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Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon PlayStation 2

Published by Ubi Soft Entertainment
Developed by Genki
Released: Out Now
Price: £39.99

It's not often that a game based on a movie arrives three years later than the film but it has now been three years since Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon first appeared at the cinema. Games based on movies are often problematic, as striking a balance of being faithful to the movie often lets the gameplay down. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon whilst being quite a faithful rendition of the movie, comes unstuck on more than one occasion when it boils down to the gameplay.

Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is essentially a martial arts combat game that follows the Wudan style that allows for weapon on melee attacks. The game allows you to play as Li Mu Bai, Yu Shu Lien, Jen Yu, and Lo. Each character has there own fighting style but because of the poor combat system, which is primarily focused on blocking and counter attacks, this is fairly redundant. The fights are not simply one against one either. Most of the time you'll have multiple enemies and it becomes a free for all rather than a skilled fighting game. The main problem is that the game lacks an elegant fighting system. If you've played any fighting game in recent times you'll be aware of complex combo systems and the need to master them if you are to succeed. Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon offers an awkward control system and combat boils down to simply knowing when to block. The combat system feels more like a ten year old game than a brand new one.

Graphically Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon is perhaps best described as average. The character models and environments look OK but when you place them next to other modern titles such as Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, then you have to wonder why the game doesn't look a whole lot better. Whilst the quality of the graphics can be ignored though, the poor camera cannot. For a game that relies on quick movements the camera often leaves you without a clear sight of your enemies and this can make fights more awkward than they should be. There are quite a few clipping problems too with the odd limb passing through solid objects. All things considered it needs a lot of graphical improvement. You do get to see some clips from the film though, but it's sad that these are probably the best part of the game.

When I first play a game I always head for the options to see if subtitles can be enabled. With Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon the option wasn't there but I needn't have worried. You probably know that the movie was completely in Chinese with English subtitles. In order to keep the game as authentic as possible that is exactly the way it has remained for the game. All speech is Chinese and English subtitles have been used so deaf gamers will have no problem at all with the game. The story is relayed via scrolling text, which isn't too quick and you should be able to read it without any fuss.

Fans of the movie might be slightly more impressed with Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon than fans of fighting games in general. Whilst it's a good thing that you get to play as characters from the movie. the lacklustre combat model in the game means that it just doesn't feel right and requires little skill to master. If the game had a proper combat model in place, improved graphics and a camera that behaved itself then it would have been a much better experience. It's a nice touch that the game is fully subtitled and you won't miss out on the dialogue but essentially there are many better titles in the genre.

Overall Game Rating: 5.0/10
Disappointing in terms of graphics and the combat model used in the game. It won't impress fighting game fans who are used to elaborate combo systems.

Deaf Gamers comment:
The game is actually in Chinese with English subtitles so there are no problems for deaf gamers.