Solomon's Key for the NES was released in Japan on this day in 1986.

Bomb Jack II (ZX Spectrum)

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2.9
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5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  Martin Smith (63168)
Written on  :  Oct 12, 2004
Platform  :  ZX Spectrum
Rating  :  2.25 Stars2.25 Stars2.25 Stars2.25 Stars2.25 Stars
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Summary

A completely ill-conceived sequel, with none of the thrills of the original

The Good

It was a respectable platform beat 'em up in its own right, and if you could adjust to the slightly distant, robotic feel, getting a reasonable distance through the game was feasible.

The Bad

The flick-movement removes all the skill of thrusting across the screen into position trying to avoid the enemies. The enemies staying on a particular ledge for so long (usually long enough to clear the earlier levels) reduces the gameplay to an exercise in timing. The power-ups, which added such variety to the game as you tried to dodge across to them without hitting an enemy, are gone completely.

The combat with enemies is completely under-exploited - you can't really see the action as they meet, and the only dominant strategy is to hop onto the platform as the guarding enemy heads towards the edge, and then shove him. The instructions completely fail to explain it properly either

Unless you’re conquered by greed, picking up moneybags will have less emotional gravitas than diffusing bombs.

The graphics are now full of clash and very indistinct, even though the converted original managed great detail and clarity, with a much more complex game – the only possible explanation is rank incompetence.

The Bottom Line

Bomb Jack was a very difficult game to improve on, but this is not the right way. Everything that was great about the original has been scuppered here. No wonder they saw fit to pad the release out by giving the first one away, and no wonder it was the first game, and not this, which was later converted to the then-new ST.