1984-86). My cousin had it for the Atari 400. One of my first games to complete along with Zillion and a plethora of Master System games.

  • The DOS port looks a lot more colourful if you use the CGA composite mode. Search YT for "bruce lee cga composite". In DOSBox you can set "machine=cga" in the conf file and choose the TV option in the game, then it'll run in composite mode automatically.

  • Peck Man: Game Compares and More! says:

    I think my favorite ones are the C64, Speccy and Atari 8-Bit. I also like the Amstrad and DOS ones quite a bit. Apple II is fine, MSX is garbage, and the PC-88 and Beeb ones are eye soars.

  • I still play the C64 port every now and then (2019) and I still have a great time. It's amazing how a game like this that doesn't really look like much still manages to have such an enormous entertaining value.

  • After you said you couldn't show the Fujitsu FM-77 version (not FM-TOWNS, that's a different computer), I decided to try for myself and got it working. I hope you don't mind me sharing the video ID for my short clip of the game – delete this comment if so.
    The ID is: lQsILnS04CM

  • Whoa, I've played this in my childhood! You've unlocked a memory of me and a friend exploring a barn used as a storage shed that was on his family's new property, where we found some old micros and a bunch of games and software. Though it was cool and an adventure looking for other treasures in that barn, we moved on pretty quick because most of the games sucked (especially this circus one on the c64 (err, wait – was it a theme park game…?) , I wonder how many circus games are on the c64…?), not just because they were primitive, they were a pain to get running (I can't believe we pulled it off), if they even could, and the hardware was kinda unreliable, I think we fried a micro, not sure which, when we plugged the wrong controller into its controller port… something like that anyway.

  • One of my first games ever seen on a C64, I clearly remember wanting to have one to play it, and when I finally played, it was very very hard to finish, actually I never finished it…..amazing game but hard as balls

  • How to cheat in the CPC version and avoid a huge chunk of the game: go to the bottom right of each screen then crouch while still going right. Voilà!

  • Solar Flare [Who likes uploading SSBU replays] says:

    3:55 Oh god damnit Mark. First, I thought you were Wario from that Mario Sports Eggs video but now you're Sans? Lol

  • TheRetroDudeAbides says:

    So many fond memories of playing this on the Apple growing up. Though to me that version seemed the hardest in terms of the final screens.

  • I love this game. Along with Jumpman and wanting to play Infocom games, this was one of the deciding factors to me getting a job during the summer when I was 14 so that I could buy a disk driver for my Atari 800XL. (The tape took like thirty minutes to load.) I still play it regularly today on my restored 800. With my home built joystick that I added a button for up to use as jump, it controls even better than is did back in the day. Though it wasn't meant to be played this way, it was one of the first games that my friends and I ever played co-op. The second player would take control of the green guy and defend Bruce Lee from the ninja while the first player collected the lanterns. This was actually a lot of fun back then.

  • I couldn't remember the game from the title, but as soon as I saw it running, I recognised it. I spent hours and hours playing this on my spectrum all those years ago.

  • I wouldn't say the BBC is humble or limited. Yes the colour palette is a bit gaudy but it's a lot more advanced than the Spectrum for example. The BBC version certainly could have been better.

  • Manic Miner also had collecting which pre-dates this. I'm sure there are other. Maziacs comes to mind and ant attack. Pretty certain is older than this. An interesting observation though.

  • Sherbert's World of Schlock says:

    My first exposure to this game was the MS-DOS port. I discovered it right around the time I discovered his movies. So, good times.

  • Great video as always. I will add that the IBM PC version is much easier on the eyes through CGA Composite, simply because there are more colors to work with.

  • Had the C64 version when I was a teen and after seeing this video, that's honestly my favourite, so I am glad that's the one I had. I love these nostalgic vids. Thanks!

  • Here's a short video of the FM77 version that someone literally just uploaded, maybe in response to this video. I am surprised how bad the sound is, when the FM77 has some great music, like in silpheed for example. Anyway, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQsILnS04CM

  • Samsulumma Samsulumma says:

    I have fond memories of this game. I used to play it on my Amstrad PC1640 and was quite good at it (Could finish it more often than not). Mind you, if you use PCem with the right settings, you can emulate CGA composite mode and play the game with 16 colors. (Artifact colors, exploiting the properties composite signal had). Be sure to check it out if you find the time. In my opinion it was one of the best versions of the game.

  • Too bad you didn't cover the great homebrew version that was developed for the Master System by Kagesan, a member of the SMS Power community. It's really good. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FnfZRMUxms4

  • OperationPhantom says:

    Probably a game fondly remembered by anyone who had it at the time on their system of choice (or fate). For me the C64 version is therefore the go to game. Faster than the Atari original and more colourful than the Speccy (which does have smarter AI though!).

    Also, on the C64, I'm pretty sure many people remember a version of the game they had (perhaps of dubious origin ;), that was wont to crash on a warp screen! 🙂

    The electric field was a nightmare as a kid but once you get the pattern, it's easy. As is the entire game really but still fun to play every now and then. So glad we got a port of the unofficial Bruce Lee II on the C64 as well! And yet sigh I'm stuck on the electric field level in that game again, just like the kid I was when playing the original!

  • Loved this game on my Amstrad CPC 464. Thank You for reviewing this. Lots of lovely memories associated with this game. Theres actually a bug where you can loads of extra lives. Theres a screen where you can collect a yin and yang symbol. collect and leave the room but come back and its still there. do this 4 times without loosing a live and your lives count jumps to 99. I hated the laser floor level.

  • There is a 2001 remake of the C64 version for Windows 9x/Me/XP (still runs on Windows 7 64-bit!) by Mark Rosten, which I played as a kid. Unfortunately his website is no longer online, but the game can still be found elsewhere online if you search for it.

  • Just realized I had this game in MSX back in 1990, but never really knew its name. I always found funny the Monty Python-like sounds for the walking.

  • i loved the 2 player mode i think player one was bruce and p2 was the black ninja ……wed kill each other for hours ……you know back in the day people would put their name on the start screen after seeing some of these horrible games/ports I'mm asking "why?"

  • It's actually very surprising the MSX version is NOT a half-arsed port of the Spectrum Version 🙂

    But it still looks like shit for an MSX game.

    I believe this got a few fan-made ports of other systems. A friend of mine worked on the recent SMS port that looks AMAZING and plays very well too. Check it out if you don't know it yet 🙂

  • proof that system limitations don't remove Style ! i remembered the c64 version, played it on PCjr. only 4 colors !
    great joystick game, as easy as keyboard.
    a true "computer game" that no console had !

  • Absolute classic game. Still great fun, but the first platformer collecting things is rather Jumpman (and I'm sure there are even earlier games).
    BTW, on the C64 there are also 2 relatively recent, quite good and free homebrew games, called "Tiger claw" and "Bruce Lee II", which are reprogrammed and improved variants of the original. If you like the original Bruce Lee (which you obviously do), you might wanna give these two a try.

  • Growing Perspective says:

    1:08 what kind of chamber?! one with handcuff's, chains, whips and lube…………the one time when you don't want to fist your way out of situation

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