Loud-mouthed American Jake "Lucky" Masters who served in the first World War owes the businessman Lomax lots of money. Quite conveniently, Lomax' daughter who works as a nurse to help the poor rural population of China has just been kidnapped by some local warlord. Jake seems to be the right man to come to the rescue.
Not without help, though. In Hong Kong, he gets into contact with the well-known ninja Chi and the two start out towards the bad guy's fortress. Little do they know that their adventure will take them halfway around the world...
Heart of China is a point & click Adventure in first-person style. You're clicking around on the screen to control Jake's (and later Chi's and Kate Lomax') actions. Hovering the cursor over a person will usually result in it turning into a speech bubble, some smaller items can be picked up and to some directions lie exits. On the whole, this control system works quite well as soon as you got used to it (which is necessary since some inventory manipulations aren't done in overly logical ways).
Graphics are excellent. The character faces have been inspired by/traced from well-known actors and integrated in hand-drawn backgrounds. Dynamix have succeeded in combining these two styles seamlessly.
The puzzles are unfortunately not up to that standard. Most of the time, the player stumbles around trial and error style. Especially during conversations with other characters, one wrong word is fatal and will make the game unsolvable - sometimes even without letting you know you've encountered a dead end. Same goes for the other puzzles: use the wrong object, open the wrong door, do the right things in wrong order, and you'll be dead.
The light-hearted Indiana Jones - like story balances some of this out again. There are quite a few small plot branches which result in slightly different situations and puzzles and also different endings. Makes the whole thing definitely more interesting.
Also, good old Indy (er... I mean Jake) wouldn't be himself without some action. At one point, the player is supposed to drive a tank and later, Jake is fencing with a baddie on top of a train. One of these scenes isn't even that bad, but Adventure purists can skip them both completely - nice move.
In spite of its gameplay-related shortcomings, Heart of China can be fun for genre fans. It just doesn't last very long, because once you've figured the correct 'route' through the game out, it can easily be solved within a day.