Top 10 Video Game Characters Inspired By Bruce Lee

Tags: #BruceLee ,   #StreetFighter ,   #MortalKombat ,   #Tekken ,   #FightingGames

Dan N. Scarborough

Dan N. Scarborough

Last updated:  2022-11-30 18:00:09

Bruce Lee is one of the most influential martial artists and people who ever lived. His impact on popular culture is immeasurable, and he managed to create an unprecedented legacy during his short lifetime. In his 33 years, he became a master martial artist, philosopher, movie star, and the founder of the style that became Mixed Martial Arts. The Legacy of Bruce Lee is visible in the number of imitators in all aspects of culture. Thus, you probably heard of Bruceploitation, hundreds of movies made with Bruce Lee look-alikes. Similar happened with video games, where each fighting game has a character more or less inspired by Bruce Lee's appearance or combat style. Therefore, this top ten list contains ten video game characters inspired by Bruce Lee in one way or another.

10. Hitmonlee (Pokemon) 

He's not human, but he's definitely badass

This is by far the most uncommon entry on this list. Hitmonchan and Hitmonlee are the Pokémon of the first generation that was inspired by martial arts actors Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee. Hitmonlee isn't very human-like, except for the intense gaze characteristic of the late Bruce Lee. 

Furthermore, Hitmonlee's attacks are based on kicks. There's a whole array of kick techniques Hitmonlee has in his arsenal, including rapid kicks to power kicks and jump kicks - just like a certain badass we mentioned earlier. Hitmonlee might be the weirdest member of this list, but his connection with Bruce Lee is undeniable.

9. Jacky Bryant (Virtua Fighter series)

He doesn't look like Bruce, but he indeed fights like him

Jackie is a fighting game character from the Virtua Fighter series and has been there since the first entry. Being a tall blonde American, he doesn't resemble Bruce Lee physically. He is also a brash and confident guy who likes red color, lightning, and leather jackets. 

One thing Jacky Bryant and Bruce Lee have in common is the utilization of Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do style. Since Virtua Fighter is the most realistic fighting game franchise, Jacky is one of the most authentic Jeet Kune Do fighters. He really exhibits all the speed and explosiveness of Bruce Lee's style.

8. Kim Dragon (World Heroes)

The Korean version of Little Dragon

Kim Dragon is among the video games' most straightforward Bruce Lee imitators as one of the characters in the World Heroes franchise. This series was initially introduced on one of the most powerful gaming systems, Neo Geo. Kim's name is an apparent allusion to Bruce Lee, but the similarities don't end there. 

Kim's fighting style is very similar to Bruce Lee's cinematographic way of fighting, with lots of rapid punching and flying kicking accompanied by trademark high-pitched screams. Furthermore, Kim Dragon's occupation is the same as Bruce Lee's; he's a martial artist and a kung-fu movie star. The only difference is that Kim Dragon is Korean, unlike Chinese-born Bruce Lee.

7. Dragon Chan (Super Punch-Out!!)

What if Bruce Lee was a boxer?

It's pretty surprising to see a Bruce Lee-themed character in a video game about boxing. Yet, Dragon Chan is a mashup of Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan, and he's one of your opponents in the arcade and SNES versions of Super Punch-Out!! 

Dragon Chan's name is an apparent reference to both Bruce and Jackie Chan, but his appearance is more inclined to the former. Furthermore, Dragon's fighting style is similar to Bruce Lee's. Thus, you'll have to dodge his fast punches and special kick, which is strong enough to knock you out. 

6. Jan Lee (Dead or Alive)

Flashy and aggressive Jeet Kune Do practitioner

Dead or Alive is a game franchise mainly focused on female characters and certain features of their bodies. Among all those well-endowed badass girls, there's a character with apparent connections to Bruce Lee. The famous martial artist directly inspired Jan Lee's name and fighting style. 

According to the story, Jan Lee learned Jeet Kune Do by watching Bruce Lee movies repeatedly until he could perform every move. Jan Lee also based most of his outfits on Bruce Lee, including the iconic yellow tracksuit with black stripes. However, they are different in personality. While Bruce Lee is laid back and peaceful, Jan Lee is aggressive and always looking for a fight.

5. Maxi (Soul Calibur)

A pirate rock star that fights using nunchucks

Soul Calibur is the most popular weapon-based combat video game series. It began as Soul Edge on arcades, and then the game underwent a rebrand and became a Sega Dreamcast exclusive. The first Soul Calibur game featured three main characters, including Maxi, a pirate traversing the Indian Ocean. 

Maxi is a character that is best described as Bruce Lee in Elvis Presley's body. His haircut and attire remind him of the Las Vegas phase Elvis, but his fighting style is definitely Bruce Lee's. Additionally, he wields the nunchucks, the trademark Bruce Lee weapon. Even his storyline is based on revenge against the killer of his crew. 

4. Fei Long (Street Fighter)

Fei Long is a very close tribute to Bruce Lee

Fei Long is one of the most apparent Bruce Lee clones, debuting in one of the many Street Fighter II iterations. Fei Long's name literally means "Flying Dragon," which refers to Bruce Lee's Chinese name Xiao Long, meaning a little dragon. 

There are many similarities between Bruce Lee and Fei Long. Both of them are Chinese-born martial artists and kung fu movie stars. Furthermore, they both quit the film industry and invented their own martial arts style. The said style utilizes quick strikes and flying kicks, and Fei Long lets out high-pitched screams hitting people. All in all, the two of them are pretty close.  

3. Liu Kang (Mortal Kombat)

One of the most iconic versions of the legendary fighter

Liu Kang is one of the most distinguished Bruce Lee-inspired characters. Interestingly enough, the similarity with Bruce Lee was purely unintentional. Liu Kang was considered to be a monk of the White Lotus temple, so he was supposed to have his head shaved. However, Ho Sung Pak, the actor who recorded the motion capture for Liu Kang, refused to go bald. Therefore, developers changed the way he's designed to resemble Bruce Lee. 

One of the most recognizable Bruce Lee characteristics is his screams while hitting people. Liu Kang is very particular about this; you will hear him scream through the air as he clobbers his opponent with flying kicks. Also, Bruce Lee's associated with the dragon symbol, and Liu Kang could turn into a dragon.

2. Marshall Law (Tekken)

The only thing better than one Lee is two Lees

Marshall Law is a quintessential Tekken character and has been on the roster since the first game. The physical similarity between him and Bruce is uncanny, and Law also practices Jeet Kune Do. His fighting style is stacked with trademark Bruce Lee moves, including flying kicks in somersaults. 

However, one thing distinguishes Law from all other Bruce Lee clones. In the third installment of Tekken, we were introduced to his son, Forest Law. Forest's character is an apparent homage to Bruce Lee's son Brandon Lee. In the Tekken games, father and son fight together, which is something we never got to see in real life.

1. Bruce Lee (UFC)

The man himself in the game he founded

In the end, it turns out that the most similar fighter to Bruce Lee is Bruce Lee himself. After Electronic Arts took over the license for the UFC games, they included the legendary martial artists in the fighters list. The inclusion of Bruce Lee was inevitable because many people consider him a father of mixed martial arts

Electronic Arts had to get the license to showcase Bruce Lee from his foundation, led by Shannon Lee, Bruce Lee's daughter. That makes the EA UFC appearance of Bruce Lee the only official display of this legendary fighter in a video game. Needless to say, Bruce Lee looks stunning, and he fights even better.

As one of the most influential historical figures, Bruce Lee is everywhere. However, martial arts movies and video games are a common place to find characters inspired by him. In the last 30 years, every fighting game franchise had its own character that was made after Bruce Lee. Hence, that only proves how influential this man was and still is. 

Who's your favorite Bruce Lee-inspired character? Which fighting game characters would you add to this top ten list? 

Image by Fervent Jan/Unsplash


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Daka Ra Says:

Liu Kang remains my favorite, especially as the reinvented him in the last few games. I guess people were annoyed with him in the past

September 01 at 08:46:22 AM

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