Hong Kong 97 Review
“Hong Kong 97” really surprised me. I’ll just begin by saying that because it takes a lot to surprise me when it comes to video games. I expected this game to end up being another run of the mill and boring fighting game, based upon the box art and 2D fighter craze going on in 1997. “Hong Kong 97” provided a rare instance of pre-judging something based on appearances being incorrect. I understand how hard that concept is to grasp, but bear with me as I explain.
“Hong Kong 97” begins by explaining the plot of the game via a cutscene. “The year 1997 has arrived. A herd of ugly *expletive* reds. (sic) are rushing from the mainland.” Simple and to the point. “Hong Kong 97” does not beat around the bush, they are anti-Communist China and I could not agree with them more. The player controls ‘Chin’, a relative of martial arts star Bruce Lee, and is tasked with “wiping out 1.2 billion of the red communists”. Wow. Okay, points off for using a curse word but I can understand the sentiment.
No. Really. Wow. The goal in this game is to obliterate Communist China. All of it. I’m impressed. I’m even willing to overlook that you’re doing this on behalf of Hong Kong and not the United States. However, if you were controlling an American like Arnold Schwarzenegger or Ronald Reagan in this game I’d officially call this game the best game ever created. So close, HappySoft, so close.
Gameplay is about what you’d expect. Communists drop from the top of the screen and ‘Chin’ shoots them and makes them explode into mushroom clouds, as they do. When ‘Chin’ dies the player is shown a digitized photo of what appears to be an actual dead communist. Confusing, but at the very least a good lesson to children that death is a real and final thing that happens before you get to join Jesus in Heaven, assuming you’d led a worthy life.
The graphics are okay for a Super Nintendo game, even though this game was never released to the United States, which is a travesty. Unfortunately, only Japan received this amazing game on their Super Famicom system and my research on the internet leads me to believe that this game was not licensed by Nintendo. I’m beginning to notice a trend that some of the most groundbreaking and important games released for Nintendo consoles are the unlicensed ones. The sound is actually somewhat obnoxious as a short and low quality loop from the song “I Love Beijing Tiananmen” is played continuously throughout the entire game. Unless you are a fan of music from the Orient, the sound is terrible and I recommend playing this game with the sound muted.
“Hong Kong 97” had some great ideas and I’m disappointed that this game was never made available for play on the North American Super Nintendo console. While I’d never advocate using emulation, this would definitely be a game to find some means to play.