Video Game Characters That Are Based On Bruce Lee

Video games are at their core all about empowerment fantasy, and there are a couple of wish-fulfillment best case scenarios if you like the idea of smashing someone's fictional face into combo-vulnerable paste. The first is being Bruce Lee. The second is beating him up.

Luckily for any make-believe pugilists with itchy thumbs, gaming has had them covered for decades, beginning with some of the first fighting games ever released. 1985's Yie Ar Kung-Fu, which pioneered the genre alongside 1984's Karate Champ, paid its respects to the master of onscreen kick-punchery twice over: Once with the main character, whose move set was mased on Lee's martial arts style, and again with the character Nuncha, a yellow gi-clad nunchuck master. Even in his impressionistically blocky 8 bit form, he had players wondering when they could expect the Dragon to Enter.

From there, depending on your point of view, the homages either got more heartwarming or blatantly plagiaristic.

Test your might

In 1992, the OG Mortal Kombat kopied Lee's kountenance as a matter of nekessity. The story goes that Ho-Sung Pak, the actor hired to play series protagonist Liu Kang, refused to shave his head for the shoot, forcing the production team to steer the character less towards "classic Shaolin monk" and more towards "kung fu action hero." The result was a high-kicking martial artist with a falsetto scream that Lee fans recognized instantly as pastiche.

The next year, Super Street Fighter 2 introduced Fei Long, a shirtless action movie star with a bowl cut and a pair of nunchucks. 1994's Tekken brought Marshall Law into the fold, and while he's never been explicitly defined as a Bruce Lee clone, the haircut, fighting style, and canary yellow sweatpants sort of give the game away.

Dead or Alive's Jann Lee, aside from taking a full 3/7ths of his name from the iconic movie star, has had in-game outfits based on Bruce's famous jumpsuit, as has Lee Sin from League of Legends.

And for the true control freak, not content with just controlling Bruce Lee's posthumous digital movements and preferring to own him as a living possession, it's worth mentioning that Hitmonlee, the Generation I kicking Pokemon, gets his Americanized name from, that's right, Bruce Lee.