Big Trouble In Little China

Publisher: Electric Dreams
Machine: Commodore 64/128

Published in Zzap #26

Big Trouble In Little China

San Francisco consists of two different worlds: the normal everyday America city, and the strange twilight world of little China - a mystical and mysterious environment.

It is in this eerie world that the ancient Mandarin War Lord, Lo Pan, attempts to gain his immortality... and when that is achieved he will use his magical powers to gain control of the world.

Marrying and sacrificing a green-eyed girl will appease the demonic powers that deny Lo Pan his longevity, and Jack Burton's girlfriend, Gracie Law, just happens to have green eyes, as does Miao Yin, Wang Chi's fiance. Consequently, both women have been captured, leaving Jack, Wang and their mystic friend, Egg Shen, to head boldly into Lo Pan's den to track them down.

Big Trouble In Little China

The three heroes travel together through Chinatown, which scrolls past as they progress. There are four stages to be negotiated before Lo Pan himself is encountered: the streets of Little China; the sewers; Lo Pan's headquarters and finally the marriage chamber, where the final conflict with Lo Pan takes place.

As Lo Pan's henchmen attack it is up to you to choose which character to use against them. Jack uses his fists, Wang martial arts, and Egg Shen relies on magic spells. Unarmed martial arts experts are the first enemy encountered - while further on, Lo Pan's elemental beings, the Storms, must be destroyed.

The attackers become increasingly difficult to defeat as the levels progress, so the threesome have to rely on the weapons found within the Mandarin's domain. Jack gains his 'Bushmaster' gun, Wang collects a sword and Egg Shen increases his magical strength. The three heroes also need to supplement their energy levels throughout the adventure, and so so by eating. Each character's energy status is displayed at the bottom of the screen, alongside the respective face.

Big Trouble In Little China

When Lo Pan's army has been destroyed the villainous War Lord himself can be dealt with, a task which takes the combined efforts of all three characters. Successfully ridding the world of the oriental menace allows the rescue of the green-eyed beauties, and they all live happily ever after... maybe.


A very sarcastic 'whoopee' to announce the arrival of yet another dire piece of software. Why was this ever released?

The film has disappeared into the depths of obscurity, and the game is so lame that it is in desperate need of a wheelchair.

Big Trouble In Little China

The program is basically a simple Kung-Fu Master clone, severely lacking in action and variety. It is both unexciting and tedious, and I soon became totally and utterly bored.

Another session only consolidated this view, and turning the power off came as a welcome relief. As for the tenner price tag - Electric Dreams ought to have a wet blanket thrown over them...


The film bombed, and if there's any justice in the world the licensed game will follow it. It's extremely dull, consisting of three characters walking along a scrolling background, beating up anything that gets in their way - no thanks!

Big Trouble In Little China

Big Trouble In Little China has an unpolished feel about it, as if no-one could really be bothered with making it look smart, or at least tarting it up to hide the uninspiring gameplay.

I wouldn't bother with this if I were you, it isn't worth the money or effort.


Not so hot on the heels of the John Carpenter film comes the somewhat less inspiring licensed computer game.

Big Trouble In Little China

Big Trouble In Little China borrows heavily from the film in all but its action, a commodity in which this binary edition is sadly lacking.

The endless repetition becomes too much, as one henchman follows another to that Little China in the sky.

I even found my mind wandering while I was playing, which is a fair indication of the degree to which it grabbed my attention...


Big Trouble In Little China

Presentation 55%
Adequate instructions but little else worthy of mention.

Graphics 58%
Pretty backdrops, average animation, wobbly scrolling and little variation.

Sound 20%
No music and sparse spot effects.

Big Trouble In Little China

Hookability 48%
Easy enough to play, but not overly thrilling.

Lastability 24%
Repetitive and generally uninteresting.

Value For Money 27%
Expensive for a piece of sub-standard budget-quality software.

Overall 34%
A poor tie-in and a weak addition to the beat-'em-up range. You'd be better off seeing the film four times instead...