|Heart of China|
|Artist(s)||D. Brent Burkett|
|Platform(s)||Amiga, MS-DOS, Macintosh|
Heart of China is a 1991 adventure game developed by Dynamix and published by Sierra On-Line. The game features the exploits of pilot Jake "Lucky" Masters as he tries to rescue nurse Kate Lomax from a ruthless Chinese warlord.
In 1930s Hong Kong, struggling former World War I fighter pilot Jake "Lucky" Masters is recruited by rich businessman E.A. Lomax for a dangerous mission. Lomax's daughter Kate has been kidnapped by ruthless warlord Li Deng and imprisoned in Deng's Chengdu fortress. Lucky must rescue Kate, but to do so he must enlist the help of a mysterious ninja named Zhao Chi. Each day Lucky has not rescued Kate, his reward money decreases by $20,000.
After sneaking into Deng's fortress, Lucky and Chi snatch Kate and escape. Unfortunately, Kate is bitten by a snake during the rescue and the only medicine that can save her is in Kathmandu in Nepal. After further adventures in Istanbul, the trio makes its way to Paris. The game featured three different endings, with the player's actions determining which one would be depicted.
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There are several possible endings to the game and many ways to die. Certain choices can delay the team (diminishing the reward given in the epilogue), and portions of the game can be played from Jake's, Chi's, or Kate's perspectives. There are two optional arcade-style action sequences.
The game was developed on the proprietary Dynamix Game Development System that was first used in Rise of the Dragon. In regards to Heart of China's point-and-click adventure UI, Dynamix president Jeff Tunnell stated that "With our 'point-and-click' interaction system, our goal was to eliminate the frustration factor from adventure gaming, so that nothing interferes with the experience of the game." The artwork used a mixture of digitized photos of live actors and hand painted sets. The game supported VGA resolution in 256 colors. Because of tight production budgets, Dynamix had to recruit the cast of actors from the company's own employees and even their families.
Heart of China was commercially successful.
ACE gave the game 910 out of 1000 points, calling it "a significant breakthrough in the interactive storytelling genre" and stating that unlike contemporary games such as Rise of the Dragon and Space Quest IV it does not just have excellent graphics and sound, but also a proper narrative storyline. The reviewer also mentions the story's similarity to that of the Tom Selleck film High Road to China. Computer Gaming World stated that "Heart of China is everything a good adventure movie should be: fast-paced, tense, ingenious, witty, varied of locale and light of plot. Above all, it is entertaining". The magazine praised the graphics, music, and story, and concluded that it was "a cinematic experience to be savored". In Dragon, the game got 5 out of 5 stars.
British gaming magazine The One reviewed the MS-DOS version of Heart of China in 1991, stating that "Now that Dynamix has combined full-colour paintings, live actors and digitising to achieve the stunning look of Heart of China, the 'interactive movie' seems just that little bit closer."
In 1991, PC Format declared Heart of China one of the 50 best computer games ever. The editors wrote, "Stunning digitised scenes are the stars and create a tremendous atmospheric experience that has a tough adventure in there as well."
Categories: 1991 video games | Adventure games | Amiga games | DOS games | Mac OS games | Ninja video games | Point-and-click adventure games | Sierra Entertainment games | Video games set in China | Video games set in Nepal | Video games set in Paris | Video games set in Turkey | Video games set in Hong Kong | Video games set in the 1930s | Video games developed in the United States | Video games with alternate endings