Written by  :  Westwurtzly (878)
Written on  :  Jan 17, 2017
Platform  :  Commodore 64
Rating  :  4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars4 Stars

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Summary

A very fun arcade game

The Good

You play as a superhero who has to defuse the bombs on each screen/level (called round) before some unknown bastard blows up an array famous landmarks. Your abilities are jumping high (almost flying) and gliding with your cape. Each level has an assortment of nonsensical foes spawning in a specific order (the mummies multiply, the birds follow you, etc). There are 5 landmarks repeating trough 20 different levels.

The gameplay is simple, frantic and addictive. I had trouble to get into it until I figured out the proper controls (up+fire button=high jump; left/right+tapping fire button while falling=gliding; fire button has to be held down to execute the jump and as soon as you release it you start falling). The game can be played two ways: casually (just collecting all the bombs), or precisely (collecting the flashing bombs IN SEQUENCE) for higher points. The latter requires that you master the above mentioned controls. Some areas are hard to clear out because the monsters keep dwelling there, but there is a trick: when the monsters have spawned, before they turn around for the first time, they cannot harm you! Bonus pills, and invincibility pills (à la Pacman!), and extra life appear at certain times that you have to catch.

There are barely any sound effects, but the music is superb! Mark Cooksey replaced the cheerful melodies from the arcade original with some powerful tunes. Gameplay music it is a rendition of Jean Michel Jarre's Magnetic Fields Part 2.

The graphics is not that great, but it works. For some reason Bomb Jack looks like he has pointy black hair instead of the blue mask/helmet he is supposed to wear, even tough it is referneced on the figrures on the live counter.

The Bad

The in-game music gets annoying because it gets interrupted with other tunes all the time. The levels are very short, they can be beaten in less than a minute, or likewise you can die within seconds, and then different tunes pop in acknowledging that, then the tune restarts from the beginning. The problem is, the MUSIC is actually WAY TO GOOD TO BE INTERRUPTED! You never can hear the full loop because the gameplay is just too frantic. One way the arcade original is more reasonably tought out because it fittingly has a short looping music. The C64 version makes me want to keep listening to Magnetic Fields!

When you loose a life, the animation looks naughty. Okay, I get that it is supposed to be a halo and an angel appearing over the upside down body of Bomb Jack, but I cannot unsee it being a literal representation of the phrase "You are f***d!" X(

The Bottom Line

Elite once again produced a very good C64 game based on a Japanese arcade coin-op license (and took some artistic liberties). It is a classic and a must play in the C64's library.