Game Description: International stuntman, martial artist, and filmmaker extraordinaire Jackie Chan leaps onto the PlayStation in an action-packed game of his own. Featuring Chan's signature moves, voice, and humor, players guide the stuntmaster through 15 levels of martial arts mayhem to save his grandfather and retrieve a stolen package from a gang of crooks. Jackie Chan Stuntmaster focuses on both Chan's martial arts expertise and his agility as a stuntman. The fighting system is based on his signature fighting style—in addition to throws and combos, specialized moves are incorporated to allow players to use chairs, boxes, ladders, bottles, and even a fish. At the conclusion of the game, players are treated to a "making of" video, which showcases footage of Chan at his motion-capture session.
You'd have to search pretty far and wide to find bigger Jackie Chan fans than the two reviewers of Midway's latest. Like Chi, I was waiting with baited breath to play this game as soon as I heard it was in development, however since then my interest has waned severely. This was mainly due to the lack of industry buzz about the game and the fact that early demos of the game made it look like just another Final Fight clone with Jackie Chan's name plastered on it. I am surprised that with all the motion capturing and personal involvement by Jackie Chan himself (proclaimed by Midway as they announced the game's existence), I would have thought that Midway had pulled out all stops to help Radical Entertainment cram all the visual and aural goodies to make the title stand out. It was only when I after playing the game that I could see that this would join the myriad of titles endorsed by the latest pop icon of the times with little consideration for the game itself.
For one thing, I found the sound effects and music as well as the game's graphics to be painfully mediocre. Everything looked antiquated right from the get-go and, given the fact that this game was released towards the tail end of the PlayStation's lifecycle, logic would dictate that it be brimming with eye candy to catch a gamer's eye. I also think Chi could have stressed the slow pacing and awkward controls because they plagued the game throughout. Though Jackie's movements were already awkward thanks to the imprecise controls, that didn't stop Radical from loading each level with platforms to jump onto and other obstacles that required all the acrobatic skills Jackie could muster. This meant a lot of starting over on whatever level I was on. Thankfully, you can save in-between stages, but since going through any part of the game the first time was mildly enjoyable, having to go through it numerous times wore on my nerves pretty quickly.
Just about the only saving grace (and what ultimately helped Stuntmaster secure this rating) was how much of Jackie Chan's personality, charm and sense of humor were captured and packed into the game. Chi and I are in agreement that Jackie's trademark one liners and fighting style—no matter how ridiculous—were copied faithfully. And I believe a true Jackie Chan fan would appreciate this as well as the cut-scenes, voice-overs and fighting moves at your disposal. But as far as the game as a whole is concerned, these little touches were barely enough to distract from the torturously slow gameplay and dated in-game graphics. If more effort went into the presentation and gameplay, this game might have been heaped with praise from yours truly instead of such a degree of indifference.
According to ESRB, this game contains: Mild Language, Violence
Parents, who don't mind their kids watching all the punching and kicking found in a typical Power Rangers episode, shouldn't have any issues with Jackie Chan Stuntmaster. Like most of Jackie's actual movies, the game is bloodless and rather family-friendly.
Diehard Jackie Chan fans expecting Jackie Chan Stuntmaster to be on the same caliber as some of today's hottest games will be sorely disappointed at the old-school fighting mechanics and the low-budget look and feel. Its more Big Brawl than Police Story.
Though less demanding fans with more patience and those who actually like classic fighting games such as Double Dragon and Final Fight, may be able to endure some of Jackie Chan Stuntmaster's shortcomings and realize some of its more entertaining qualities. Its also worth mentioning that those who also manage to beat the game will also be treated to a surprisingly interesting secret "Shaolin Temple" level, that pays tribute to the Jackie's Drunken Master films. The stage takes place in ancient China, has Jackie sporting in a traditional Chinese robe and even has a some new Drunken Fist attacks. Lastly, no Jackie Chan production would be complete without outtakes during the credit roll and Jackie Chan Stuntmaster manages to virutally simulate some rather amusing ones in prerendered cut-scenes.