In classic beat-em-up fashion (or Jackie Chan movie plotlines, take your pick), the stage is set with the most basic of plot devices: the family kidnapping. That's right, Jackie, playing the role he plays in nearly EVERY movie, that of the bumbling delivery boy/close relative of the kidnapped. Here, he's the grandson, and surprise, he just happens to be a closet master of Kung-Fu. Hey, works for me.
While most of Stuntmaster's gameplay centers around the normal brawler strategy of "beat the smack out of that guy, hand this guy his @$$, then take down his friend in an unholy juggernaut of light-speed fists," there are a couple of original additions that keep things from becoming far from stale. While this is mainly due to the addition of combos, hidden golden dragon masks also add more to the depth. More on those later.
With very little effort (in fact, if the mood strikes you, you can stoop to button mashing), Jackie is able to pull off some rather complex stings of punches and kicks. I've managed an eight-hit combo, and did little more, than hammer the punch button a bunch of times. Sure, it's mindless, but isn't that what these games are all about? I have yet to see a truly cerebral beat-em-up. In any event, Stuntmaster offers more than throws. Kicks can be held and powered up to unleash a super-kick that will knock enemies to the ground in one hit. It's not that useful, but its fisted counterpart is. The punch power-up, while not insanely powerful, stuns the enemy opening them up to one of three throws. Nobody will confuse Stuntmaster for Tekken, but it is rather deep for a game of this genre.
As for the masks, there are 10 red ones scattered all over the level, some of them well hidden. If you can find all 10, you're gifted with a golden dragon mask. Collect all the golden masks, and you... well, I won't ruin it for you. The point is, this simple task creates far more depth than I've seen in any game like this to date. It enables you to administer beat-downs with reckless abandon your first time through the level then lets you play detective as you track down the masks. It's a totally simple concept, but definitely pays off.
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