Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Editor’s note: So this was originally published on a lovely website I wrote for called pinkiesparadise.com. The original can and should be viewed here. For long time readers that have followed me from that website I apologize for the recycled material BUT for my own cataloguing and OCD purposes – I did want to officially rate this piece of crap and have it on record.

I had found an old favorite. A movie that I fell in love with so many years ago. (A movie I actually paid for on Pay-Per-View back in the day). The feudal Chinese fantasy, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Instead of immediately picking on one of the shittiest licensed titles on the PlayStation 2 right away lets spend this time celebrating Ang Lee’s cinematic achievement, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon based on the novel of the same name written by Chinese author, Wang Dulu.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is actually book four of five in Dulu’s Crane-Iron Series. Crane-Iron being named after the first characters in the first and last installments of the series. The series’ five novels chronicle the struggles of four generations of youxia (simplified Chinese: 游侠; traditional Chinese: 遊俠), often translated as wandering heroes. Each novel contains elements which link it with the others. (Wikipedia)

He did not write the novel for it to become this game

Wang is not only considered a pioneer of the modern wuxia genre but a writer that perfected it. Wuxia is a genre of Chinese fiction that literally translates to, “Martial Heroes”. Usually blending fantasy with martial arts and romance – characters are often from lower social classes and are driven by chivalry or righteousness.

Born Wang Baoxiang 王葆祥 in Beijing 1909 he was said to have written as many as fifty novels between 1931 and 1949. Thirty six of those novels being wuxia novels. Sadly after the Chinese civil war Wang was denounced as “reactionary literarti” by the ruling Communist party and sentenced to hard farm labor where he would die from an unknown illness.

Wang’s legacy in the west was cemented by Taiwanese screenwriter and Director Ang Lee’s adaption of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Ang Lee OBS is a cinematic powerhouse. Born in Pingtung County, Southern Taiwan he was educated in both Taiwan and the United States. His works have found international acclaim and he is a critically and commercially celebrated writer and director. His notable works include: Life of Pi, Sense and Sensibility, Hulk, and Brokeback Mountain. Aside from winning a multitude of awards he has also been awarded the Order of Brilliant Star – the second highest civilian award bestowed on citizens by the Government of Taiwan.

He did not direct the movie for it to become this game.

In 1995 the LA Times named one man, “The coolest actor in the world”. It wasn’t Samuel L Jackson or Speed Star, Keanu Reeves. It was the face of Gun-Fu. Total-stoic-badass-John Woo-regular, Chow Yun-Fat.

Chow Yun-Fat did not come from nothing to be in this game

Born in Pok Liu island, British Hong Kong, Chow Yun-Fat SBS was raised by his mother Chan Lai -Fong, a cleaning lady and vegetable farmer and his father Chow Yung-Wan who worked on a Shell oil tanker. He grew up in a farming community with no electricity waking up early each morning to help his mother sell herbal jelly and work in the fields during the afternoons.

At 17, he took odd jobs to help the family any way he could. It was around this time his actor-trainee application was accepted by the local television station. He was signed to a three year contract and made his acting debut in 1980. Working his way through TV as a rising star and heart throb and on to the silver screen with John Woo Chow Yun- Fat has carved himself an extraordinary career. Even being awarded the Silver Bauhinia Star – the second highest rank star in the honors system of Hong Kong. Awarded to those who have taken a leading part in public affair or voluntary work for a long period of time.

Starring alongside Chow Yun-Fat in the film is the dazzling, Michelle Yeoh PSM. Ranked the “greatest action heroine of all time” by Rotten Tomatoes in 2008 – Michelle Yeoh – known for performing her own stunts and fight scenes has been dominating screens for nearly four decades.

Behind that smile is a stone cold killer that has already killed the game’s developers and soon me for bringing the game back up.

Born in Malaysia, Michelle Yeoh Choo-Kheng PSM to Janet Yeoh and Yeoh Kian Teik, a lawyer and MCA politician respectively. At an extraordinarily young age Yeoh was keen on dance and began ballet by the age of four. In her teens her parents and her would move to the United Kingdom where she would attend UK’s Royal Academy of Dance.

A natural beauty at the age of 20, Yeoh won the miss Malaysia beauty pageant and even move on in competition to win an international, “Queen of the Pacific” pageant. But she is hardly a delicate flower. She has cultivated a reputation for a legendary work ethic, and expertise in choreography. She would become world renowned not only for her acting prowess but her physical capability as well.

I was going to go even further on about the lovely accomplishments of both Zhang Ziyi and Chang Chen but do we even have to? Did either of them work their entire lives only to have their likeness exploited in this dumpster fire on disc?

The answer is no. No they didn’t and none of these people deserve this. These are real human beings with real feelings and aspirations. They don’t deserve this. No one does. 

There really isn’t that much I can say that I haven’t already said about really sad games before. What is extra infuriating about this game is that:

1.) It’s actually based on a good movie. Most aren’t. 

2.) The movie’s fight scenes are breathtaking. The movie literally has done everything for you. All you have to do is take a super entertaining martial arts movie and add buttons.

I mean.. HOW can you fuck this up?? There are like three back drops in the entire game. And yes I understand that a majority of the film takes place in the same area but is it so absurd to ask a room full of writers – whom I would have assumed enjoyed the movie (before I played the game) to use their stupid imaginations and get creative with the game’s plot??

Instead of playing the same exact three areas with three different characters like nine times maybe we could branch out a bit? Like, say I don’t know – make the game about Jen’s eventual trek to Mount Wudang? Boom. There ya go, guys! Make a game about that. Fucking idiots.

But fine – say they had to follow the film to a tee. That’s fine too. Just do a better job at it. When the game begins it doesn’t introduce anyone – or anything. It assumes you already saw the movie and thrusts you into a hoard of stupid AI ninjas that constantly swarm and overbear you because the controls are fucking impossible.

Even when you do somehow learn how to defend yourself and awkwardly jump from wall to wall – none of it is remotely fun. I spent hours with this game and aside from mounting frustration I felt absolutely nothing at all. I’ve had more fun sitting at the DMV next to crying children. 

In fact this game was so bad – I have felt nothing since. It has taken all of my abilities to feel anything away. Maybe it’s for the better. 

SHOP TIL YOU DROP 

If a general overwhelming sense of sadness isn’t quite your enough then fear not! Like most things the internet also has overpriced copies of the game – the perfect way to find yourself on that long road to financial ruin completing your self loathing sadism. 

But really- the game can be found at bargain bin prices – around $3-5. The insane part to me, however is the DVD of the movie itself can be found even cheaper! Which is a crime against humanity. 

If you absolutely must – I suggest buying the DVD of this film and holding a game controller while you watch it.

I’m sorry Michelle Yeoh. You beautiful, dangerous goddess. Don’t kill me, please.

Genre: Fighting / 3rd Person Action

Overall: 51%

Disagree? That’s cool. Let me know: https://linktr.ee/BuffaloRetro

Give me food, money, beer or kill me: https://ko-fi.com/colinsik

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