Thursday, 3 July 2014

Bomb Jack (C64)

He's Jack, there's bombs... what more do you want?

Time for a fun little quirky game now, Bomb jack on the Commodore 64. One of those arcade conversions from the big all-powerful graphics down to the clunky little home computer. But first and foremost, what exactly is Bomb Jack and does it even have a plot? Probably, shoehorned in somewhere just for the sake of it.

Speed is essential in this level, as all the enemies spawn at once.

You're a superhero, complete with leaping ability and cape and the lovely little talent of being able to float and stutter your descent should you need to with your cape. Your sole task to collect bombs that some thoughtless little shit has left around various tourist-traps and locales. Avoiding enemies and collecting bombs is all there is and once you've cleared the room, that's it and you move onto the next one.

I suppose it's slightly less insulting than telling you how to play.
There's a little more behind this however, once a bomb is collected another will flash. This is not a timed game however, it's merely the one you should get next if you want a bigger bonus. Collecting enough bombs (either flashing or not) will spawn bonus collectibles such as bonus points or the more important P ball that gives you the same effect as Pacman eating a power-pill, all the enemies turn into smiling faces and collecting them nets ever-increasing points in a short amount of time. Or ignore the enemies and just get the remaining bombs to finish the level.

More winning, much dancing.

The levels get increasingly harder, the enemies get faster and home in quicker and that damn bird thing flying about really ramps up the speed after level 10. But the game is pattern based, so if you know the sequence of bonus bombs, you could max out your bonuses and bombs very quickly and in short order have yourself a wealth of extra lives before very long at all.

Those last 2 bombs in the top left are going to be a bitch to get.

Controls for the game are fairly simple, you move from side to side and press fire to jump, holding up while jumping will make you jump a little higher, enough to get from bottom of the screen to the top in one go and tapping fire while falling will stop your descent and let you glide down safely in order to avoid enemies or that damn bird thing. Death is instant from a single collision from enemies and the collision box is a little bigger than your sprite, or so it would seem... A situation I like to call, cheating fucking computer. So don't risk going alongside enemies please.

Odd choice of a tourist trap... They couldn't think of anything better?

The levels become more fiendish as you progress with the start point for monsters often being right beside 2-3 bombs so you'll have to wait until a FULL set of monsters are on the field of play before you can resolve the issue of kicking arse, taking names (bombs actually) and generally winning the day.

Get bombs, avoid enemies, simple pick-up-and-play approach

The music, the lovely little Sid Chip Tune ensemble that it is, plays along quite happily within the game. The same tune for each level, different music for the bonus power up, endings and the starting splash screen which seems to have some odd warbling effect that makes me think this was composed underwater for some reason. Sound effects are your usual squibs and plinks that one might expect, there's little to write home about on this one while you're waiting to go over the top.

Thank god, now I can play something better.

As an arcade game from the early 80s it does fairly well, but it's a short little romp that will come back and see you every now and then but has no real long term lasting appeal, really should have just stayed in the arcade and not worried about a home port when something with more substance could have been used instead.