Gotta get them bombs...
|Some things in life are so simple, and yet
so effective...Microwaves, Shoes, Toasters, Pants add to
this list a game named Bomb Jack! The game was released
in 1986 for the Commodore 64, and it was a carbon copy of
the same game found in the arcades. The game was a hudge
succes, and us gamesplayers at last had a game which
could be played for hours on end, without ever getting
boring...in fact it just got better and better, it was
just like we were in the arcades! However, 1986 has been
and gone, we are now taking about the new millennium, the
year of the Playstation2, all them fancy graphics and
sounds, but as you and I know gameplay is the all
important factor in any computer game...so how does
BombJack compare now, 14 years after it's original
The basic idea of BombJack is simple, pick up all the bombs on screen as fast as possible without getting attacked, or running into, an enemy. This is done by the player controlling the BombJack character with the D-pad, and using one button to jump, if up on the D-pad is pressed together with the jump button, then the player performs a higher jump. This may sound simple, and to be honest the idea is...however, it's the way the levels have been designed and the AI of the enemies that makes this game one of the hardest yet most statisfying games you will ever have the joy of playing.
The levels start off easy, with only a few enemies and easy to reach bombs, however the later levels see you having a screen filled with bombs and just as many enemies. It's all about thinking ahead, planning what you need and are going to do, and also having them good old quick reactions to change your plans when things suddenly don't go according to plan. You see, the AI of the enemies is some of the best I've seen in a Commodore 64 game, enemies will follow you around, copying your every move, some will just bonce around the screen hitting whatever gets in their way and some will just walk back and forth following a set route...
"In short, you have to be quick, and yet not take too many silly risks"
However, there's one further gameplay tweak, to do with the enemies, which makes this game simply stunning. The enemies breed...meaning, the longer you take, the more enemies appear on screen...all after you...In short, you have to be quick, and yet not take too many silly risks, this is easier said then done when your underpressure.
This all makes for a game which will have you on the edge of your seat, as you have just one bomb left to get, the enemies are all after you, they're multiplying and yet you just can't reach that bomb...then you see an opening, you dive for it...reach the bomb just as an enemy spots you and dives in for the kill..."too late my friend" you cry, with the biggest smile on your face as you see the message which reads level cleared...It's moments like these that you don't see much nowadays on the good old Playstations and Nintendo64s!
The levels are well designed, with a series of ledges from which you have to quickly and accurately manoeuvre your character to collect all the bombs and avoid the enemies. You can see where all the bombs and enemies are due to the levels being based around one single screen. This means you have to plan your every move...taking into account the enemies. It's again simple yet effective...Some of the ledges require you to jump at just the last moment, in order to reach that one remaining bomb, some ledges are placed just behind an enemy meaning you have to wait for him to move out of the way, whilst still watching what all the other enemies are up to, this game asks a lot of your brain!
There are certain additions to the gamplay, such as flashing bombs, which if all picked up in order will earn you more points, and certain bonuses...such as a super power up, which when collected wil turn all the enemies into gold. For a few seconds, all the enemies will stand still and not harm you, which allows you to collect them hard to reach bombs. Whilst the enemies are gold, you can also collect them, for extra points, simply by running into them...when the timer runs out, all the enemies turn back to themselves and any which you collected will return.
When all the bombs have been collected, you move onto the next level which is of course harder, with more enemies and harder to reach bombs. You have three lifes, however you do earn extra lifes as you earn more and more points. When all the lifes are gone, meaning you have been hit by, or have hit, an enemy taking all your lifes, its game over! Your points are then totalled up and you can enter your name into the games highscore table...to show off to your friends and what not!
"it makes for one of the best gamesplaying experiences ever!"
The Graphics and Sound are good, not stunning, but functional...they are very good for a Commodore 64, however that musical tune can get annoying after a few hours of play! The inclusion of the pick ups adds a little extra depth to the game, and together with the stunning AI and the great level designs...it makes for one of the best gamesplaying experiences ever!
This is what the Commodore64 was made for, the game starts off fairly easy...yet the further you get, the harder the game gets, the levels get harder with harder to reach platforms and so the enemies begin to get harder to dodge as more of them appear on screen...This is all about gameplay, like so many Commodore64 games, and BombJack does it to perfection. If it's a challenging, nice looking, hard to put down puzzlier you want...you won't find better on the Commodore64, BombJack was a great game in 1986, 14 years on and it can now be said that BombJack is a classic...
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Created: Sunday 20th February 2000
Last Updated: Tuesday 28th March 2000