Bruce Lee: Iron Fist
| Bruce Lee Iron-Fist

There was once a time when all video games could be pretty easily separated into a few simple categories. Fighting, driving, shooting and the odd platformer and sports game. Nowadays it's a bit more complex - what with oddities such as Cooking Guide: Can't Decide What To Eat? and Sex on the Floor making it more than a bit tough to lump games into one particular genre. Not if you want to be kind, that is, and avoid saying they belong to the 'crap' genre.

Back then, there wasn't so much that stood one game out from another. So a side-scrolling fighter generally used a left button, a right one, jump and crouch and punch and kick. (We were easily pleased.)

Despite the fact that Bruce Lee: Iron Fist uses considerably more buttons than that, the fact it's a 2D fighter instantly warps us back to playing an arcade cabinet down the local chip shop. It simply gives you five fighters - one of which is the legendary Bruce of course - and lets you slug it out in a button-mashing contest between them all. Old-skool indeed.

As mentioned though, there's a considerable number of flesh-on-flesh attacks to choose from. Fighters have an array of punches, kicks and blocks. This does present problems because it means practically every key on your mobile phone is used. While it's easier to use the joystick - if you have one - to move your fighter about, it's not easier to pull off the moves while using it just because of the logistics of reaching past your own fat thumb to reach certain keys. So you're stuck moving about using '2', '4', '6' and '8' and frantically pushing buttons in the heat of battle hoping it's the one you want. Not perfect, but then there's not really a better solution.

So, hitting '8' plus one of the kick buttons will give you a sweeping kick, and jumping and punching gives you a flying punch. There are plenty of moves you can string together, although sticking to three or four tried and tested ones is generally the easiest approach. Your AI opponents are a fairly bright bunch though and there aren't many times you'll get away with repeatedly sweep-kicking your opponent's legs out from underneath them.

You don't get much in this game you won't have seen a fair few hundred times before in any fighting game, although there are a couple of added fighting features. For instance, land a few hits consecutively and you'll send your opponent's head spinning and temporarily render him paralysed, offering ample chance to offload a few more whacks.

There's a special attack button too which, when it can be used, turns Bruce (or whoever you're playing as) into a frenzied fighting animal and knocks chunks off your opponent's health bar. It goes without saying that, in typical fighting game style, your goal is to knock down their health before they knock yours down.

Despite its fairly spark-lacking gameplay, Iron Fist and its fighters look good and you get plenty of shrieking and thumping sound effects to accompany the violence. We could do without the having to wait ten seconds for each fight to start though.

The real Bruce Lee might be a flawless fighter, but the same can't be said for this game. Ultimately, it's too short-lived and slightly clumsy to control and only fans of the old-skool fighter might find it a decent way to pass an hour or two.

Bruce Lee: Iron Fist

Traditional 2D fighters starring Bruce Lee and four other characters. There's a decent selection of moves and good AI, but it's all a bit short-lived and there's nothing in the gameplay you won't have seen before
Kath Brice
Kath Brice
Kath gave up a job working with animals five years ago to join the world of video game journalism, which now sees her running our DS section. With so many male work colleagues, many have asked if she notices any difference.