Heart of China


Main menu (aka the VCR menu)

Pressing the Esc key or left-clicking on the top of any gameplay screen will bring up the VCR menu. This is the main menu from which all others are accessed.

Controls menu: here you can set the difficulty of the arcade sequences, the text speed and detail level.

Options menu: here you can enable or disable the joystick, mouse, sound and music.

Calibrate menu: set the button threshold, joystick calibration and mouse speed.

Files menu: in this sub-menu, you can save, restore or restart a game.

Clicking "Play" will take you back to the game and clicking "Quit" will make you leave the game.

Multiple characters

In Heart of China you will play as Lucky, Chi or Kate. Often they work alone or in pairs, never with three of them simultaneously. When they are in a pair, you can chose which character to play. This is important because each character has his own abilities. For instance while Lucky does most of the talking, Chi will have to take over when the other person only speaks Mandarin. The game screen displays two character portraits: in the bottom-right corner is the portrait of the active character, the character you currently play as. In the bottom-left corner is the character portrait of the passive character, your companion, if any.

To switch character, simply left-click the character portrait of the passive character in the bottom-left corner of the game screen - you will notice the character portraits will swap positions.

Note that each character in the game has their own inventory window and own inventory items, which they can exchange with each other (see inventory and use of items below).

Mouse control and Cursors

The cursor on the screen represents in the world of Jake Masters (or Chi or Kate). By moving the cursor around the world and clicking, you interact with this environment. The three basic actions are:
- right-click: look at the item or person on screen
- left-click: operate: these can be different actions - see below.
- Left-click, hold, drag, release: pick up/move/use an item

In addition to pointing in different directions, the cursor will at times completely change shape to inform you about items, places or people you can pay attention to. These cursors are:
- Exit cursor: Left-click to enter another room/area. Note that the exit cursor itself points at a certain direction, which is useful when there are multiple closely-placed exits in a screen.
- Conversation bubble: left-click to engage in a conversation with the person.
- Magnifying glass: Left-click to zoom and get a closer look at what the cursor is pointing at.
- Hand icon: in some situations the cursor will change to a hand icon. The character can then engage in hand-to-hand contact wit the item on screen.

There are also a few special mouse commands:
- Shooting the gun: in Jake's inventory screen, use the gun on him for him to hold it in his hand. Then, in the game screen, right-click and hold the mouse button to display a crosshair. While still holding the right mouse button, left-click to shoot.
- Shaolin healing touch: as Chi, in the game screen, right-click and hold the mouse button to display a hand-icon. While still holding the right mouse button, left-click to apply the Shaolin healing touch (used to heal people).

Inventory and use of items

There are two types of inventory: the main inventory and the quick inventory. Left-click on on the character portrait in the bottom-right corner of the screen to access the quick inventory, or right-click it to access the main inventory. Essentially the only difference is that the main inventory also displays the character status in addition to the inventory items.

You can look at an inventory item by right-clicking on it. An enlarged more-detailed view of the item will be displayed, along with a description of the item. When you exit the zoomed view of the item, the inventory screen will be the main inventory screen.

Each character has its own inventory items and sometimes it's important to give items to another character. In order to do so, select the item and click the "give to" button.

To use an item in the game screen, you first have to drop it from the inventory screen to the game screen. To do so, select the item and click the drop button - the item will appear in the bottom-left corner of the game screen. To use the item in the game screen, left-click it, hold it, and drag the item to the person or item you would like to use it on.

Items on screen that can be placed in inventory can be grabbed and dragged with the mouse and will appear in the bottom left corner of the screen. However the item is not placed in the character's inventory yet. In order to add the item to a character's inventory, left-click it and hold the mouse button, drag it to the character's portrait and release it.

Some items can also be used or manipulated by the character himself in the inventory screen. For example to make Chi wear his ninja outfit, click and drag the ninja outfit from his inventory items to his character (in the main inventory screen) - you will see the portrait of Chi change as a result. Some inventory items can also be combined with each other. For example to create a grappling hook, hold and drag the hook in inventory to the rope in inventory (or vice versa) and a grappling hook will automatically be created and placed in inventory.

To leave the inventory screen, click the exit button.

Plot branches

One of the most unique elements of Heart of China is the multiple ways in which you can proceed through game play. These multiple plot paths are present because the storyline of Heart of China is not linear in design. there are often several ways to proceed into the story when faced with a puzzle or obstacle. Your actions affect the flow and direction of the adventure.
there are several different endings to the story. The ending that you experience, and the paths you take to reach that ending, are completely dependent upon the actions and decisions that you make throughout the game.

Because of the numerous options that plot paths present, you'll be notified by a plot branch alert when you've chosen a path that could have been approached in a different way without providing any spoilers or suggestions whether you picked the best path. Some plot branches way lead to a dead end, so save often and a lot.

Romance Meter

Your actions and choices will not only determine the physical flow of the storyline but the relationship between Kate Lomax and Jake "Lucky" Masters. To see how you're doing in the romance department, you can access a Romance Meter (a small heart in the lower left-hand corner of the screen during flight sequences) which displays a cut scene on Kate's current feelings towards Lucky.

There are three stages to the meter: passionate, neutral and cold. At the end of the game, the final stage of the romance meter, along with Lucky's business relation with E.A. Lomax will determine the ending of the game.


In Heart of China, time is an ever-present companion. Even when the character doesn't do anything at all, time still progresses. This can sometimes be fatal. for instance in Kathmandu, you only have one day to get the collaboration of the villagers, or a storm will blow the Yankee Eagle down from the edge of the cliff: game over. you also have little time to rescue Kate from Li Deng before the fortress guards catch up with you, and so on.

Also, each day that Lucky delays in rescuing Kate he loses $20,000. there are many ways to lose an entire day - try to avoid losing time as much as possible. You can entirely pause time by pressing Escape, displaying the game menu.

Arcade sequences

There are two arcade sequences in the game: driving a tank and a sword-fight atop a moving train. You can chose to play them or skip them (as a winner). You can also change the difficulty setting of the arcade sequences in the options menu. See the game walkthrough on more details of the sequences.